Catch-up on Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds

Earlier this year Channel 4 in the UK ran a documentary series where pre-schoolers shared their classroom with pensioners from a retirement home in Bristol for six weeks. The two programmes can still be viewed on Catch up at All 4

 

Just before Christmas to highlight the problem of isolation over the holidays as an issue for older people at Christmas a new programme was created in the same format that brought the pensioners and their young friends together again as they prepare for a Christmas concert.

For a bit of life-affirming and interesting television take a look at Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds: Christmas

The coldest day of the winter so far with temperatures plunging below minus 13C in Scotland happened this week on the 28th. of December. A good time again to remind everyone to look out for and pop in to see their older neighbours.  Make sure they have enough food are staying warm because you could be saving their lives. Remember,  the estimates are that 80 frail and vulnerable people per day in the UK are at risk of dying as a result of fuel poverty. Interested in finding out more about fuel poverty there is a charity called Energy Action Scotland (EAS) which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty in Scotland and is the only national charity with this sole remit. If you want to know more about what they do Click Here!

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A Xmas Mash-up

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Firstly a Very Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this that celebrates. If you don’t, hope you are enjoying the winter solstice which is a much older festival and was celebrated more widely (Stonehenge for example is aligned to sunrise on the winter solstice).

So after a few weeks of mainly single topics this week I have decided to be a bit more eclectic!

Firtly, its good to see that Age UK have just launched a new resource which offers practical advice on providing the kind of services in which older lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people can feel safe to be themselves. Called the Safe to be me resource guide, it has been written for anyone working or volunteering in health, social care or the voluntary sector who supports older people who are LGBT. It will also prove useful for people involved in training because it encourages them integrate discussions and scenarios relating to the needs of people who are LGBT into what they provide.

Secondly another of these great papers which tells you more about the things you take for granted. This time its about the healing power of music! An easy thing to say and something we are all probably aware of BUT what is music actually doing?

Well this paper from a team based at the University of Helsinki in Finland has a go at answering that question for people with neurological conditions. It is a literature review that looks at music’s potential for aiding the rehabilitation of people with various neurological conditions. Evidence of an impact is greatest for stroke and dementia, but music-based interventions can also help cognition, motor function and emotional well-being in people with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. More of their findings can be found HERE

 

Finally and totally unrelated to anything above, I found an open access literature review on appropriate ways to measure lying and standing blood pressure in hospital for frail older adults. So for all of you concerned about older people who fall frequently possibly because of postural hypertension here is a guide to the:

Measurement of lying and standing blood pressure in hospital

Can we have more open access article like this RCNi?

 

My Life, My Care Home. An Insight into Life in a Scottish Care Home When You Have Dementia

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Went to an event hosted by the Holyrood Magazine this week which looked at the challenges and progress of the Third National Dementia Strategy here in Scotland the highlight of which was the announcement of the release of this report by the Care Inspectorate. The report follows a year-long focused analysis of 145 care homes for older people by the Care Inspectorate, Scotland’s social care scrutiny and improvement body.

Inspectors noted that although more than half of care homes were now delivering good quality care, more could be done to challenge expectations of what living with dementia means and the quality of care that can be provided.

The report examined the way Scotland’s national standards of care for dementia in Scotland were being met.

The Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland, which are set by the Scottish Government, were developed to meet three principle aims: help people with dementia and their carers to understand and protect their rights, indicate to care, providers, what is expected of them and improve the quality of dementia care homes.

The inspection focus found that more than a third of people living with dementia (35%) had no access to independent advocacy to help them express their needs and expectations.

It also found that while 55% of care homes had provision for ongoing organised activities every day of the week, 10% of care homes did not provide any opportunities for people to keep active and engaged.

So lots of progress, but more still needs to be done. To download and view the full report click here

If you want to know more about what the care Inspectorate do and more about their campaigns they have there own YouTube Channel click here to view 

Looking After Your Musculoskeletal Health

This week in Public Health England’s Health Matters Blog they have chosen to focus on older people’s Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health. A good time of year to focus on this as today the outside temperature across most of Scotland today fell to -2 degrees Celsius. So its a high risk of falls day (and a put on your big coat day as we’d say here)

The Public Health Blog focusses on the burden of the three groups of MSK conditions:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions of musculoskeletal pain such as osteoarthritis and back pain
  • Osteoporosis and fragility fractures such as fracture after fall

As well as age, the prevalence of MSK conditions is being fuelled by rising levels of physical inactivity and obesity, and poor health habits such as smoking. MSK conditions are a substantial problem for individuals and the NHS. The blog looks at how local authorities, commissioners, healthcare professionals, and the private and voluntary sectors can all contribute towards promoting productive healthy ageing and preventing the onset of MSK conditions. It includes a set of infographics and slides to support local commissioning and service delivery, as well as best practice case studies, so why not have a look and make use of them.  See

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/06/health-matters-productive-healthy-ageing-and-musculoskeletal-health/

Feeling Lonely and Cold? Unfortunately Your Not the Only One.

