International Day of the Older Person 2017

The International Day of Older Persons is observed on October 1 each year. So today is the day and I thought I should mark it.

This year’s theme is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large. It focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences.

The UN has stated that this year’s theme underscores the link between tapping the talents and contributions of older persons and achieving the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, which is currently undergoing its third review and appraisal process.

The message for this year from the United Nations is here 

The World Health Organisation also has a message on their Ageing and Life Course pages. Given that their focus this year is on Universal health coverage it’s a good day to watch this!

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The Day After…

It’s the day after #WorldAlzheimersDay2017 so I will make no apologies for what follows and warn you now it’s all about Dementia. So in case you missed it, yesterday Alzheimers Disease International posted a new media release that includes a video about the call for every country to have a Dementia Strategy in place. To see the new video click here

Usually, they also release the newest World Alzheimers Report but it’s not there yet, but they do tell you what it’s about. Instead, what they have done is release the Second edition of their report on Dementia Friendly communities which you can get more information about here

Yesterday also saw the release of new materials on the global plan on dementia, produced by WHO in partnership with ADI. See WHO Dementia

Here in Scotland two things of note and both are mobile phone Apps. Firstly Purple Alert which is a free app designed by people living with dementia and carers, Alzheimer Scotland staff, Police Scotland, Social Work, Dementia Friends Scotland, Health and Social Care Partnerships and telecare services. Which is designed to help find people living with dementia if they are lost.

The second App is from the Dementia Services Development Centre in Stirling and is called Iridis. Iridis is a cutting-edge app created to promote a better quality of life for people with dementia. It is a digital version of the DSDC’s research-based Dementia Design Audit Tool – meaning expert guidance on dementia design is now available at the touch of a button. To find out more and watch a video about its development click here

Finally congratulations to Henry Rankin , the Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at yesterday’s Scottish Dementia Awards. Can’t think of anyone more deserving. If you watch the video you might understand why.

Dementia Awareness Month Begins

It’s the 1st of September, so as always this is the commencement of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

 

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World Alzheimer’s Month has been observed in September every year since its launch in September 2012. The decision to introduce a full month, to contain the existing World Alzheimer’s Day, which is on the 21st. of September every year was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to extend the reach of their awareness programmes over a longer period. The 21st of September was chosen because it marked the opening of Alzheimer’s Disease International’s (ADI’s) annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994 which was the organisations 10th anniversary.

 

For more information about this years theme and campaign click here.

It also means that the next World Alzheimers Report will be released. This year the aim is to highlight the importance of early detection and diagnosis of dementia. So look out for it’s publication around the time of World Alzheimer’s Day.

We Like NIHR Signals!

First of all my heart goes out to everyone caught up in last nights tragedy in Barcelona, a city which I visited for the first time very recently. There are no words to express the shock and horror that will be felt by anyone who lost a loved one. My deepest felt sympathy to everyone affected.

The last few weeks I have concentrated too much perhaps on both dementia and Scotland so today I’ll thank Margo Stewart the Nursing Subject Librarian here at UWS for sharing this with me.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dissemination Centre has a page called “Discover the Latest Research” where they release a series of reports called NIHR Signals. NIHR Signals are timely summaries of the most important research that aim to cut through the noise and provide decision makers and others with research evidence they can use. You can find out more about them here and by watching the video!

 

 

Recently the Dissemination Centre launched a new series called ‘My Signals’ where patients, service users and health and social care staff can comment and add their perspectives to Signals summaries of research. It’s not obvious how you do this but if you open the Signal you want to read you will find within it a menu that consists of:

Signal   Published Abstract   Definitions   Comments

Click on the comments link and you can both see what been said and add your own comments.

They are particularly interested in the views of patients and have created a guide to encourage them to contribute My Signals – Patients

The next editions of ‘My Signals’ will feature a Director of Public Health (in September) and three GPs (in October). Further editions will feature the views of surgeons, of nurses and of physiotherapists, so a site worth keeping an eye on.

Note also it’s a brilliant resource presenting easy to understand information, like NHS Choice’s Behind the Headlines which I have posted about before.

 

Finding Happiness and ‘At the Fringe’

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Something a bit different this week. Last month an interesting article appeared that was about happiness. Now, the pursuit of happiness is often viewed as a human right along with life and liberty (so says America’s Declaration of Independence); so much so that there is even an International Happiness Index, a UN International Day of Happiness on the 20th. of March and a World Happiness Report, which suggests that to be happy you need to live in Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Switzerland.

OK, so what’s this got to do with older people, I hear you ask, who invariably are amongst the happiest people alive!

That was a surprise I bet. See the work of Laura Carstesen if you don’t believe me!

Well this reserach report looks at how best you can spend your wealth if you want to improve your well-being. So can spending money effectively make you feel better? Well, possibly, but you have to be careful what you sepnd that money on and the results are quite surprising.

No spoilers… if you want to find out what the research says and how you could spend money more wisely then click the link to

 

August is only a few days away now and in Scotland that signals the start of the World’s Biggest Art’s Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. If you are planning to spend some time in Edinburgh between the 4th. to the 28th. of August when the Fringe is on, you should check out Alzheimers Scotland’s guide to exploring Dementia at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Go and learn something new or get more insight by visiting their page at:

Fabulous Fringe Festival

 

Ten Things We Need to Know About Dementia

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This week the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Intervention and Care published its findings which included 10 key messages that are the things we need to know!

Quite a lot of the media reports of this important paper have highlighted only the lifestyle changes that need to be made to reduce your risk of developing dementia but very few highlight the bottom line… which is even if you make the positive  lifestyle changes suggested that would reduce your potentially modifiable risk factors by  about 35% of your overall risk. The other 65% of dementia risk is thought to be potentially non-modifiable.

The paper though, says a lot more than this and “Being ambitious about prevention” the one the media focussed on is only No 2 on the list, so there are 9 more messages that got a lot less attention! To see the Lancet Paper click here Be warned it’s not short!

So what else caught my attention? Well this did the Commonwealth Fund, which surprisingly is a private American foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency in US Healthcare recently reported on a comparison they had made between 10 high-income countries health care systems performance: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Worryingly the USA came last in nearly everything. Surprisingly the top country was the UK! Who says our Health Care system is failing? I think it’s actually being failed by a Government that wants to adopt an American Healthcare Model.

The time has come to ask why when they, the USA, should be learning from us!

As the Commonwealth Fund report states, based on a broad range of indicators, the U.S. health system is an outlier, spending far more but falling short of the performance achieved by other high-income countries. The results suggest the U.S. health care system should look at other countries’ approaches if it wants to achieve an affordable high-performing health care system that serves all Americans.

To read more about this report and to access the full version click here

Our New Masters Pathway!

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Since last year the NES/SSSC National Dementia Champions teaching team, which I am part of has been working towards setting up a Masters Programme that will extend the work they do to create an Expert Level of Dementia Practice course. To put this into context click here to see the Promoting Excellence Knowledge and Skills Framework site

Details of the new MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) can be found at

http://www.mastersportal.eu/studies/156034/gerontology-and-later-life-studies.html

or contact me directly at raymond.duffy@uws.ac.uk

Other big news was the publication of Scotland’s Third National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020. which although a little later than expected has finally arrived! To read about and download the strategy click here 

Alzheimers Scotland’s comments on the new strategy can be viewed by clicking this link 

Part of the new strategy is a commitment to test new ways of supporting people with advanced dementia and at the end of life including testing Alzheimers Scotland’s Advanced Dementia Practice Model. Very timely for the team here at UWS, as advanced dementia is a key theme throughout our new programme.