Talking about urinary incontinence

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This week is World Continence Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of continence. The theme this year, Incontinence – no laughing matter, tackles a common response by people to laugh off incontinence. However, it’s a big issue for older people. Wouldn’t it be great if the stigma surrounding incontinence was shaken a little?

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Charles Bonnet Syndrome: a little-known condition which affects many people with failing eyesight

A guest blog from Judith Potts on a little-know condition called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, and the charity Esme’s Umbrella she set up to promote awareness of it. 

Judith Potts
Judith Potts

My Mother was an independent lady, who lived happily on her own, enjoyed her social life and – despite her failing eyesight through late diagnosed glaucoma – completed the Telegraph crossword daily.

We noticed that her confidence was beginning to wane but what none of us knew – including her GP and optometrist – was that, as her eyesight diminished, there was a chance she might begin to see things which were not there.  Her ophthalmologist could have warned us, but he chose not to do so.

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Keeping to a healthy weight in later life

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This blog was contributed by Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of the Malnutrition Task Force and Age UK 

This week is Nutrition and Hydration Week, a brilliant campaign which raises awareness and celebrates food and drink as a way of maintaining health and wellbeing.

I’m certain that no-one doubts the importance of food. It gives us the nutrients we need for energy and to stay healthy; it helps us to stay sharp mentally; it can boost our wellbeing and generally keep us happy.

But let’s not just think in practical terms – the aroma of your favourite food as it drifts into the senses, and the sensations we feel as it hits our taste buds are some of the great pleasures in life. Most importantly, food is something we should continue to look forward to.

Food is so vital to every one of us and we should all strive to eat well and sufficiently throughout our lives.

However, that isn’t always the case.

Although many of us believe that malnutrition, or undernutrition, has been confined to the history books, the reality is different. In the UK, 1 in 10 older people – around 1 million altogether – are undernourished or at risk of undernourishment.

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Tackling cancer in later life

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Doreen Shotton

On Tuesday 6 December, Age UK launched a film and kickstarted a lively discussion at the Britain Against Cancer Conference. This is a unique event which brings together NHS professionals, patients, third sector organisations, policy experts, carers, and commercial organisations to ensure that cancer stays high on the agenda for the top decision-makers in the country.

This was Age UK’s first time at the conference.  Why were we there?

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Guest blog: Continuing to care?

This guest post was contributed by Morgan Vine, Chair of the Continuing Healthcare Alliance, and Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson’s UK. 

My Nan lived with Parkinson’s and developed dementia later in her life. Luckily, we found a wonderful residential home which gave her the high quality, compassionate care that she needed.  – also known as NHS continuing care or NHS CHC – was never mentioned to us, despite Nan having incredibly high needs. Looking back, I think it probably should have been. But part of me is grateful that, as a family, we didn’t have to struggle through this complex and confusing process.

Now, as a Policy and Campaigns adviser at Parkinson’s UK, I am all too familiar with NHS CHC and how it is letting people down across England.
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Reflecting on food standards in hospitals

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In this blog post, Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK and Chair of the Hospital Food Standards Panel, reflects on hospital food. 

Going into hospital can be very worrying.

You may be in pain and nervous about what’s going to happen next, feel disorientated by being in a busy environment, or find it distressing being away from loved ones.

All this can be compounded by having no control over food, or by being served food that’s unappetising and unappealing.

However, getting hospital food and drink right is critical. After all, good nutrition and hydration are a vital part of the healing and recovery process for all patients.
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Mental health services are failing older people

Age UK’s new report on the state of mental health care for older people in England, Hidden in plain sight: the unmet mental health needs of older peoplesheds new light on the current state of NHS mental health services for those in later life.

Incomplete care 

The scale of the problem surrounding old age mental health cannot be underestimated. An estimated 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 live with a common mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, rising to a staggering 40 per cent of people living in care homes. Yet the Royal College of Psychiatrists has estimated that nearly 85 per cent of older people do not receive any help. Continue reading “Mental health services are failing older people”