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
Whillans, A.V., Dunn, E.W., Smeets, P., Bekkers, R. and Norton, M.I., 2017. Buying time promotes happiness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201706541.
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
This week Susan Shenkin one of the editors for the British Geriatrics Society’s (BGS) Age and Ageing Journal has written the BGS’s Blog page. What she is writing about is her recent article in the journal that aims to provide guidance for people conducting systematic reviews relevant to the healthcare of older people.
If you are a student of mine doing your Masters please take note. This is great guidance for you to follow particularly as you head towards your dissertation. While the guidance is really there for review teams, it embraces a number of principles and contains some good tips that you could easily follow To see Susan’s Blog post go here.
To download the article (which is Open Access) Click the link below
Systematic reviews: guidance relevant for studies of older people
This week also saw the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT’s) publish their new report which is calling on the NHS and Local Authorities to refocus health and social care services. They warn that unless there is a shift from a ‘high volume, low cost’ approach to care, to one which sees the whole person’s overall wellbeing services will struggle to meet future demands.
In its report, the RCOT’s seeks to show how doing the right thing for individuals can
actually, reduce their need for expensive care long-term. It calls for an end to the postcode lottery in access to occupational therapy which is a barrier to people in need receiving high quality, person-centred care that enables people to stay as active, independent and safe as possible. For more details about their new report and to download the document go to Living, not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people
The video accompanying the report is here:
As my followers will know it was Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland last week so for those of you who got involved here are some things you might like:
- #DAW2017 went viral with a video of PC Marshall visiting a Musical Minds group in Kilmarnock during DAW. The video on the ALZScot Ayrshire page was shared across Scottish media including The Scotsman, The Scottish Sun, The Sunday Post and many more!
- Check out the Dementia Awareness Week gallery over on Facebook and tag yourself.
- To support the week AlzScot also shared a blog a day from Allied Health Professionals who wanted to share who they are and how they CAN help if you are living with dementia. If you can review the blogs by visiting Let’s Talk about Dementia
Last week also saw the publication of ‘My Anticipatory Care Plan’ (ACP). An anticipatory care plan toolkit designed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Antipatory Care Planning ahead can help many people with chronic health problems to plan what they would like their care to look like on a daily basis or help them to plan fro and manage situations which they may find threatening, like sudden hospital admission. ACP’s are not legally binding in any way (in the UK) and can be updated at any time to reflect changes in the person’s thinking. Remember this is designed to be their plan and it’s entirely up to the person to decide who to share this information with.
For more information about ACP’s and to access the toolkit please click here
You can also download their ACP App for both iPhone and Android when you visit the site. It really is a fabulous resource and although it may originate in Scotland, it could be used anywhere!
In January (I know that’s a while back and usually I am more up to date than this), the Royal College of Physicians in partnership with the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF) and others produced a new vision assessment tool which enables ward staff to quickly assess a patient’s eyesight in order to help prevent them falling or tripping while in hospital. Look out! Bedside vision check for falls prevention is an innovatively designed guide which aims to support busy clinical staff in assessing visual impairment in older people. It uses a mixture of questions and visual aids to help doctors, nurses and therapists check eyesight at the patient’s bedside. Results give an indication of the extent of any visual problems, known or unknown, that the patient may have. For more information click the link.
If we stick to the same topic the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) have created a resource page called Promoting good eye health for Dementia and Sight Loss Awareness Week 2017
There is a strong link between visual impairment and dementia as their 2016 PrOVIDe study showed. Most of the visual impairments they encountered though were easily correctable. So go and have a look at what they suggest.
Note the page was designed for England and Wales so if you are Scottish and want to become a Dementia Friend you need to click on this link
Have you ever seen this symbol?
Can’t say I have either, so I better explain. This is the symbol of BlueAssist. Created by a small centre for adults with learning difficulties in Ostend, Belgium. The scheme began as a series of written cards with a distinctive logo, and the words Dare to Connect. The symbol is there to help the public understand that the person asking for help may not be able to communicate easily, just as the wheelchair symbol is recognised for those with physical difficulties. The simple idea was that when the person presents a BlueAssist message which has been pre-prepared such as
“Please can you help me catch the number 5 bus”
Members of the public would understand from the symbol and the message on the card what is needed and could then provide assistance.
Not only can you get the cards you can now get a Blue Assist mobile phone app.
The whole point here is that ANYONE who has difficulty getting their message across, either because of physical problems, such as a stroke, hearing impairment, stammer or temporary problem such as a broken jaw. Or those who find it hard due to a long-term disability such as learning disability or any older person there are many people who want to remain independent but may find their memory and word finding ability makes asking for help difficult.
To find out more and maybe even to download the App, go to
Simple and effective, wouldn’t it be good to see it widely used. Thanks to @WendyPMitchell for bringing this to my attention in her blog.
Only a few weeks to go to the UK General Election. So a post from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation addressed to whoever wins called “After the election, the Government needs to get to grips with poverty” seems apt.
I am not expecting this to surprise many of you by saying that the leading cause of trauma to older people is falls from a standing height, most of which happen at home. However what will surprise you is that a ten-year study by the Trauma Audit and Research Network revealed that this is the leading cause of major trauma across the country ahead of road traffic accidents, work-based accidents and assaults.
So what’s that got to do with unintentional ageism? Janet Morrison, who has written this week’s blog post for campaigning and support group Independent Age explains very nicely how Trauma Centre’s (A&E’s) are set up to deal with younger people with high impact injuries but that is no longer the bulk of their work. The report itself is very revealing particularly in relation to what happens next after an older person’s trauma is recognised. To read or listen to Janet’s blog click here
If you are dealing with falls, particularly falls at home, regularly you may find this page useful
If falls are not your thing the here is somewhere else to go browsing. This is a link to the Academy of Fabulous Stuff.
If you want to know what it’s about and what it does watch the video:
The team from the Alzheimers Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice who I work with, are holding a Drop-in Event at the Mezzanine Area of the Brough Building, UWS Paisley Campus, in Scotland at 1-3pm on the 31st May, 2017.
If you can’t come along on the day please join us on twitter @ASCPP #oneweething where we are celebrating all the lovely things and small changes that our Dementia Champions
and others do to improve the lives of people with dementia, their family, and friends. To find out more go to:
OK, that’s and event still to come but what about this week?
Yesterday Age Scotland launched a report and survey that outlines the positive impact that the growing men’s shed movement is having on later life. Men from sheds across Scotland have told their story in the report called The Shed Effect, which you can access using the link. The report demonstrates how men’s health and wellbeing has been lifted by getting involved in their local shed. The men’s shed movement or community sheds are not for profit organisations that originated in Australia, to advise and improve the overall health of all males. They normally operate on a local level in the community, promoting socila interaction and camaraderie with the aim of increasing quality of life. There are over 900 located across Australiaand growing numbers in the UK, Ireland, Finland Greece and New Zealand. with thousands of active members to find a local shed if you live in Scotland Click here.
And of course happy International Nurses Day!