Category Archives: Health

General Election Series: Health and social care high on the agenda at Age UK Rally

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Age UK’s General Election Rally

This week’s blog from our General Election Series is a guest post from Mary, a campaigner from Norfolk, who came to our General Election Rally in London on Tuesday 24 March. 

With the Care Act 2014 coming into force on the first of April, we spoke to Mary, from Norfolk, about how the issues of health and social care dominated Age UK General Election rally on 24 March.

‘Last week, thanks to the efforts of Age UK, and along with 250 other  representatives of our older population, I was given the opportunity to both listen to and question senior politicians, including David Cameron, on their plans for older people’s services, should they be elected.

‘Other than applauding speakers on the triple lock, highlighting the need to retain universal benefits such as the bus pass, and voicing regret that today’s pensioners will not benefit from the new state pension, the bulk of the day’s discussions undoubtedly focussed on care and the NHS.  Continue reading

General Election Series: Feeling well

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This week’s blog from our General Election Series examines how everyone in later life should have opportunities to enjoy life and feel well. 

The dominant story on older people’s health is often rooted in the view that not feeling unwell is all you can expect as you age. Whatever happened to wanting to feel well?

This may only be a minor linguistic distinction, but it is an important one. This popular perception is partly reflective of how health and care services operate, typically geared to responding to crisis.

Assumption that older age = poor health

But there is also a general fatalism in what health and wellbeing in later life means to people. The likelihood of remaining active and living well into late old age is often underestimated, while the assumption that longer average life expectancy is automatically linked to being in poor health is overestimated. Continue reading

General Election Series: Care for today and tomorrow

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This week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on the importance of  having access to quality health and care services for all of us as we age. 

We are living in an increasingly ageing society. There are 11 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, 3 million of whom are aged 80 or over. The number of people over 85 in the UK is predicted to double in the next 20 years and nearly treble in the next 30. This is by any measure a triumph to be celebrated.

However we are far from being prepared for all the consequences of our longer lives. The social care system is a case in point. Care services are being cut – between 2005/6 and 2013/14 the proportion of people aged 65+ receiving care fell from 15.3% to 9.1%. This means over 380,000 fewer people receiving care than a decade ago. The number of people receiving home care has fallen by over 30%. Preventative services like day care and meals on wheels have been cut by over 60%. Continue reading

Calling for action on winter deaths and illnesses

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Photo credit: zenjazzygeek (Flickr Creative Commons)

 

A NICE Guideline is not mandatory, but it is pretty firm – it uses the language ‘should’. So its Guideline on how Health and Wellbeing Boards – and indeed health professionals across the board – should deal with excess winter deaths and the issue of winter morbidity is very welcome, and offers encouragement to campaigners who have been looking for a greater focus on this age-old problem.

NICE starts unambiguously by pinning the problem to cold and hard-to-heat homes. And although the level of public concern rises when there is a spell of really cold weather, NICE points out that the health consequences begin to appear in ‘normal’ cold weather – when temperatures fall to six or five degrees (and that happens much more frequently that touching zero or below). Continue reading