This blog was contributed by James Goodwin, Age UK’s Chief Scientist.
Recently, I received the sad news of the death of a dear friend and colleague who through his example, leadership and support had helped to change the course of my career. Dr Ken Collins, a notable researcher and physician of old age medicine was instrumental in evoking my interest in ageing, at a crucial time in my life. Our meeting was as fortuitous as it was timely, a truly serendipitous moment. Through it, he began my life-long dedication to ageing science but more so, he implanted the priceless notion that we must go beyond the simple necessity of high quality research – vital though that is – and seek to generate impact, to change society in its approach, in its thinking and in its behaviour, so that genuine benefits accrue to older people. Continue reading “Science and Serendipity”
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”
This blog post was contributed by Dr Marcus Green, Social and Economic Research Manager, at Age UK.
There can be a difference between how we say we are when asked “how are you doing?” and how we really are – through our research, we have found this to be true. As a charity trying to help older people lead fulfilling later lives, Age UK needs an accurate assessment of how older people are doing in order to support them towards this, which goes beyond a subjective measure of life satisfaction and happiness. Continue reading “Understanding the importance of wellbeing in later life”
This guest post was contributed by Dr Alan J. Gow, Associate Professor in Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University.
As we age, some of us will experience changes in our thinking skills. People often think of these changes in terms of decline, maybe noticing their memory getting a bit poorer or not being able to solve problems as quickly as when they were younger. While some people do experience these changes, others do not. In fact, some people retain their thinking skills well.
Researchers are therefore trying to better understand how our thinking skills change (or stay stable) as we age. In exploring the variation that exists from person to person, a really important question then arises: What factors affect the changes we might experience? Continue reading “Guest blog: What Keeps You Sharp?”
Over 10 million people in the UK currently live with pain and disability due to musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis or fractures due to osteoporosis. The NHS annual budget for these diseases is over £5 billion per annum and musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of disability in the UK and globally.
The majority of these diseases develop with age and the resulting pain, stiffness and loss of mobility can impact every aspect of a person’s life. Simple tasks can become difficult because they require dexterity of hands and wrists, and the ability to reach up or bend down. It’s not surprising that people with musculoskeletal conditions are four times more likely to develop depression.
What’s really happening in health and social care services? Over the years, in our Care in Crisis serieswe documented the devastating budget cuts that meant fewer and fewer people were getting public support for help with their day to day activities.
Trends in the NHS
But what about the NHS? Hasn’t it been protected through the last five years of cuts in public services? If so, what lay behind last year’s winter crisis? And why is Monitor, the health services financial regulator, now talking about the ‘worst financial crisis in a generation’?
These are the kinds of questions people are now asking and in our new report we try to answer them. We have updated our usual annual analysis of trends in social care and added analysis of trends in the NHS. We present the most authoritative and up to date facts and figures to understand older people’s health and care needs and the extent to which these are being met by our health and care systems. Continue reading “Launch of Age UK report on Health and care of older people in England”