Hello from Manchester’s @BSGManchester2018 #BSG2018

 

conference_FlyerSo this week I am at the British Society of Gerontology (BSG) Conference 2018. I don’t think that I have ever been to a larger Conference and there is so much in the Conference Programme that it is almost big enough to require a wheelbarrow!

Anyway, later today I am speaking with Becky Moran the Care Home Educational Facilitator (CHEF) from NHS Lanarkshire talking about the BSG study day we held back in August 2017. See This Link for our report to Ageing Issues

At the conference the following has been announced that other people might be interested in.

Firstly, the Centre for Better Ageing at https://www.ageing-better.org.uk/ is releasing a new report today called Home Adaptations: A Typical Journey, which explores personal and professional perspectives on home adaptations. Go to the website and download it.

Secondly, Ageing and Society have released some full-text versions of some of its most interesting articles online. There are a range of topics so if you want to take a look at what is available see www.cambridge.org/ASO-BSG18

Finally, the Centre for Policy on Ageing has pooled together some of its Information Resources. An interesting one to look at is called “Policies on Ageing” which is an online resource providing easy access to government policy documents and key national reports and briefings that are raising the profile of issues around the support of older people and an ageing population. See:

www.cpa.org.uk/cpa/policies_on_ageing

Hope you find something interesting.

 

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Supporting People in Later Life to Get Online is Now Essential

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Good news this week that more than twice as many people over 75 use the internet as they did in 2011. But despite this rapid increase, millions of people in later life are not online. The UK Office of National Statistics released figures this week that showed 4.8 million people over the age of 55 are not online – making up 91% of all ‘non-users’. As a result, they are at risk of missing out on essential services as these continue to move online, and companies increasingly offer online-only deals.

The problem, of course, is that those not online are people with the lowest levels of wealth, health and education. In other words the very people most likely to benefit from crossing the digital divide and getting online.

A report by the Centre for Better Ageing and the digital charity the Good Things Foundation released this week urges the government, companies and organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable people don’t get locked out of essential services and benefits particularly since a number of people may be digitally excluded for many years to come. As the report concludes;

“It is easy to think that with the increasing digitisation of society everyone will eventually be online, and so the digital divide will simply fade away. In fact, the opposite is true. As our services and interactions become ever more digitised, the digital divide between the most and least advantaged in society will grow and may become amplified across the life course.We need to take action now to prevent this gap between the digital haves and have-nots from becoming entrenched.”

To access the full report and the Centre’s views of “The digital age: new approaches to supporting people in later life get online” Click Here

I owe my followers an apology. I have missed two weeks in a row for the very first time! Found myself subject to #DigitalExclusion in Crete.

News for Nurses’ Day #ThisNurse

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Not Enough Healthcare Staff Here Either!

Well a return to some of the topics that I repeatedly go on about in this blog. So this week saw the release of a groundbreaking paper from Finland (which has very similar staffing levels in their hospitals to UK hospitals), which revealed that having an excessive daily nurse workload increases the risk of patient safety incidents and deaths. The chances of a patient safety incident increased by up to about 30% if nurses’ workload went above what is considered “optimal” levels and the odds of a patient dying increased by about 40%!! As we approach a growing crisis in the UK around nurse numbers, nursing vacancies and difficulties recruiting to the profession this only adds to the call to make nursing a more attractive profession an to introduce safe staffing levels. Not a new message, especially not in my Blog. It is time politicians started listening. This is not going to solve itself while we undervalue all nurses and allied healthcare professionals. If you want to find out more see the Nursing Times and this is the link to the study on BMJ Open .

I am also a big fan of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Signals have created a My Signals page for Nurses. In the My Signals resources service users, in this case nurses, tell you what research is important to them and why they feel others need to know about it. So go take a look by clicking this link. You can find out more about all of  NIHR Signals by clicking here!

Finally tomorrow, Saturday 12th my is International Nurses Day!   There are a list of UK events on the Nurses’ Day page and you can follow #ThisNurse on Twitter.

What about Home Adaptations? and Frailty at Home.

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This week Myself, Dr Louise Ritchie (@Lourit) and Dr Margaret Brown (@owlbroon) wrote the Blog piece for “Lets Talk About Dementia” a blog hosted and supported by Alzheimer Scotland and led by allied health professionals. Their blog shares the work and practice of the allied health professionals in relation to dementia care. It offers advice for people living with dementia, their carers, partners and families. It is also a great source of information for all health and social care professionals. So our piece published on it about Housing and Dementia in Scotland can be found HERE

If you have a particular interest in ageing well in place  you might also want to look at the Centre for Better Ageing Report on the Role of Home Adaptations on Improving Later Life which you can find at their page on  Living in a suitable home and neighbourhood

Lastly this week one of my UWS Colleagues Susie Gamble and Brendan Martin, Managing Director, Public World and Buurtzorg, Britain & Ireland and Barbara McFadzean, District Nursing Sister/Queen’s Nurse, Crosshouse, Ayrshire are leading an International Foundation for Integrated Care Scotland Webinar next week on Wednesday 18th April 2018 between 12 pm-1pm.   They will be discussing the role of the District Nurse in managing people with frailty in the community. There is some further information on the site below, along with a link to register for the Webinar.

https://integratedcarefoundation.org/events/webinar-series-integrated-care-matters-series-2-2

The webinar will be recorded and will be at the IFIC site afterwards to listen to.