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Its the 1st of December and Age Scotland has launched its Christmas campaign, “No one should have no one”. A recent survey they have undertaken reveals that they think about 60,000 people aged over 65 will have no-one to spend Christmas Day with, a 50 percent increase over 2015 figures. Another 80,000 say they feel lonelier at Christmas time than at any other time of year, with those who have been widowed most at risk. They haven’t published the full survey results yet but you can see their report by clicking the link here  Age Scotland Report

They are hoping to highlight the extent of loneliness and isolation in Scotland and encourage people to take action to reduce loneliness in their communities. Interested to find out what you can do? Go to The Campaign to End Loneliness

December also signals now my annual rant about winter deaths because today is the day that we here in the UK start counting!

So why do I go on about this? Well let’s use the Scottish Government’s own figures

There were 20,930 deaths registered in Scotland in the four months of winter 2016/17
from (December to March), compared with 20,509 in winter 2015/16. Comparing the number of deaths in the four winter months with the average for the two adjacent four-month periods, the seasonal increase in mortality in winter 2016/17 was 2,720. This was 130 fewer than the corresponding value of 2,850 for the previous winter.
So what that means is that every year about 2,800 people in Scotland die from the cold.
Just in case for some reason you think that this is OK, its been happening for every winter from 1951/52 when they began counting, and things aren’t really getting better. The seasonal increase of 2,720 in winter 2016/17 was smaller than in most of the previous 65 winters but exceeded the level seen in 10 of the previous 20 winters, and in 5 of the previous 10 winters.
According to the World Economic Forum 2017, we here in the UK live in the 5th richest economy on the planet yet people still die from the cold at an excessive rate in the winter from essentially fuel poverty. This is just embarrassing and shameful and our figures are consistently worse than Scandinavian countries so we have no real excuse.
Want to find out more go to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition

 

Austerity, and 5 Pieces of Advice You Should Listen To

 

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Can’t think of anything sadder than seeing older people in extreme poverty

 

Its Black Friday today so most of you will not be looking at this, you’ll be shopping! Its Black Friday though for other reasons after the budget being announced in the UK and no obvious end to austerity or scrapping the cap on pay rises that virtually all UK healthcare workers are experiencing. While that might seem like more moaning the implications for older people in hospital and requiring social care are discussed very effectively in this peice published by the British Geriatric Society on their Blog. So rather than me picking out something have a look at what Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society has said.

https://britishgeriatricssociety.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/the-budget-was-a-missed-opportunity-to-help-frail-older-patients-stranded-in-hospital/#more-4923

So as a counter to all that depressive talk about underfunding and its short and long term impact maybe we need to calm down a little and listen to our seniors.

This is another peice from the TED Blog. Yes TED again! You know I am big fan of the talks TED: Ideas worth spreading    So they also have a blog  and this was their Thanksgiving post; “5 Pieces of Essential Life Advice from Seniors” I bow to their wisdom. This is what they said:

  1. Think of hard times like bad weather — they too will pass.
  2. Draw inspiration from all the people you meet.
  3. Love your work — for the salary and for the people.
  4. Find mentors who can guide you and challenge you.
  5. Make the most of less.

To find out more and watch a TED talk about what we get when we listen to people’s stories CLICK HERE

 

Contact Sport and Dogs. Why are they in the Headlines?

I’ve still to watch it but it was interesting to see the topic of head injuries in sport being raised this week in the BBC documentary “Alan Shearer: Dementia Football and Me”. Concerns about head knocks in American Football and Rugby have been a subject of quite a lot of research and concerns in the last few years but Soccer/football has been remarkably quiet about exposure to head injury from heading the ball and other head knocks apparently choosing to ignore the topic despite concerns being raised for at least the last 15 years. I was going to direct you to the documentary page but the BBC has a better resource written by their health editor Hugh Pym that includes links to the documentary on a page labelled £1m for football brain injury research Well worth reading because it also contains a link to a study about American Football conducted in Boston that is perhaps more concerning.

Is it time for change, or is their just so much money in these sports that we are happy to risk the futures of our children?

So for every negative their needs to be a positive so here it is!

Swedish Scientist have just published a huge study that suggests that dogs may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity. The benefits are particularly noticeable for people living alone. I don’t really need to encourage a lot of my friends here, but when we talk about Pet Therapy that’s quite an artificial and temporary construct. Maybe we should just be saying “Go out and get yourself a dog!”