neurology

An Introduction to Neurology

This week on the blog, our Administration Volunteer Daphne discusses her Master’s degree in Clinical Neurology and the ways in which volunteering has helped to shape her research. This is an introductory blog ahead of a series of posts on neurology from Daphne.

Theresa May NHS 10 year plan

NHS 10 Year Plan – Some Progress but There’s Something Missing

“Prevention is key theme of the Plan, although it focuses specifically on 5 areas – smoking, obesity, alcohol, air pollution and anti-microbial resistance. But even this is a huge step forward in challenging the “treatment” model that the NHS is built on – dealing with what the patient presents as a problem. It also talks about individuals playing their part in achieving health outcomes, which is also welcome. The NHS needs to work “with” patients not “on” them.”

The NHS 10 Year Plan features some great leaps forward, but there’s something missing. Our CEO Paul Goulden explains why we should be pleased and what needs to change.

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.

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!

Keeping cool in a heatwave

Keeping Cool in a Heatwave

“We’ve had some lovely weather this week, as a heatwave swept across the country! Down here in London it’s been especially warm, with temperatures reaching as high as 29°C – far higher than the typical average for this time of year, 22°C. According to the Evening Standard, some roads have become so hot that they have started to melt and stick to tyres! Meanwhile BBC news suggests that the warm weather is set to continue for at least another two weeks, if you can believe such a thing! Although, we still have a way to beat the record of the 1976 heatwave, which saw temperatures of 32C and over for 15 consecutive days.”

As the heatwave continues, it’s important to do all you can to stay healthy in the hot weather! Here’s why…

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.

Mental Health and the Arts

“Age UK’s recent Wellbeing Index went so far as to say that social and civic participation and creative and cultural participation are hugely important, together making up almost 1/8th of total wellbeing in later life. Furthermore, research by the Arts Council England in 2016 found that 76% of older people said arts and culture was important in making them feel happy, while over half of those surveyed said that arts and culture helped them to meet other people as well as encouraging them to get out and about. Meanwhile, the Mental Health Foundation discovered increased confidence and self-esteem amongst participants that were engaged in forms of participatory art.”

Research suggests that arts and culture are vital to older people’s mental health and wellbeing. We investigate the research and discuss some of the barriers to participation for 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.

air pollution

Air Pollution – How do we Fight it?

This is particularly concerning from our point of view, as older people are considered one of the most vulnerable groups for this type of pollution – especially those with heart or respiratory conditions. As it currently stands, the quality of London’s air is illegally poor, it is the most pressing threat to the future health of London. It is therefore unsurprising that the Draft Environment Strategy states that the Mayor wants to “dramatically reduce the number of Londoners whose lives are blighted by poor air quality.”

Air pollution poses a huge risk to older Londoners – but what can we do about it? We discuss our recent conference on the risks of air pollution and outline the Mayor’s proposals for change in the Draft Environment Strategy.