Worldwide, Older People’s Rights Continue to be Denied

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In a new report published by  HelpAge International launched to coincide with World Health Day 2018 (which is tomorrow, 7th of April 2018) older people explore their right to be able to make their own decisions and live their lives according to their own values and preferences. The report called Freedom to Decide for Ourselves,  brings together the findings from a consultation with 450 older people in 24 countries to find out their perspectives on their rights to autonomy and independence, long-term care and palliative care.

Yet again this report has found that as people age, the autonomy and independence they enjoyed earlier in their lives is often denied by the negative, ageist attitudes of those who believe older women and men are unable to make their own decisions, or disregard their choices when they do.

Shockingly the reported ageism was especially evident in older people’s health and socila care. Many participants said there was a lack of access to comprehensive long-term care and support services within their communities or, if they existed, the cost makes them unaffordable to everyone who isn’t on a high income. This leaves families as the only providers and when this is the case it is often at the cost of an older person’s control over their care.

HelpAge International are calling for a UN convention to protect older people’s rights and have a campaign called Age Demands Action which is working to achieve this goal.  Why not add your voice as they suggest!

Ireland has a Say No To Ageism Week. Seems like a good idea to me. This year it’s June 4th to 8th 2018!

Strengthening the Human Rights of Older People

Guess where I was this week! Murrayfield, but not for the rugby! It was Dementia Champions Cohort 8 & 8.1 and DISL’s Cohort 2  graduation. Proud to be part of the team delivering these important programmes in improving health and social care for people living with dementia. For more details here is a very short video about the graduation.

https://vimeo.com/259668471

So what else has been happening?

Help Age International has called again for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older People. Their newest report called “Entitled to the Same Rights” in which older women speak out about their rights shows again that the existing human rights mechanisms fail to adequately protect and promote the rights of older people. They are suggesting that a new international convention on the rights of older people, is the most effective way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, and on an equal basis with others. There is more about what they want the Convention to include and you can download the report at http://www.helpage.org/what-we-do/rights/towards-a-convention-on-the-rights-of-older-people/

You can find out more about supporting the campaign for older people by getting involved with their global Age Demands Action campaign.

If you are part of an organisation you can join the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People and work with other agencies seeking to promote and strengthen the rights of older people.

You might also want to find out about the UN’s Open-ended Working Group on Ageing who have been looking at producing a human rights framework for older people since 2010. See https://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/

It’s about time they got a move on!

 

Finally Getting Recognition and a Million Euros!

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This week brought recognition to four neuroscientists who received the Lundbeck Foundation’s Brain Prize for their crucial research into Alzheimer’s Disease. The four scientists are Bart De Strooper from Belgium, Michel Goedert from Luxembourg, Christian Haass from Germany and John Hardy from the UK. They have been recognised for their highly specialised studies of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders and are now being awarded the world’s most valuable prize for brain research, the 2018 Brain Prize, worth 1 million euros (approximately 7.5 million Danish kroner).

Together, these four internationally respected neuroscientists have revolutionised our understanding of the harmful changes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

So what did they do? This is taken from the Lundbeck Foundation’s own news release about the awards and thank goodness I didn’t have to translate this from Danish.

So let’s start from scratch

German doctor Alois Alzheimer described the disease as far back as 1906, but no-one yet knows what causes its onset. Alzheimer’s primarily affects older people but can be seen in many adults under 65 years of age. Once the disease develops, brain cells gradually die and proteins accumulate both between the brain cells (beta-amyloid plaques) and inside the brain cells (tau tangles). These proteins have a function in the normal brain, but in people living with Alzheimer’s they are produced in an abnormal form, causing them to accumulate which leads to the disease.

So what have the prize winners contributed to our knowledge

“By the nineties, prizewinner Christian Haass already knew that beta-amyloid is not the result of a pathogenic process but that the protein forms naturally from precursors. Haass also identified and described the secretase enzymes which control its formation. Thanks to Haass’ research, we now know that the accumulation of beta-amyloid between brain cells is due to an imbalance in the production and the clearance of amyloid.

Bart De Strooper’s significant contribution was to describe in detail how the secretases are constructed and how they function. This insight led to the development of drugs which either lower production or increase clearance of beta-amyloid.

Michel Goedert has proved that the tau protein is the most important constituent of the tangles we see inside the neurons in Alzheimer’s. Goedert was also instrumental in proving it likely that tau itself plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Steen Hasselbalch, Professor at the University of Copenhagen and Alzheimer’s specialist, says: “Goedert’s most recent and very exciting discovery is that tau can spread within the brain. With this discovery, Goedert has shown that Alzheimer’s is more than just an accumulation of beta-amyloid. It has given us valuable new ideas for the development of therapies.”

Finally, John Hardy’s work focuses on the genetic mutations that can cause Alzheimer’s. In rare cases, Alzheimer’s disease is inherited, and there are families in which the risk of contracting the disease from one parent is 50%. Based on his genetic studies, John Hardy and his co-workers were the driving force behind the hypothesis that accumulation of beta-amyloid is the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. “

Their research achievements form the basis for development of the drugs that are currently tested as therapies for the disease.

All 4 are going to Denmark on 9 May to receive the Brain Prize at a ceremony in the Royal Danish Library Black Diamonds Building.

There is a bit more about their success on the BBC Health pages at

Alzheimer’s researchers win brain prize