Guest blog: Dementia Awareness Week gets the Big Lottery Fund thinking

Castlehaven Community Centre
Castlehaven Community Centre

This guest blog was contributed by Abigail Ryan, Learning and Programmes Manager at the Big Lottery Fund. The Big Lottery Fund awards grants to UK organisations to help improve their communities. 

Ways of helping people to live well with dementia have been on our minds at the Big Lottery Fund recently, particularly in the wake of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been an emerging theme on our UK Accelerating Ideas programme, which aims to get great ideas and practice for our ageing society more widely shared and adopted across the UK. Continue reading “Guest blog: Dementia Awareness Week gets the Big Lottery Fund thinking”

Wising up to what works

We are faced with unprecedented ageing.  Those over 85 will reach 2.8 million by 2030, a doubling of present numbers.  Such numbers are enough to raise panic in the Treasury, if the prevailing scenarios of cost are to be believed.

Conversely, I have always thought that we should celebrate our increased longevity as an enormous success story for society. I have been encouraged in my belief by the increasing evidence of the contribution that older people make and the progress that is being made, albeit slowly, in reducing the years we spend in ill health.

440x210_dr_blood-pressureSpeaking recently with media I was struck by the number of presenters who, like me, concluded that ‘we’re not really ready for this, are we?’  It is one thing to age and another to age well, but the revolution in longevity is going to completely re-structure society.

We will need new solutions, new approaches and most of all new evidence on what truly works.  Simply increasing expenditure in itself is not an option because there is little evidence that much – some would say any – of what we do is cost-effective. Consider the escalating NHS budget: £43.5bn in 1988; £64bn in 1998 and a staggering £120bn (8% of GDP) in 2008 – without any corresponding reduction in demand or focus on outcomes.

Continue reading “Wising up to what works”