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!
“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.
“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.
“We’ve been gathering the views of older people in our borough on how to make community groups as welcoming as possible, and what difference this makes. Older people identified a range of factors including meeting and greeting, introductions, seating arrangements, opportunities for social interaction and relationship building, fostering a sense of community and various communication strategies.”
Ageing Better in Camden’s Lydia Shellien Walker tells us how a warm welcome is crucial to making community groups as friendly and inviting as possible.
“I believe the way I and so many others like me live, in this type of shared housing arrangement, is a blueprint for the future as the cost of living in cities as expensive as London escalates and more and more people find themselves renting for life.”
This week on the blog, Suzanne Noble explains how helping her partner to find a place to live saw her set up SilverSharers, a new company that connects older homeowners with compatible older renters seeking a spare room.
“Next up, “Age Ally” Chris took to the stage to give an impassioned speech on the ways in which the Age Allies project had shaped his understanding of age and ageing – even as an older Londoner himself! Chris explained how he had thoroughly enjoyed working with Richard and his fellow Age Allies to help “plant a seed” in the minds of the workshop attendees.”
This month we said farewell to our Age Allies programme, which has come to an end after three successful years. Find out how our goodbye event “Age Allies: Legacy” celebrated the work of the project and suggested ways in which the learning from the project could be carried forward into future campaigns across the age sector.