Hundreds of runners taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon run along the river bank

Run the Royal Parks Half Marathon!

It was a strangely sunny October day when our five fantastic fundraisers started the first of the thirteen miles that make up the 2017 Royal Parks Half Marathon. We were so proud of our runners, who put in all the effort to train and fundraise in the months leading up to the big day, before performing brilliantly across the entire 13.1 mile course – raising over £2000 to help London to love later life in the process!

Now it’s your turn.

There are still spaces available for the 2018 Royal Parks Half Marathon! Here’s all you need to know to run on behalf of Age UK London!

Let Participants Lead Workshop Activities!

“Sometimes we are led to believe that projects such as a ten minute theatre performance by amateur actors with dementia is successful, but this may not be the case as an unusual and sophisticated art project doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of the participants. There is a hidden danger in progressive projects which are sometimes designed to attract participants and promote the work of the company or facilitator organising them, and not to serve the needs of the participants. It’s a blessing that so many artists and organisations are using art in healthcare settings but most of the time there are no assessments of the individuals’ needs or an evaluation of these projects. We keep proving success by showing pictures with older people laughing while they are holding a puppet or a brush. If the camera lens is focused on a happy older lady doing yoga, then out of frame is likely to be an older man with advanced dementia, who is asleep on an armchair. Does this make this activity successful?”

Activities in care homes can have a huge impact upon the lives of older people, but we must make sure the workshops cater to the needs of the participants, not the performers! Eirini Dermitzaki explores how we can make sure care home activities best serve older Londoners.

A view of London overlooking the Thames.

When will London join the Global Age Friendly Cities Network?

“When will the capital join the global Age Friendly Cities network? Manchester and Bristol are marching ahead and Southwark has taken the plunge – so what can be done to commit London to join the global Age Friendly Cities Network? New York is a member but when you search #agefriendlylondon you find yourself reading about London in Canada! London’s piecemeal approach is indicative of lack of leadership and collaboration on older people’s issues.”

How can we get London to be as age friendly as possible? Jane Scobie investigates…

A starry night sky

Close Encounters of the Third Age

“We have looked at, and tried out a number of exercises designed to achieve this, from simple small group discussions to various role-play scenarios, but they weren’t cutting the mustard. One of our number, Vanda, who, incidentally used to teach games design, came up with the concept of a board game. This idea has really captured everyone’s imagination and our last few development meetings (now described as board meetings) have been fun and intensely creative events.”

Richard Norman keeps us updated on the Age Allies program, which now has its own board game – Close Encounters of the Third Age!

A person casting their vote

You and Your Vote are Important!

“Maybe no-one has said this to you for a while but it’s true – if you are reading this then you are either over 60, or interested in the issues surrounding the over 60s and how to make things better in later life. That means that for Age UK London, you are very important!”

Our CEO Paul Goulden outlines a number of ways to make your voice heard in the coming months…

A trumpet player performs at the Songbook

Songbook – from the Royal Albert Hall

For people of any age, research has found that music can inspire particular emotions or senses, conjure vivid memories, and create an atmosphere of collaboration, euphoria and closeness.

In some cases, individuals suffering from age-related illness have recognised loved ones after listening to favourite songs. Research by the charity Music For My Mind has advocated for inclusion of music in the standard therapy for dementia. Many of an individual’s most robust memories will be their earliest, including the music of their teenage years and all its associated emotions.

Live music in particular is able to create this effect even more vividly – by bringing the performance and collaboration directly to the viewer, and creating an event where groups of people can enjoy similar sensations, together.

The Royal Albert Hall’s Songbook Programme brings live music to older Londoners. Find out how to get involved!

Age Allies Programme

Develop your Team with Free Age Awareness Training!

As humans we have a strong tendency to organise our social worlds by categorising and we all hold unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups. These biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. If our society categorises “older people” as all those over a particular age, say fifty, then we are likely to see all those who arbitrarily fit that categorisation as having commonalities. Our assumptions about those commonalities are informed by our unconscious beliefs.

The Age Allies Programme is a unique opportunity to develop age awareness within your team. Age UK London are delivering these FREE half day workshops to businesses and organisations all across London.

older male working

Flexible Work for Older Londoners

“A survey conducted by Ipsos Mori for the excellent Centre for Ageing Better found that the majority of us want three things in later life: Health, Financial Security and Social Connections. What magic wand can bring all three at the same time? Work of course!”

Is work the key to loving later life? Alexander Stevenson of Blume puts forward the case for flexible working for older Londoners.

Power of Touch

The Power of Touch in Tackling Loneliness

“It’s estimated that 1.2 million people are chronically lonely in the UK. The support structures for loneliness aren’t always strong, and it’s believed that around one in ten people visit their GP surgery because they are lonely. According to a report by the Campaign to End Loneliness, around two fifths of older people said that television was their main source of company. The pain associated with loneliness, has been compared to physical pain and the health effects of loneliness are astounding. It’s been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is estimated to be twice as deadly as obesity. In addition, the risk of developing high blood pressure, dementia, depression and anxiety increase for those dealing with loneliness.”

With over 44,000 older Londoners described as “chronically lonely”, Ryan Mizzen looks at the consequences of a lack of physical contact on the health and wellbeing of older people.

Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care – Together at Last!

“The benefits of looking at an older person’s health and social care needs are clear. If an older person continually goes to the doctor with conditions that just don’t seem to improve, the doctor may not know that this person is having to make daily choices on heating their home or buying food. Similarly a social worker may find a client confused or unsteady on their feet, not knowing that the GP has changed their medication.”

Following the Cabinet Reshuffle, our CEO Paul Goulden analyses the new position of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and discusses the ways in which this could impact upon the lives of older Londoners.