Research published this week in Age & Ageing, the scientific journal of The British Geriatrics Society, reveals that over one-third (36.8%) of family carers engage in behaviours that may act as early warning signs. They may predict more seriously harmful future psychological or physical abuse of an older person in their care. Early identification and intervention with family carers involved in these types of “precursor” behaviours would help prevent more serious elder abuse in future and improve quality of care.
The study, which was funded by the Health Service Executive as part of the work of the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP) at University College Dublin, found in a national survey that over a third of family carers (35.9%) reported engaging in potentially harmful behaviour with verbal abuse being commonly reported. Continue reading →
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is now 10 years old! During the last decade it has contributed significantly to the health and wealth of the nation and is now the most comprehensive research system in the world. The Ageing Speciality Research Group is part of the Comprehensive Research Network funded by NIHR and has a remit to increase participation in research into ageing within the NHS. This means encouraging more clinical staff and older people to take part in more studies. Continue reading →
The majority of older people wish to remain independent and live in their own homes for as long as possible. Instead maintaining a cruising altitude however, the process of ageing forces many to descend towards dependency and long-term care.
It’s never too late to learn new ways for coping by yourself and to make preparations for independent living in older age. But it is a shame that too often these good intentions are superseded by doubts and avoidance. Continue reading →
Physical and cognitive functioning are important factors for maintaining functional independence and quality of life in older age. Previous studies have shown that cognitive impairment coexists with poor physical functioning and predicts changes in functional status. Cognitive ageing has implications for motor performance in older age as cognitive functions play an important role in skilled motor performance. Deterioration in the structure or function of the central nervous system has negative effects on the execution of physical tasks in old age. Executive functions are high-level cognitive functions that control and guide goal-directed motor performances. A higher level of intellectual ability in early adulthood as an antecedent of cognitive reserve is linked to better later life physical functioning. Continue reading →
Wendy Perry has been working with older adults for over 25 years, and has been specifically involved in the development, staff training and management of memory support services in both the US and the UK over the last 15 years. In the past she has worked for RSAS AgeCare as a Dementia Training Specialist and for the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester as a Dementia Practice Development Coach. After moving to Scotland in 2013, she began work for Balhousie Care Group as the Dementia Services Development Lead. Of particular interest to her are the improvement of services for people with advanced dementia, understanding and responding to stress and distress in people living with dementia, and empowering care staff to make positive changes in their work culture.@dementiacentre
All of us at times do meaningless activities. We flip through channels on the TV or play silly games on our mobile phones. Sometimes these activities serve as “breaks” from more intensive activity or time fillers when waiting for a person or an appointment. But rarely do we finish doing an activity like that and feel as though we have accomplished something, nor do we usually feel like we have contributed to the world in a positive way. Not that we should be constantly out to change the world with our actions, but let’s face it, Candy Crush rarely made anyone feel better about themselves. Continue reading →
Timo Strandberg is a Professor of Geriatrics who works at the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu.
Amid important clinical issues such as the dangers of dental amalgam fillings, the evils of chronic candida yeast syndrome, the big benefits of low-carb diets and the like, thyroxine has been on the headlines during recent years. We’ve heard especially about the lack of thyroxine, and even some distinguished colleagues seem to have thought that if you’re a bit depressed, tired, cognitively impaired, gaining weight etc. thyroxine is the drug for you. Accordingly, treatments with this hormone have clearly increased, for example in the UK 3-fold between 1998 and 2010, and treatment for marginally elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels have become more common. And lo and behold: patients often get better – at least temporarily (ever heard of the placebo effect?). Continue reading →
It is frequently said that there are just two universal certainties: death and taxes. While HMRC is responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid, information about who dies, where, and how, is gathered through death certification.
Dementia is a public health priority of increasing importance. In 2014, it was reported that dementia had overtaken cancer and cardiovascular disease as the most common cause of death for women in England. We have previously shown that the proportion of death certificates in England where dementia was mentioned as a cause of death doubled between 2001 and 2010.
But what is unclear is why dementia deaths appear to be increasing. Is it due to an increasing prevalence of dementia in our ageing society? Due to increased detection of dementia, perhaps? Or does this increase simply represent an improvement in death certification practices over time? Continue reading →
Sarah Pendlebury is Associate Professor in the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Stroke Prevention Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford and Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead for Dementia and Delirium at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Research and audit interests include cognitive impairment associated with cerebrovascular disease and the interactions between vascular disease, neurodegeneration, co-morbidity and delirium and in the use of short pragmatic cognitive tests in patients with stroke and acute illness. Here she reports on an audit of the actions undertaken by GPs in response to letters informing them of in-hospital identification of cognitive impairment in their patient, which will be presented at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Liverpool.
Dementia and delirium are prevalent in older patients with unplanned admission to hospital and are associated with death and increased dependency, but many confused patients do not have a dementia diagnosis prior to admission. Routine dementia screening for older people (>75 years) hospitalised as an emergency is mandatory in England with onward referral for specialist assessment in those identified as at-risk (dementia CQUIN). Continue reading →
Dorota Chapko is a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a double-major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and in Anthropology. In this blog she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper on the triad of impairment; she tweets at @dorotachapko
Although frailty is a central concept in clinical assessment of older people, there is no consensus definition. The concept is certainly multifactorial but physical components dominate. However, it is known that age-associated physical decline is likely to be accompanied by cognitive and emotional deficits. The ‘triad of impairment’ (triad) recognises the co-occurrence of cognitive, emotional and physical deficits in late-life and might be a useful alternative to ‘frailty’.
Identification of pathways to prolong healthy living and decrease the degree of frailty in old age will have benefits for individuals and society. Continue reading →