Six Ways Carers Can Fight Burnout

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

Called “Caring for a loved one is hard work — 6 ways you can fight burnout” its a useful set of tips for anyone who is a carer. The links to 3 associated TED talks are also on the page if you want to watch rather than read.

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.

Advertisements

Why are UK Citizens Overwhelmingly Negative About Getting Old?

‘The Perennials’, a study carried out in partnership between IPSOS MORI and the Centre for Ageing Better, reveals that just three in ten (30%) of UK adults say they are looking forward to later life. Half (50%) say they worry about getting old.

The Report called “The Perennials: The Future of Ageing” looks our ageing societies and the challenges and opportunities this presents. The Ipsos Mori study was global in that it was conducted and illustrates attitudes to ageing across 30 different countries.

Their research shows that, globally, there is a great deal of negativity towards later life, with financial and health concerns prevalent. However, much of this negativity is propagated by a media that does not do enough to portray later life as a time of potential. It is, therefore, perhaps, little surprise that when describing those in old age, people commonly reach for terms like ‘frail’, ‘lonely’.

However, as Ben Page, the Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI states this fails to do justice to the full diversity of experiences in later life.

The over-50s now command nearly half of all spending power in many countries.
People in their later years are increasingly packing their life to the full. For many, their reality doesn’t necessarily align with the labels the media are giving them. They are not slowing down but taking on new challenges, roles and responsibilities. Those with money to spend are smart about spending it.

They’re not digital natives but they are more connected than we give them credit for. They’re not withdrawing from life, but demanding more from it and from their societies.

Yes, old age is a time of great hardship and there are very real issues such as poverty,
isolation and ill-health that needs urgent attention. However, there is also another side of later life – one that we don’t hear about often enough because it doesn’t fit with ageist and lazy media stereotypes.

For a breath of fresh air visit the Report website at https://thinks.ipsos-mori.com/the-perennials-the-future-of-ageing/

To download and read the full report CLICK HERE

More Insights into Global Ageing

On Universal Health Coverage Day, which fell on the 12th. of December 2018, HelpAge International and the AARP Foundation launched Global AgeWatch Insights 2018, a new report that analyses older people’s right to health in the context of current demographic, epidemiological and health systems transitions.

As the global population ages, health systems need to adapt to ensure older women and men can realise their right to health. How much they need to be changed can be illustrated with just a few statistics.

In 2018, the global population aged 60 and over surpassed one billion, and it continues to rise in almost all countries around the world. This move toward an ageing population is accompanied not unsurprisingly by a shift towards a rise in the number of people dying from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Of the 41 million annual deaths caused by non-communicable diseases globally, 32 million occur in low and middle-income countries, which is changing the demands being placed on these healthcare systems.

The key findings of this new report worth noting

  • Some healthcare systems are reliant on data which should inform the planning and delivery of health services systematically excludes older people.
  • Older people are prevented from accessing health services by cost, lack of transport, discrimination, and inadequate training of health workers.
  • Although women are living longer, they live more years in poor health, and with disability, depression and dementia.

As with all their Global Age Watch reports this one is accompanied by some great infographics including the one I have chosen to highlight below.

health-systems-infographic_1075x833

My Blog is 3 Years Old Today!

birthday-492372_1280This is a bit of a landmark because when I started out this blog it was really as an experiment to see what I could do to keep my own MSc in Gerontology students up to date with developments in older people’s care occurring during their programme.

So 3 years on and I have posted 162 times. The site has been viewed by 2,299 different people, I have 33 followers and the most popular day to come to this site is a Monday (about 20% of all viewers)

So thanks to everyone who visits and spreads the word about this blog. It’s gone well beyond the “classroom” although I know many of my students do visit regularly. Please keep following and visiting. And remember that despite everything that’s going on, things are getting better.

For example; in the last 5 years across European mortality from the four major noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases have been on a 2% decline per year on average based on the data from 40 of the 53 countries in the European Region. In addition, a WHO 2017 progress review established that the WHO European Region is likely to achieve its target of reducing by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promoting mental health and well-being earlier than 2030 and will probably exceed it.

See the WHO Factsheet by clicking here

Fantastic news that you probably haven’t heard.

