Although coronavirus is currently dominating the headlines, the flu virus is currently a far bigger risk to the health of older people across London and the country as a whole. With spring on the horizon, it might seem odd that the team here at Age UK London are continuing to shout about the flu vaccine, but flu season can last as late as April, so it really is never too late to get your flu jab!
“I’m a walking enthusiast who loves getting outdoors and exploring the capital’s hidden gems, parks, woodlands, gardens, bridges, landmarks and sights! Since I started my blog in 2016 I’ve done over 30 walks of London, which have seen me stroll from North and South London to East and West London via Central London where I’ve not only discovered the touristy and well-known areas, but a variety of little treasures and places you don’t normally visit!”
For this week’s blog we hear from Stu, who tells us his ten favourite park walks – all discovered while writing the London Wlogger Blog. Why not try one out this weekend?
“In a similar vein, an active set of grand-parents who had childcare responsibilities three-times a week found that their only conversation with their stressed-out daughter was a speedily downloaded situation report as she collected her children at the end of the day. All of them believed they were seeing a lot of each other, but they were not having any valued time together. The answer? A regular date at the carvery for Sunday lunch once a month so all three generations could relax together and no-one had to cook.”
This week’s blog comes from Claire Gillman, a journalist and author of the book We Are The Sandwich Generation: Keeping Everyone Happy. Claire suggests some of the ways that “sandwich carers” can bring all the generations of their family together to spend some quality time.
“For most people, walking is the easiest way to meet physical activity recommendations, as it is a free and low impact activity which is easy to start slowly and build up gradually. It’s also one of the easiest activities to fit into your everyday life, not least because you don’t need to concentrate on the walking itself, leaving you free to enjoy your surroundings, chat to friends and family or just relax.For most people, walking is the easiest way to meet physical activity recommendations, as it is a free and low impact activity which is easy to start slowly and build up gradually. It’s also one of the easiest activities to fit into your everyday life, not least because you don’t need to concentrate on the walking itself, leaving you free to enjoy your surroundings, chat to friends and family or just relax.”
Find out how Age UK London’s new Park Walks campaign will be helping older Londoners to get out and about in London’s green spaces!
“With many people travelling to visit family and friends over the Christmas period, doctors were keen to warn that grandparents planning to visit grandchildren were particularly at risk. This is because children are often referred to as “super-spreaders” of flu and the over-65s are one of the “at-risk” groups that can develop health complications, such as pneumonia, if they catch it.”
Unfortunately there are plenty of myths about the flu vaccine floating about which can put people off getting their flu jab. That’s why our very own Sharon Tynan has put together a list of the top ten facts about the flu jab to make sure you’re fully informed before you head to your GP or pharmacist.
“Terrence’s story is a heartwarming tale and it was so wonderful to see how happy the BBC Breakfast team made him on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, Terrence’s story is the exception that proves a very worrying rule – far too many older people will spend Christmas alone this year.”
You may have seen a heartwarming story on BBC Breakfast this week, in which 78 year-old Terrence described how volunteering at Age UK Oldham helped to reconnect him with his local community – having spent the last 20 Christmases alone. Sadly almost 85,000 older Londoners will be eating Christmas dinner alone this year. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for you to help an older Londoner this Christmas! Read on to find out how!
“In 2011 I took employment with a large financial organisation. It took being passed over for almost 20 roles, for which I was qualified and capable; before I realised that I was almost definitely being overlooked because of my age. This sapped my confidence and prompted me to resign and return to freelancing.”
In the second of our interviews with older workers we hear from Norma, who has had a varied career across a number of different roles and cities!
“Even though the flu jab is free for those over the age of 65, Greater London holds eighteen of the twenty Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas with the lowest flu vaccine uptake. In fact, the World Health Organisation’s target of vaccinating 75% of people aged 65 years and over continues to be woefully unmet by the majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), with only 15% (30 out of 195) of CCGs meeting that target in 2018-19. In addition, flu vaccine uptake amongst older Londoners was far lower than the national average of 72% in 2018/19.”
Our “It’s Never Too Late!” campaign, is a focused promotion of the flu vaccine across the capital. Find out all about the campaign here and get access to some free resources!
“Selective licensing can also help tenants feel more secure in their homes by improving landlord practice via license conditions that focus on good landlord practice. Such practices include, proper deposit management, full tenancy agreements and restrictions on who can and can’t collect the rent.”
With the number of older private renters in London set to double over the next two decades, action must be taken to ensure the private rented sector is as Age-friendly as possible. Age UK London’s Campaigns Officer John McGeachy explains how selective licensing schemes could help to achieve this.
“Although important for the community as a whole, the project also had a positive effect on individuals. Barkingside resident, Victoria, who is 72, took part in six of our led walks. When she started, she walked just one circuit of the park as she had recently had a knee replacement, but by the end of the project she walked six circuits of the park. This led her to walk more to the shops, library and to visit friends in the area. She says it’s helped her to keep active and means she gets to talk to people. She’s now become a local volunteer, so she can lead walks for all ages in her local community.”
Living Streets’ Tanya Braun explains how we can overcome barriers to walking for older adults and ensure that London’s outdoors spaces are Age-friendly!