Helping To Prevent Winter Deaths

Every year that I have been running this Blog round about this time of year I make a post about the alarming rate of UK excess winter deaths. For example this is my post on this topic from last year  https://raymondsolderpeopleblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/the-ongoing-tragedy-of-the-uks-excess-winter-deaths/

However this year something different and something positive.

This month NICE and SCIE have worked together to produce A quick guide for home care managers aimed at helping to prevent winter deaths and illnesses associated with cold homes.

You can access the new resource HERE!

As they note, vulnerable people, living in a cold homes are at an increased risk of serious illness or death at this time of year. There new guide explains how some simple preventative actions can help to save people’s lives. They emphasise that care home managers and staff can play an important role in preventing harm caused by a lack of heating.

I think this guide is useful for everyone, not just for Social Care staff so I would urge everyone looking after an older person to take a look and perhaps download and print the pdf version of this guide available from the resources webpage.

Let’s try and get these tragic statistics down.

 

Dementia Stigma is an International Concern

Its the end of September so as always at the end of World Alzheimers Month,  Alzheimer’s Disease International publish a new World Alzheimer’s Report.

The report reveals the results of the largest attitudes to dementia survey ever undertaken, with almost 70,000 people across 155 countries and territories completing the survey. It spans four demographic groups: people living with dementia, carers, healthcare practitioners and the general public. Analysis was carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia
  • 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member
  • Over 50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.

For me the two findings that cause the most concerns were that almost 62% of healthcare providers worldwide think that dementia is part of normal ageing.

Perhaps worse 40% of the general public think doctors and nurses ignore people with dementia and and 33% of people thought that if they had dementia, they would not be listened to by health professionals.

Now those figures are bad, but unbelievably over 50% of healthcare practitioners agreed that their own colleagues ignore people living with dementia.

The report reveals that stigma around dementia still prevents people around the world from seeking the information, advice, support and medical help that could dramatically improve their length and quality of life for what is globally one of the fastest growing causes of death.

“Stigma is the single biggest barrier limiting people around the world from dramatically improving how they live with dementia,” says ADI’s Chief Executive Paola Barbarino.

“The consequences of stigma are therefore incredibly important to understand. At the individual level, stigma can undermine life goals and reduce participation in meaningful life activities as well as lower levels of well-being and quality of life. At the societal level, structural stigma and discrimination can influence levels of funding allocated to care and support.

“…currently, there is very little information about how stigma manifests in relation to people with dementia and how this may vary around the world. This detailed survey and report now give us a baseline of information for dementia-related stigma at a global, regional and national level. We’re hopeful these findings can kick start positive reform and change globally.”

If you want to read more about the report and download a copy go to https://www.alz.co.uk/research/world-report-2019

Challenges in Providing End of Life Dementia Care and More About Pets!

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Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

A paper published last year was brought to my attention by our friend the Mental Elf, part of the National Elf Service an Oxford University spin-out company founded by information scientists Douglas Badenoch and André Tomlin, who have been building evidence-based healthcare websites since the early 1990s. Douglas and André share a vision for making evidence-based research more accessible and usable for busy health and social care professionals

In a recent Blog published on the 26th of June their team looked at the findings of the following paper

Fetherston, A. A., Rowley, G., & Allan, C. L. (2018). Challenges in end-of-life dementia care. Evidence-based mental health21(3), 107-111.

which you can access by clicking here.

What the paper found was that people with dementia and their families should be supported to discuss end of life care preferences whilst the people with dementia still have the ability to do so. However, research is needed to address when these discussions should best take place and who should initiate these conversations.  They have highlighted that current policy and practice has focused on living well with dementia, but this cannot be at the expense of failing to support people dying well with dementia. Both the Blog and the paper are worth a closer look.

Continuing on the theme of Dementia Care something completely different. Following a very successful event held at the University of the West of Scotland where I work on the use of animal assisted therapies in dementia care my colleagues published their own blog about the event on the British Society of Gerontology’s Blog which is called Ageing Issues. You can read their Blog “Dementia & Multi-Species Caring: Current Practice & Future Possibilities” at

https://ageingissues.wordpress.com/2019/06/27/dementia-multi-species-caring-current-practice-future-possibilities/

Six Ways Carers Can Fight Burnout

I missed a post again last week and I’ve also missed another Friday since. This is possibly the longest break between posts in the 3 plus years I have hosted my own Blog.  Unfortunately that means that I  didn’t post anything at the end of Carers Week which fell between 10 – 16 June 2019 this year so to make up for that I am going to post the link to a great Blog that was posted on the 20th of June by Ideas.Ted.Com which is the Blogging site of the people who bring you TED Talks

Called “Caring for a loved one is hard work — 6 ways you can fight burnout” its a useful set of tips for anyone who is a carer. The links to 3 associated TED talks are also on the page if you want to watch rather than read.

