Everyday Ageism! Time to #retireageism

According to a new report published last week, which surveyed 4,000 UK adults and analysed thousands of tweets and blogposts in the UK one in 30 people admitted to regularly discriminating against anyone aged over 50 – and more than one in 10 admitted that they don’t even know if they were ageist or not.

More than a third of British people admit that they have discriminated against others because of their age, according to new research on everyday ageism, with those in their 30’s most guilty.

The Ageist Britain? Report published by the Sun Life Group aims to shine a light on the issue of casual ageism and the impact it has.

The report shows that people over 50 are  bombarded with phrases and behaviours which imply that life as an older person must be awful. Language is particularly revealing with “Old fart”, “little old lady”, “bitter old man” and “old hag” used frequently in conversation and on social media

Everyday ageism has an impact on mental health with growing awareness that this ageist societal narrative negatively impacts on our personal experiences of ageing and perhaps even our health and well being it can also hasten the onset of dementia and even shorten life expectancy.

The report also found that 40% of British people over 50 regularly experience ageism, with one in three commonly experiencing it at work, one in 10 on public transport, and one in seven while shopping.

As Shelley Hopkinson, public affairs manager at Independent Age said, “Part of the problem is that people often don’t even realise that the language they’re using can be ageist or cause offence”

So what should people in the UK do about this. Well the reports says a good bit more but when the public were asked the top 3 most popular ways people think we can combat ageism are:

• If more brands used different models of all ages for their advertising campaigns (37%)
• If the issues associated with ageism had the same level of attention as racism and sexism (33%)
• If people were more aware of the use of ageist language and avoided derogatory terms (33%)

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@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.

How to…Reduce and Manage Delirium

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I missed posting completely last week… first time in a long while. This week though I have to mention Delirium, because March 13th was World Delirium Awareness Day 2019. If you want to know more about this day CLICK HERE 

Delirium or (Sudden onset confusion) can have many different causes. If a person is confused, they may:

  • not be able to think or speak clearly or quickly
  • not know where they are (feel disorientated)
  • struggle to pay attention or remember things
  • see or hear things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

To check if it is delirium, try asking the person their name, their age and today’s date. If they seem unsure or can’t answer you, they probably need medical help immediately. It’s a very common symptom and is one of the most common medical emergencies. In hospitals, the prevalence is around 20% in adult acute general medical patients, and higher in particular groups, 75% of patients in intensive care; 50% of those who have a hip fracture. So it is worth knowing as much as you can about it and how it should be treated. This year’s Delirium Awareness Day; See #WDAD2019 was very significant because the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) published the first evidence-based guideline on Risk Reduction and management of Delirium. If you are a healthcare worker in any setting then you really need to download and read the Full Guidance and keep the Quick Reference Guide that can download from THIS PAGE handy.

So if you are one of my students then that’s two items you need to remember SIGN 157 and NICE’s NG97

 

A Framework for Older Peoples’ Workforce Development and Educational Requirements

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Well, I am late posting again this week although I’ve got a list of very good excuses that I won’t mention.

There was only one topic that I wanted to share anyway and that’s because it is a cause I was certain to support. On the 12th of February BGS Nurse and AHP Council released a position paper on the professional workforce development and educational requirements of those supporting the health and care of older people in the UK.

They believe that all health and care staff and professionals require knowledge and skills to enable them to work effectively with older people an assertion that is in line with recent position papers from the British Geriatric Society (2018) on the Primary Care of Older People which calls for increased education and training.

Their work identifies 5 levels in the workforce where they feel specific knowledge and skills are required. I would suggest taking a look, particularly if your career lies predominantly in this sphere of care. Their position statement can be found HERE

I’ll pick out one thing because it is so important!

All health and social care focused undergraduate curricula, where graduates will work with older people, the focus on the older population must be recognised as the golden thread that runs throughout each programme. Education curricula regulators need to respond to this call as do Higher Education Institutes who must make it a priority to review their course content to reflect this new horizon of population demand and long-term supply need. The BGS cannot reinforce enough the urgency for providers to respond now and ensure fit for the future undergraduate curricula are in place.

