How can we support people with dementia to live well?

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Around 850,000 people are estimated to have dementia in the UK, and that figure is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025.

Rising prevalence has led to a number of new initiatives focussing on the condition. In 2015, the Prime Minister’s Challenge on dementia 2020 set out more than 50 commitments with the hope of making England a world leader in dementia care, research and awareness by 2020.

Efforts like this are starting to reap rewards, and there have been recent improvements in the rates of diagnosis and new funds being developed to research the condition.

However, despite these positive steps, we know people with dementia and their carers still find it hard to get good quality care and support or to lead as active a life in the community as they could.

With this in mind, Age UK started looking at what ‘living well’ meant to people with dementia and their carers, and from there we branched out to find an array of services and approaches that could help them achieve this. Our findings are published in a new report, ‘Promising Approaches to Living Well with Dementia.’

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Under pressure – continuing healthcare

Older woman with carer

This blog post was contributed by Angela Kitching, Joint Head of External Affairs at Age UK. 

Staffing the ‘Campaigns’ inbox for Age UK is one of the more challenging tasks for our team. People email us about our campaigns, they tell us what’s wrong with the world, what’s wrong with the Government or the NHS and what we should be doing to sort it out; then we have to respond. Usually, the Monday morning run through of the inbox trying to make sure everyone gets an answer or is directed to the help or advice they need, is quite a task. This Monday was no exception.
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Guest blog: It’s in the bag

Older woman with carer

This guest blog was contributed by the New Care Homes Programme at NHS England.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – and one that’s spreading fast is the hospital red bag.

First conceived by the Sutton Homes of Care vanguard, the red bag – more formally known as the hospital transfer pathway – is having a definite impact.

Care home residents are more than three times as likely to be admitted to hospital as other over 65-year-olds. Visits can be confusing, particularly as eight out of 10 residents live with dementia.

The red bag makes transfers in and out of hospital more streamlined for hospital staff, care homes staff, first responders – and the patient. Continue reading “Guest blog: It’s in the bag”

Let’s talk about death and dying

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This blog post was contributed by Lesley Carter, Joint Head of Health Influencing at Age UK. 

“How people die remains in the memory of those who live on”, Cicely Saunders (1918-2005), founder of the modern hospice movement. 

Positive advances in health care and public health mean that most of us will die later in life. Hooray! Yet most of us have never had a conversation with someone we love about death and dying and actually most of us don’t really want to. I think it’s a generational thing. But this is not the best place to be – this approach will not help us cope with our own death, or that of a loved one, or to manage our own feelings during death and bereavement.

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Medication Management in Older People

John photographed at his home for the new 'Lets Talk Money' influencing campaign. Chadwell Heath, Dagenham.

This week we have a guest post from Dr Ian Maidment from Aston University about managing medication in later life.

Older people frequently take many different medicines prescribed both by hospital doctors and their GP. Whilst the medicines may effectively manage various chronic illnesses, many older people struggle with complex medication regimens containing many different medications.

Sylvia Bailey, an Age UK volunteer from Walsall, said: “In my experience supporting Age UK, medication management is a real issue for older people taking lots of medicines.” One carer commented to Sylvia: “My father now has to take additional medication to overcome the severe constipation caused by the latest pills he has been prescribed…it is a vicious circle that appears never to end…”  Continue reading “Medication Management in Older People”

Talking about urinary incontinence

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This week is World Continence Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of continence. The theme this year, Incontinence – no laughing matter, tackles a common response by people to laugh off incontinence. However, it’s a big issue for older people. Wouldn’t it be great if the stigma surrounding incontinence was shaken a little?

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Measuring wellbeing in later life

At the start of February, Age UK launched the Index of Wellbeing in Later Life. The Index highlights what determines wellbeing, the importance of considering an older person’s wellbeing in the round and subgroups of older people who experience high or low wellbeing. Continue reading “Measuring wellbeing in later life”