Just as a contrast here is another TED talk but this one is about Domestic Workers- they’re the nannies, the elder-care workers and the house cleaners who do the work that makes all other work possible. Too often, they’re invisible, taken for granted or dismissed as “help,” yet they continue to do their wholehearted best for the families and homes in their charge.

@LuminateScotland and@MH_Arts Are on Now! Go to Both and be Inspired!

 

I’ve missed a week again 😦  Had to spend some time dealing with a death in my family so my weekly postings seemed a lot less important than usual. However, back to Blogging and at a very good time if you have an interest in the arts.

May 1st saw the launch in Scotland of the Luminate Festival  a month long festival of events celebrating what growing older means to each of us.

Luminate has a wide diversity of events held in a wide variety of venues from care homes to music halls from Ullapool to Kirkudbright. Highlights include “In the Ink Dark” a dance and poem inspired by conversations with people in Glasgow and Dundee and “Come and Sing” a massed Singing event in Aberdeen where the nationwide “Dementia Inclusive Choirs Network” will be launched. Dementia choirs are quite prominent in the news this week after the BBC Programme “Our Dementia Choir” documentary was shown on BBC One last night (Thursday 2nd of May). Available now on the BBC iPlayer HERE (Hankies required).

Not only does Luminate run over the month the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival also  starts today.. This includes over 300 events across Scotland including film screenings, theatre productions, exhibitions talks and even walks. The events run from May 3rd through to May 26th.  For more details about the events CLICK HERE 

So my message for this month get out and take part in something from both events taking place near you. Be inspired or have your thoughts provoked by some of the fabulous showcase events and exhibitions hosted during this month.

Getting More Older People Online

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This week I found something I needed months possibly years ago. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t exist. So I am pleased that finally, I have found  A really useful guide to “Helping Older People Use the Internet” which has been published this week by the Good Things Foundation. This foundation is a UK-based registered charity that is working towards a world where everyone benefits from digital and yes they mean older people as well!!!

They have supported over 2m people in gaining digital skills since their foundation in 2010, so I think they know what they are talking about. The guide was produced in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better, one of my go-to organisations when I am looking for some inspiration for Blogging.

So if you are looking for the guide you can just click here The Foundation also hosts a website of free online courses, called “Learn My Way” which helps people improve their digital skills. I might have to head back there myself and if not, I know some students who might want to take a quick trip before their next module. 🙂 To visit “Learn My Way” click here.

 

 

 

 

Social Care in Crisis

England and the rest of the country have now waited over a year for the Government’s long-promised Social Care Green Paper for it only to disappear amidst the current Brexit blizzard.

Parts of the new Long Term Plan for the NHS in England are dependent on securing realistic funding for social care and maintaining and increasing investment in public health. Neither of these looks particularly likely at the moment. The failure to address these concerns now means that local authority funding cuts have seen social care services stripped back to the bare minimum in most areas. Things are so bad that Age UK estimated that 54,000 people – or 77 people a day have died while waiting for a care package in the 700 days since the Westminister government first said in March 2017 it would publish its social care green paper.

Age UK has also said tightening eligibility for council-funded social care meant 626,701 people – 895 a day – have had requests for social care refused since March 2017. More than a million older people had developed an unmet care need in that time, such as needing help with washing or dressing.

Meanwhile, ministers continue to dither over these long-awaited plans and have failed to produce any additional funds admitting that delays to the publication of the paper and institution of the new funding arrangements are in part because of Whitehall’s overwhelming focus on Brexit.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said:

“These tragic new figures demonstrate just how many older people are now suffering from the government’s failure to act decisively on social care. No one can say whether some of those who have died might have lived longer had they received care, but at the very least their final weeks and months might have been more comfortable and their families’ lives made easier had they been given more support.”

The charity said its helpline received calls daily from people struggling to get a care package in place, often putting great strain on their health and causing stress for loved ones. To read the full article form Age UK Click Here

Age UK  have also started a Care in Crisis Campaign which we should all support. They suggest contacting your MP using their pre-prepared letter.

If you live in England I think you should be doing that at the very least!