Climate and population change: a future we need to prepare for

An ambulance and cars stuck in floods

This blog was contributed by Olivia Small, Knowledge Management Officer at Age UK. 

Hurricane Harvey created utter devastation, loss of life, and mass flooding in Texas. Many distressing images emerged of individuals fleeing their homes, and entire neighbourhoods under water. Perhaps most shocking was the image captured of care home residents trapped in water up to their waists.  Not long after, Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and caused unprecedented destruction including the death of six people at a nursing home in Florida.  This should serve as a wakeup call to us in the UK, to ensure that the needs of our ageing population are fully reflected in our emergency planning. Continue reading “Climate and population change: a future we need to prepare for”

Let’s talk about death and dying

Let's Talk about Death and Dying! cover

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.

Continue reading “Let’s talk about death and dying”

Mind the gap: making transport more accessible for older and disabled people

A rural bus

The Department for Transport (DfT) has just released its much anticipated Accessibility Action Plan (AAP), now open to public consultation. The Plan covers bus, trains, airports, taxis and driving, as well as scooters, cycling and walking, and is partly a response to a House of Lord select committee report on the Equality Act 2010. This found many types of transport fail to meet the basic needs of disabled people despite pre-existing regulations and guidance. Continue reading “Mind the gap: making transport more accessible for older and disabled people”

What now for sheltered housing?

Photo: Ell Brown (Creative Commons)

The future funding of supported housing was one of the key issues affecting older people that was put on hold during the General Election. The Government proposes to cap housing benefit (Local Housing Allowance) for sheltered and other types of supported accommodation – which could potentially harm vulnerable older people with a loss of services and the eventual closure of some schemes. Continue reading “What now for sheltered housing?”

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”

Pension scams: not quite there yet

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From medieval conmen persuading people to hand over hard cash for worthless ‘holy relics’, to Charles Ponzi promising amazing returns on the back of earlier victims’ money,  fraudsters have always been with us and probably always will be. While this is all too true, we can make life a lot tougher for fraudsters – but we need to move rather faster than we have done to date. Continue reading “Pension scams: not quite there yet”

The Energy Revolution

The smart meter roll-out has been bumpy, and bedevilled by technical issues around its communications systems. To date, about 6m have been installed towards the goal of achieving 50m+ installations by 2020, and the Government remains adamant that that date is not negotiable.

We are de-commissioning old coal-fired and nuclear-fuelled generating plants, and replacing some of that capacity with enormous wind farms. Solar power is becoming more commonplace (nearly 1m householders now have a solar panel on their roof), and we are experimenting with tidal power and other technologies. But all our existing cables and wires are in the wrong place to transmit this electricity to our homes. Continue reading “The Energy Revolution”