Driverless cars – the Flourish project

0000013Driving their own car is important to older people, with nearly 70% of households where someone is over 70 have their own car. In July, the DVLA announced that for the first time, the number of driving licences held by people over 90 had surpassed 100,000. But the numbers who at that age had given up driving, perhaps because of diminishing cognitive skills or poor eyesight, and the numbers who were restricting their driving because they did not want to drive in the dark, in poor weather, on motorways or in the rush hours will have been considerable. Such avoidance behaviour, and especially in areas with poor public transport options, can constrain the social engagement and inclusion of older people, reducing their resilience and independence. There will be a knock-on effect on their sense of wellbeing, which in turn can lead to loneliness and a declining appetite for life, and perhaps on to depression. Continue reading

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

Safe to be me … at last? Looking at care, welfare and older LGBT people

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We now have laws that protect lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people, rather than persecute them. Something to celebrate. For older people in particular, who lived through criminalisation or being diagnosed as mentally ill, this once seemed unimaginable. But the fact that lots of LGBT people still feel they have to pretend to be straight – at work, at the doctor’s, sometimes even to their family – is indication enough that we need more than legislation to encourage people to feel truly safe to be themselves. Continue reading

Science and Serendipity

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