Older People: Independence and Mental Wellbeing

Well, it is not often that this happens so I better bring this to everyone’s attention. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), have released a new guideline which covers interventions designed to maintain and improve the mental wellbeing and independence of people aged 65 or older and how to identify those most at risk of a decline. The guideline includes recommendations on:

  • principles of good practice
  • group-based activities
  • one-to-one activities
  • volunteering
  • identifying people most at risk of a decline

Very timely for those of you still working on assignments this week. You can view the guidance at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng32


I suppose its that time of year and I might forget to post this in the new year, so just to say that Age UK’s winter health campaign has started. An easy way to get lots more information about it, is to visit their blog where there is a page called ‘Easy ways to keep warm this winter‘. See:


I’ll make one more post before Xmas. Remember I stop on Wednesday the 23rd. December.


NICE and Some New Inspiration


I might have mentioned this previously but its worth drawing your attention to this again . NICE released a new guideline in November which has called for health and social care services to work together more closely to ensure that people are involved in planning their care. Its one of the first guidelines to make specific recommendations for Care Homes and these include more autonomy in relation to nutritional needs better community links and the encouragement of interaction between residents and their wider locality. To see this new guideline got to  https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng22 

On the topic of care homes you might also be interested in a new set of videos released by a charity called the Health Foundation. The series is called “Power of People” and it looks at 5 projects of interest, including one called “Pills: Reviewing Medication in Care Homes”. To view the videos which are excellent for discussion go to: http://www.health.org.uk/powerofpeople

That’s enough inspiration for this week as the assignment submission date for most of you is slowly /quickly (delete as applicable), creeping up.

Dementia Dialogue Event Hosted at Hamilton


The Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, on the Hamilton Campus held their Dementia Dialogue yesterday. This event offered staff students, carers, healthcare professionals and others the opportunity to contribute to the national discussion being held currently about the Scottish Government’s review of the 2nd. Dementia strategy and creation of the  3rd. National Dementia Strategy for Scotland which is due to be published in 2016. The Dementia Dialogue consultation events have been taking place all over Scotland, so it has been quite a privilege to be able to host our own public event.

We would like to thank everyone who came along with their views, joined in our discussions and contributed to our submission which will be presented to the organisers in the very near future.

The Dementia Dialogue events have been developed in partnership with the Scottish Government, Alzheimer Scotland, the Scottish Dementia Working Group and the National Dementia Carers Action Network.

Global Age Watch


Back in September 2015 the WHO published its World Report on Ageing and Health and I thought that this week we could have a look at what it says and the work of Help Age International. The WHO report highlights a number of issues:

  • People are living longer: health budgets and health systems need to adapt to this changing reality
  • Poor health does not need to dominate older age
  • It is not necessarily true that the older people get, the more money needs to be spent on health care, but more expenditure on social care is necessary
  • Old models of family care are not sustainable: state-provided care is essential
  • Although 70 does not yet appear to be the new 60, it could be in future

The Report shows that Governments all over the world need to adapt their policies and programmes to ensure they meet the health and care needs of all their populations throughout their life. That’s OK coming from a rich economy like ours, but what if you are from a poorer nation?

There is a website called the Global Age Watch Index which pools together all the information from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Gallup World Poll. This provides a fantastic resource which allows you to look at older people and how they live across the world and as a result allows some really fascinating comparisons. It also gives you some insight into how the WHO issues are being addressed in different countries. The Index website is at http://www.helpage.org/global-agewatch/

The organisation that is responsible for creating the Index is also fascinating and the resources that exist on theirs site are really varied and interesting. To learn more about Help Age International go to:  http://www.helpage.org/who-we-are/our-history/

A Great Place to Grow Old?

This week “Agenda for Later Life” – Age UK’s annual audit of how public policy is meeting the needs of our ageing population was published.

UK Topography space

What the report shows is that older people’s employment, digital inclusion, household spending and many other factors have improved over the last year; fewer people are living in non-decent housing and future pensioners are now more likely to be paying into a pension (even if many are not yet paying in enough). Details of the report and some neat Infografics that accompany it, as well as a comment by Jane Vass, Head of Public Policy at Age UK can be found at Age UK’s Blog page at:


Those of you who have known me for a while will know that this is what I consider to be our biggest national scandal. This week also saw the publication of the Winter Deaths figures for last year. So what do you think up or down from before (remembering it was a mild winter)?  Sadly up again. For more details about this see:


Think I have got a new blog to follow.

Living Independently with a Long Term Condition

This week saw the publication of the details of a report currently being conducted by Ipsos Mori for the NHS in England’s Improving Quality’s Long Term Conditions Improvement Programme.

Called “Navigating Health and Care: Living Independently with Long Term Conditions”, this evaluation heard the views of 36 patients, family members and carers in order to gain an insight into their experiences of living with and managing their long term conditions and the care they receive. As the report writers state, the findings chime with anecdotal evidence about the challenges faced by people managing multiple conditions, and the evaluation corroborates this in a powerful, real-world way from the patients’ perspectives. Not only will the report make for interesting reading when it is finally published but there are 5 videos associated with its release which are available to view at the following website.


One of the videos is called “Personalise my Care”. I thought some of you might like that one particularly. If any of the video resources strike a chord with you, or seem particularly useful can you post a review here so others can see it. I am sure it would be appreciated by all who view this Blog.

Mental Welfare Commission Campaign

This week it was quite easy to pick something out that has relevance to older people’s care in Scotland. Particularly since it was only released today!

The Mental Welfare Commission has launched a new campaign to explain the power of attorney to hospital ward staff, care home staff and GP’s across Scotland. More and more people are using this legal route to give powers to someone they trust – usually a relative or close friend – to make decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so themselves. Particularly those affected by dementia or a learning disability.

So to find out about the campaign go to http://www.mwcscot.org.uk/about-us/latest-news/commission-launches-new-campaign-across-scotland/

There you can access three new documents: A Power of Attorney guide for staff in hospitals and care homes. One for GP’s and a final one that deals with common concerns about these powers. These should prove very useful documents which you should share.

A bit of inspiration also. I was at this event last year and Holly, who was a final year student studying Philosophy and Theology at Edinburgh was better than a lot of the professionals. Enjoy!