It’s World Alzheimer’s Day

 

This day, every year Alzheimers Disease International release their latest World Alzheimer Report 2018. This year’s report looks at the topic of dementia research and brings together 21 of the global leading lights in all areas of dementia research.

Unusually this report is not written by academic staff but has been written by renowned journalist and broadcaster Christina Patterson (of Time Magazine, The Guardian and The Sunday Times) and discusses some of the complex questions surrounding dementia research. It looks particularly at the hopes and frustrations for research asking why in over 20 years we have had no significant breakthroughs. You can download the report from the link below:

 The state of the art of dementia research: New frontiers 

The report stresses the urgent need for increased and sustainable funding for dementia research and calls on governments to commit to a minimum of 1% of the societal cost of dementia to be dedicated to research. In 2018 the global societal cost was US$1 trillion.

Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive Henry Simmons has also released a message for today about the situation more locally in Scotland. You can read his message here.

September is World Alzheimers Month so let’s make an effort to ensure that nobody faces dementia alone and that we do more work to prevent dementia tackle the causes of all dementias in the coming years

News for Nurses’ Day #ThisNurse

hospital-1477433_1920
Not Enough Healthcare Staff Here Either!

Well a return to some of the topics that I repeatedly go on about in this blog. So this week saw the release of a groundbreaking paper from Finland (which has very similar staffing levels in their hospitals to UK hospitals), which revealed that having an excessive daily nurse workload increases the risk of patient safety incidents and deaths. The chances of a patient safety incident increased by up to about 30% if nurses’ workload went above what is considered “optimal” levels and the odds of a patient dying increased by about 40%!! As we approach a growing crisis in the UK around nurse numbers, nursing vacancies and difficulties recruiting to the profession this only adds to the call to make nursing a more attractive profession an to introduce safe staffing levels. Not a new message, especially not in my Blog. It is time politicians started listening. This is not going to solve itself while we undervalue all nurses and allied healthcare professionals. If you want to find out more see the Nursing Times and this is the link to the study on BMJ Open .

I am also a big fan of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Signals have created a My Signals page for Nurses. In the My Signals resources service users, in this case nurses, tell you what research is important to them and why they feel others need to know about it. So go take a look by clicking this link. You can find out more about all of  NIHR Signals by clicking here!

Finally tomorrow, Saturday 12th my is International Nurses Day!   There are a list of UK events on the Nurses’ Day page and you can follow #ThisNurse on Twitter.

Do We Still Want Docile?

Sorry I went “missing” for a week, nothing unfortunate, just a holiday where I didn’t have the time or reliable access to the internet to sort my post out. I think its quite a while since I went a whole week without posting.

I’m back this week and many thanks to Kate Swaffer for bringing this to my attention. This month saw the release of a Human Rights Report into misuse of anti-psychotic medication in dementia care in USA

The report ‘They Want Docile’: How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia, estimates that every week in US nursing facilities, more than 179,000 people, mostly older and living with dementia, are given anti-psychotic drugs without a diagnosis for which their use is approved. Often, nursing facilities use these drugs without obtaining or even seeking informed consent. Using anti-psychotic medications as a “chemical restraint”—for the convenience of staff or to discipline residents— violates US federal regulations (and regulations in most EU countries including the UK) and may amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international human rights law.

Yet another reminder of the dangers of these drugs, a problem very effectively highlighted in UK healthcare on the publication of the Banerjee Report in 2009.

Things have been improving in the UK but it is still an issue worth highlighting and bringing to people’s attention. Particularly bearing in mind that the Department of Health in 2012 said antipsychotic use was still  “resulting in as many as 1,800 unnecessary deaths per year.” despite the improving awareness of the problem. Note that overprescribing of anti-psychotics is not confined to nursing homes. In fact many nursing homes have arrangements in place to minimise all over-prescribing that many healthcare professionals could learn from. See the HALT project in Sydney and this deprescribing anti-psychotics algorithm from Ontario if you want some inspiration for reducing anti-psychotic prescribing for the people living with dementia that you care for.

So I’ll leave you with a final thought,

How could we possibly think that it is a good idea to treat stress, distress and unmet needs using sedation?”