I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology and MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) @uwshealth. You can find out more about the programmes at: https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology/ and https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology-with-dementia-care/ This blog is designed to highlight older people's issues and issues around older people's care. I will add a new post every Friday.
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 health, 21(3), 107-111.
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
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
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.
I am going to cheat this week and not write my own Blog piece. Instead I am going to provide a platform for two other people I know and another Blogging site called — Let’s Talk about Dementia.
The Let’s Talk about Dementia Blog was set up following on from Scotland’s Dementia Awareness Week 2014 which focused on the theme “lets talk about dementia”. Five years later the Blog is still talking about Dementia because talking helps us make sure that nobody faces dementia alone. The Blogshares the work and practice of the allied health professionals in relation to dementia care and offers advice for people living with dementia, their carers, partners and families.
This week is dementia awareness week in Scotland and on the 7th of June Helen Skinner and Lyn Irvine, two of Scotland’s Dementia Nurse Consultants wrote this piece for Lets talk about Dementia, which I am happy to share! Look for the 5 key things guide for people coming into hospital which they mention.
The Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant (ASDNC) Group are excited to have launched two new documents at the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Awareness Week conference on the 3rd June and then sharing this work in our first ever blog post. The first document is the ‘Leadership and Innovation in Hospital Care: Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant […]
Late again with this post. Not sure now why I promised a new post every Friday when now I rarely manage to post it on time. 😦
Enough moaning about my own tardiness, this is more important!
Earlier this month the International Longevity Centre (ILC) released a report by their own researchers and other researchers based at University College London (UCL), and Cardiff University. The work was funded by the Wellcome Trust. The report called “Raising the equality flag: Health inequalities among older LGBT people in the UK” which you can download from HERE pulls together the results from a project conducted across two phases: a scoping review of existing evidence and a new analysis drawing on
several existing UK datasets.
Their research, like previous research concluded that a lifetime of prejudice and stigma is leading to worse physical and mental health, poorer access to health and social care, as well as greater levels of social isolation and loneliness among older LGBT people Moreover, older non-heterosexual men are more likely to be living with a long-term limiting illness and have lower overall life satisfaction.
These health inequalities have been ongoing issues for many years and while there may some improvement in attitude there seems to be very little improvement on outcomes.
So what needs to be done? Well to reinforce the points that this report makes we need
(a) ensure mainstream health and care services are inclusive, i.e. they provide environments where older LGBT people feel safe and comfortable (Are they not supposed to be able to do this already?)
(b) Develop a national standard or quality assurance framework around equality and diversity training for the needs of older LGBT people.
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.
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.
In 2015, the world united around the World Health Organisation (WHO) Agenda for Sustainable Development, pledging that no one will be left behind and that every human being will have the opportunity to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality. The following year they released their Global strategy and action plan
on ageing and health committing the member states to ensure the goals are applied as a response to population ageing and urging them to make efforts to further support Healthy Ageing. Now as a response the WHO has set out 10 Priorities that are needed to achieve the objectives of their strategy and action plan and now we are about to embark on a decade of concerted action on the Decade for Healthy Ageing from 2020-2030.
The 10 priorities make for interesting reading so a link to the WHO publication 10 Priorities: Towards a Decade of Health Ageing is HERE
The link between the Sustainable goals for healthy ageing and the sustainable development goals is best explained HERE
More about the WHO’s work in Ageing and the Lifecourse can be found by watching the video and on this webpage which includes what they say about Age-Friendly Environments.
In a bit of a contrast to looking forward, there is a new exhibition at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London exploring the place of nursing within the care of older people in the UK, which has changed dramatically in the past two centuries. Created with the help of the RCN Older People’s Forum, Aspects of Age charts the shift from the days of Victorian workhouses to at-home care and future technologies. It also looks at how specialist nurses can help destigmatise old age. Information related to the exhibition is available at the Aspects of Age exhibition page HERE
You can also visit the exhibition at RCN headquarters in London from 11 April to 20 September, then at RCN Scotland in Edinburgh from October.