I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) @uwshls. You can find out more about the programme at https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology-with-dementia-care/#:~:text=The%20MSc%20in%20Gerontology%20with,their%20carers%20and%20their%20families. This blog is designed to highlight older people's issues and issues around older people's care. I will add a new post every weekend.
I am going be quite choosy here and not give a huge long list. So let’s start with a brilliant initiative called Luminate@Home. Luminate runs a diverse range of activities and events that celebrates our creative lives as we age. It holds avery successful annual festival here in Scotland that usually takes place in May. In response to the fact that lots of older people at home or in care homes right now who are having to isolate from the wider world for a while they have launched a new programme of online creative activities
Luminate@Home are uploading short films every Tuesday and Friday at 2pm, on Luminate’s facebook page and on their YouTube or Vimeo channels. The films are designed to inspire and guide you through a creative activity that can be done at home or in a care home. The activities are presented by professional artists and feature different arts forms including crafts, poetry, music and dance. The films will be left online so you can access them at any time.
My next suggestion is a Scottish Care initiative called Tech Device Network. They are inviting businesses, organisations and individuals with spare technological devices to donate them to care services. All you have to do is click here to get in touch and tell them what you are able to donate. Scottish Care will then connect you with care services who would benefit from receiving the devices and jointly will arrange delivery/collection. As they state at this time this could have significant benefits for mental wellbeing, reducing distress and maintaining connections with loved ones for a vulnerable population and those supporting them. A meaningful way to connect our communities at this time and hopefully one with long term positive outcomes.
It is very rare for me to make a TV recommendation particularly since this one is only available via the BBC iPlayer and therefore not internationally available yet. So for those of you that can, then you should take some time over the holidays to watch Five Wishes a programme marking the 50th anniversary of Scottish Ballet. This year they ran a very special project in Scotland, asking the public to make wishes that could only they could grant.
After hundreds of wishes, and thousands of votes, the final five were chosen and this is the documentary is the story of what happened next.
It follows the ballet troupe every step of the way as they make five unique wishes come true. From 11-year-old Lily battling with cancer to the Every Voice Choir in Dumbarton, these are stories of love, hope and courage – all told with a balletic twist. To view the programme click the link below.
As we approach the new year there are perhaps two more things I should mention. On the 23rd. of December 1919, the Nurses Registration Act was passed and so we have now had UK registration for 100 years!
The NMC have posted an interactive timeline that is a great reminder of some key moments in nursing history in the UK. To view this click HERE
Also, look out for the WHO’s State of the World’s Nursing in 2020 report to be launched in April which will provide a global picture of the nursing workforce and support evidence-based planning to optimise the contributions of nurses in improving health and wellbeing for all.
I quite liked this as an introduction to this weeks topic. Today’s fifty-year-olds are likely to have an astounding 36 or more years to live. So if you’re approaching later life, you need to think very differently about what those extra years will hold.
So two things that you will have to consider in this weeks. A plan for your future at work and help in achieving the goal of a fabulous later life. Interesting you can find guides to both on the Centre for Ageing Better’s website this week.
Firstly they have published a new report on Employers, suggesting that they should do more for workers in their 40s and 50s to help them plan for the future.To read more about their findings and to download the full report follow THIS LINK
The Centre for Ageing Better says
…providing mid-life support is an essential part of how employers can respond to the changing nature of the workforce. Workers over the age of 50 now make up a third of all UK workers, but there are more older people leaving work than younger people coming in to replace them. Supporting staff to plan ahead could help employers avoid potential staff and skill shortages, as well as ‘cliff edge retirements’ where people are working one day and stop work entirely the next.
The second item is a new book that the Centre helped to produce called When We’re 64 by Louise Ansari
The book is a friendly, practical guide to preparing for what could be the best years of your life – from the essentials on work and how to fund retirement, to volunteering, where to live and what kind of housing you’ll need The book aims to provide knowledge, tips and pointers to help you think very differently about opportunities that a long life can bring. You can find out more about the book and how to purchase it by CLICKING HERE.
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 year Remembrance Day on the 11th of November will mark the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War. As part of the commemorations, Britain and Germany are joining in a call for bells of all kinds to be rung globally (at 12.30 hrs GMT/13.30hrs CET/12.30 local time) to replicate the outpouring of relief when 100 years ago the guns finally fell silent. The US Centennial Commission has already made a similar appeal to Americans.
For other events and activities taking place to mark the Centenary the following website is useful, click here on Centenary News.
Of particular interest to me is a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) online exhibition showcasing the lives of nursing staff during the First World War, which won the Women’s Network History Award for 2018. Called “Service Scrapbooks: Nursing and Storytelling in the First World War” this project digitised and transcribed photographs poems diary entries and illustrations ranging for 1909 to 1919. To go to it click here
this new archive contains a collection of digitised slides from Scottish Women’s Hospitals which is a haunting glimpse into life in a field hospital 100 years ago.
A very moving archive full of personal views of the war by nurses who were there.
On Friday the BBC hosted its annual music day and on it launched a new website featuring music designed to trigger memories in people with dementia. Called BBC Music Memories The site is designed to use music to help people with dementia reconnect with their most powerful memories and has been inspired by an ever-growing body of research on the beneficial effects of music in helping those with dementia. See Music Based Therapeutic Interventions for People with Dementia
In developing tis site they worked with the Scottish-based music and dementia charity, Playlist for Life, featured in the video below.
The new BBC site is being supported by leading dementia organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer Scotland, Dementia UK and Carers UK. They are encouraging their many members to visit this new website to try out music memories for themselves. You can then take part in a survey to help them to discover the nation’s favourite music memories.
BBC Music Memories features tracks from 1920 to 2017 so there is there’s something for everyone. The site hopes to encourage inter-generational use so people of different ages can use the resource together to listen and talk about their own memorable music and the thoughts it triggers.Once users have made and shared their own playlists the BBC aim to build a shared database to create a unique resource to help others. It is incredibly simple to use on any digital device (PC, tablet or smart phone). It also has a simple user guide along with helpful links to further dementia support resources.
In Scotland, the world’s biggest arts festival starts today. As always I’ll spend some time through there over the month and try and take in some shows/events etc. with my family.
So what might be worth seeing that focuses on Older People? Well, these aren’t my recommendations this list comes from Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, which runs a diverse programme of creative events and activities throughout the year. So they know better than me what to see. So here is their list of recommendations.
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 theSafe 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:
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.
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:
Think of hard times like bad weather — they too will pass.
Draw inspiration from all the people you meet.
Love your work — for the salary and for the people.
Find mentors who can guide you and challenge you.
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
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
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: