A member of the Holobalance team explains the system to the focus group.

Holobalance – A New Way to Manage Balance Disorders

“Both of the focus groups took place at Age UK London over two dates, November 23rd and November 29th. Matthew Liston, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Human and Applied Physiological Sciences at Kings College London and Sharon Tynan of Age UK London demonstrated and explained the purpose of an array of wearable sensors and gadgets on the day including, insoles, heart rate monitor, augmented reality headsets and accelerometers. The older people in attendance had many questions about the kit and how long one would need to wear it as well as how it would work. The older people brought their wealth of knowledge to the focus groups and came up with good practical ideas about Holobalance and its future development.”

Age UK London is one of 13 partners across 7 European countries involved in the Holobalance project. Find out how we’re getting older Londoners’ views to the forefront of the development of Holobalance.

Purple Tuesday

Purple Tuesday: Accessible Shopping for All!

“Nearly one in every five people in the UK has a disability or impairment, and over half of households have a connection to someone with a disability, so it goes without saying that businesses and organisations must be attuned to the needs of all their customers.”

This week saw the launch of Purple Tuesday, the UK’s first ever accessible shopping day! But what is Purple Tuesday and why is it so important? We investigate.

adaptations

Aids and Adaptations for Accessible Homes

“Evidence shows that installing adaptations and improvements to homes can be of huge benefit to our health and wellbeing as we age. We often talk about the need to deliver home adaptations. Evidence shows that living in a suitable, accessible home is crucial to a good later life, and home adaptations can play a big part if done well. I think it’s important to get other people’s perspective, though, beyond formal research and reports. Making changes to our homes is something very personal to many people.”

Yehia Nasr of the Centre for Ageing Better went looking for some personal perspectives to better understand just how a simple home adaptation can help people in later life remain healthy, active and able to do the things they want to.

stay safe

Stay Safe for Older People!

“When older people are scammed or have an accident it knocks their confidence and they become vulnerable. They often stop going out, become isolated and frail and too frequently end up in hospital. Being aware of potential hazards getting prompt, expert, information when you need it, can prevent these incidents in the first place and help people move forward, saving the older person and all involved in their care from the utter devastation that can occur when things go wrong.”

On the 1st October 2018 Age UK, RoSPA, First Aid for Life and Fit for Safety launched the Stay Safe for Older People at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. Find out more about the initiative here:

Red Bag scheme

Red Bag Scheme Extended

“Since its introduction in Sutton, the Red Bag, which has been used with care home residents 2,000 times in south London since April 2017, has also stopped patients losing personal items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids worth £290,000 in a year. The potential for the innovation is significant with a predicted two million more people aged over 75 in ten years’ time. This populace is also spending more years in ill-health than ever before.”

Thousands of care home residents will benefit from safer emergency hospital visits as the innovative Red Bag scheme will be extended across the whole of south London. Find out how!

Mental and Physical Healthcare

Achieving Parity between Mental and Physical Healthcare

“The conference was an opportunity to increase understanding of a range of perspectives from across the social care workforce and to develop greater knowledge of patients’ experiences when accessing both mental and physical healthcare. Attendees were also advised on the delivery of consistent messages between members of the health and social care workforce on the subject of mental and physical health needs. There was also plenty of opportunity to network – especially over lunch!”

This week, we were delighted to co-host the MaP Project Conference with Allied Health Solutions here at Tavis House. Find out all about the event here!

Technology – Reinventing the Social Care System

“Technology needs to be at the forefront of this new era of social care. Technology companies such as Babylon and Google DeepMind are already starting to make significant progress towards empowering patients to improve the care they receive. Babylon, for example, offers healthcare via a mixture of artificial intelligence and video and text conversations with doctors and specialists. However, up until now, social care has failed to take advantage of digital innovation and advances in health technology.”

Technology has transformed the way we shop, travel and live our everyday lives. Healthcare company Cera argues that technology needs to transform the social care system too.

Private Rented Sector

Age and the Private Rented Sector

“The Home Improvements report is a timely intervention, which showcases the challenges that face “the Millennial Generation” in the present day and the years to come. It also dovetails nicely with our own report Living in Fear: Experiences of Older Private Renters in London, which performed a similar investigation into the difficulties facing older Londoners that rent privately.

If it is indeed true that a third of Millennials face renting for their entire lives, then our findings suggest that large scale changes need to be made in order to meet these tenants’ needs as they grow older. This is especially urgent, considering that The number of private-renting households for those aged 45-64 has more than doubled in the last ten years and recent estimates suggest that the number of private-renters in London aged 65 and over could double between 2014 and 2039.”

This week, a report from the Resolution Foundation has found that up to a third of young people face living in private rented accommodation for all of their lives. We offer our knowledge of the private rented sector, the affect it has upon many older tenants and the changes that need to be made to meet the needs of present and future older tenants.

An older man and two older women laughing over a cup of tea

Our Manifesto: Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!

“The London local elections are rapidly approaching, with polling day set for Thursday May 3rd. Four years on from the last London borough elections, all London borough councillor seats are set to be decided, alongside Mayoral contests in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

As London continues to grow in size, the number of older Londoners is increasing too – a 2016 estimate revealed that over a million Londoners were aged 65+ and 140,000 of that total were over the age of 85. A socially and economically diverse demographic, older Londoners contribute massively to every borough of the capital, as paid workers, volunteers, carers, family members, community activists, and in a whole host of other ways. As the number of older Londoners continues to increase, so too will these vital contributions to city life.

However, there are also a large number of older Londoners who are experiencing poverty and inequality, just like London’s other demographics. Whilst poverty amongst older people had been falling, there has sadly been a recent increase in the number of people who have dipped below the poverty line in later life. London’s housing crisis continues to affect people of all ages, with a serious lack of affordable housing in many areas. Loneliness too is an intergenerational concern, yet isolation is a particular concern for the older generation. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has discovered that ‘more than 1 in 3 people aged 75 and over say that feelings of loneliness are out of their control.'”

Age UKs across London are proud to present “Make London’s Boroughs Age Friendly!” a manifesto for the upcoming London borough Council elections.

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.