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.
Continue reading “Under pressure – continuing healthcare”

Budget 2017

Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

This blog post was contributed by Rob Henderson, Public Affairs Manager at Age UK. 

This was a challenging budget for the Chancellor to deliver. Over five months ago, the snap general election changed the political landscape beyond recognition: a very slim majority, a difficult economic outlook and with the shadow of Brexit over everything the government had little wiggle room.

For Age UK the focus for radical policy improvement and investment needed to be on the social care system. The Prime Minister made the case for social care reform in the Conservative party’s manifesto, making a commitment to ‘act where others have failed to lead’ and the Government’s recent announcement that it will release a Green Paper on social care in summer 2018 is welcome news. However, this budget was an opportunity to plug the gap that exists in the system right now, not kick the issue into the long grass.  Continue reading “Budget 2017”

Not an ‘either/or’: Health and Care both urgently need investment in the Budget

Today Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, is reported to be making a call for more funding from the forthcoming Budget, warning that without it the quality of healthcare available to us all is sure to suffer.

His is a call that Age UK supports. The numbers speak for themselves: the NHS is experiencing a degree of sustained belt-tightening that is unprecedented in modern times – this while an ageing population is inevitably increasing the demand for services.

From an Age UK perspective we worry a lot about the impact of this stress in the system on older people, for whom the ability to get the right treatment and support quickly is hugely important – whether it is to help them sustain good health and wellbeing or because they have health and care problems that need to be addressed.  Continue reading “Not an ‘either/or’: Health and Care both urgently need investment in the Budget”

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 “Driverless cars – the Flourish project”

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”

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


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

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 “Science and Serendipity”