Three years of Blogging about the need for this and still waiting for transformation.

 

Why Missed GP Appointments Matter

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The paper highlights that missed general practice (GP) appointments are a significant risk marker for all-cause mortality, particularly in patients with mental health conditions.  People with mental health conditions who missed appointments risk of death also increased with the number of appointments they missed. To the point that missing more than 2 appointments per year placed them at 8 times greater risk of dying (in the next year) than those who missed no appointments. They died prematurely, commonly from non-natural external factors such as suicide.
The research led by the University of Glasgow, used routinely collected primary care data from 824,374 patients across Scotland during a 3-year period from September 2013 to September 2016. They then took this information and linked it to the Scottish death records for patients who had died within a 16-month follow-up period.
The study also showed that patients with a greater number of long-term conditions had an increased risk of missing GP appointments, despite controlling for number of appointments made thus also placing them at risk. What is not obvious in the study is that that if you missed a GP appointment and had dementia and another long term illness this also placed you at a significantly higher risk of death.
So what can we learn from this. As the authors state
“…missing multiple appointments provides a risk marker of all-cause mortality even after you control for other factors. Also… GPs, the acute sector and other NHS services should consider how best to facilitate engagement of patients with patterns of repeatedly missing appointments because for non-attenders the existing primary health care appointment systems is ineffective.”
So rather than vilify people who miss GP appointments as time wasters who need to be penalised/punished maybe its time to ask “Why are you not here?”
An interesting view to take on this issue is provided by the Medical Defence Union who have an item on their website called
I would suggest reading it, particularly if you are a practice nurse or work in outpatients.

The Ongoing Tragedy of the UK’s Excess Winter Deaths!

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In common with other countries, more people in the UK die in the winter than in the summer. Health Protection Scotland and other agencies point out that the deaths can often be attributed in part to cold weather directly (for instance deaths following falls, fractures, and road traffic accidents), in part to cold weather worsening chronic medical
conditions (for example, heart and respiratory complaints), and in part to respiratory infections including influenza.

Last winter though was carnage though particularly if you were a woman or aged 85 and over (See Excess Winter Deaths England and Wales)

If you combine the England, Wales and Scottish figures the number of excess UK winter deaths last winter was 54,879.

Sadly, our national disgrace continues and if anything things might slowly be getting worse after many years of improvement when the overall trend had been downwards since 2013-14 there has been a rising trend.

To give this more of a context in Scotland the  +4,797 deaths considered to be excess was the largest number since winter 1999/2000. The +50,100 deaths in England and Wales was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976.

Research released by the E3G group in February 2018 indicates not just why this happens but why this should be a source of national embarrassment. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden all have fewer winter deaths per capita population than we do and there is little doubt that they are colder. To learn more and access the E3G group report CLICK HERE

I agree with the authors of the report that this preventable tragedy must end. It’s time for the UK Government’s (England Wales and Scotland) to get a move on and do something significant to provide the capital investment necessary to make many more UK’s homes warmer and safe for human habitation.

 

 

 

 

 

#CarersRightsDay: We Need to Support an Increase in Carers Allowance Across the UK

Carers Rights day

Today is  

There are 759,000 adults carers in Scotland – 17% of the adult population and an estimated 29,000 young carers in Scotland – 4% of the under 16 population and without them the health and social care system would collapse.  So I am asking you to support Carers UK’s  campaign to increase Carer’s Allowance by at least £8.50, to match the changes being made in Scotland. Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers and you can still get it even if you are working, so long as your earnings are no more than a weekly amount known as ‘the earnings limit’. The government has announced that the earnings limit will be going up to £123 per week from April 2019. While this should be good news for carers in low paid work, many of those on the National Living Wage (NLW) will not benefit. for more details see the post here at the CONTACT website

If you are looking after someone you might want to look at and download this handy guide for anyone caring for family or friends – it outlines your rights as a carer and gives an overview of the practical and financial support available:

Finally, on the same theme, a report from the Social Care Elf on a recently published paper called:

Sense of coherence and mental health of caregivers: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Which is about trying to identify early warning signs of psychological distress in carers.

See also