Older people are living longer than before, but are they living healthier?

Ruby Yu is a research assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), specialising in gerontology and geriatrics. She is also a research fellow at the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing. Her recent paper Trajectories of frailty among Chinese older people in Hong Kong between 2001 and 2012: An Age-period-cohort Analysis was published today in Age and Ageing journal.

There is no doubt that people from countries all over of the world are living longer, but there is little evidence to suggest that older people today are living healthier than their predecessors did at the same age. This is a major cause of concern for many governments around the world because if the added years of people today are dominated by chronic diseases and functional disabilities, there will be negative implications (e.g., extended treatment for older people which increases the health and social care cost to society). Continue reading

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment and the role it plays in improving care delivered to the older person

Dr Diarmuid O’Shea is a Consultant Geriatrician at St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin, and Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme of Older People in Ireland.  

Ms. Carmel Hoey is a Nursing & Midwifery Planning and Development Officer at the NMPD Unit, Galway, and HSE Service Planner for the National Clinical Programme of Older People in Ireland. 

Countries around the world are seeing significant growth in the numbers of people living longer and healthier lives. We all need to reflect proactively on how we can best maximise the intergenerational benefits this will undoubtedly bring and we must also address the challenges it will generate.

Ireland is no different, with a substantial growth evident in our older population. The number of people aged over 65 years increased by 14% between 2006 and 2011. An increase of 17% is predicted between 2011 and 2016, and a further 17% is expected by 2021 (Central Statistics Office, 2013). Continue reading

Is it time to redefine old age?

Vedamurthy Adhiyaman is a geriatrician working is North Wales. Here he discusses why we should redefine old age. He tweets @adhiyamanv 

Western literature arbitrarily defines old age as people above the age of 65 (Oxford textbook of geriatric medicine, Wikipedia etc). Few authors subdivide old age further as young old (65-74), old (75-84) and old-old (85+). This would make our reigning monarch ‘old-old’ and the next in line to the throne and our patron, old (not sure whether he would like to be called old…). And definitions of old age vary according to different parts of the world. For African countries, the United Nations set the age 60+ and the WHO defines 50+ as old. Dictionaries define old age as a later part of normal life without defining any numbers. Continue reading

Autumn Speakers Series: Ageing and economic growth – not all doom and gloom?

Baroness Sally Greengross is Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK and has been a crossbench (independent) member of the House of Lords since 2000. She Co-Chairs four All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Dementia, Corporate Social Responsibility, Continence Care and Ageing and Older People. She was awarded a Special Lifetime Achievement Award at the BGS 70th Anniversary Reception on 6 March 2017.  She will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Autumn Meeting in London.

What are the economic and societal effects of a global ageing society and the increasing need for a healthy older population who will be employed into their 70s? 

Firstly it is worth saying that ageing and economic growth – is not all doom and gloom? Population ageing is a global phenomenon. The rate of growth in older people (people aged over 65) is expected to far outpace the rise of the working age population (people age 15-64). The old age population will grow by more than 300% over the course of this century by comparison with the working age population which will grow by less than 50%. Continue reading

The Second BGS Cultural Revolution- and the Living Well SIG

Sir Muir Gray has worked for the National Health Service in England since 1972, occupying a variety of senior positions during that time. He is an internationally renowned authority on healthcare systems and has advised governments of several countries outside the UK including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Germany. He tweets @muirgray

The British Geriatrics Society can be proud of the culture change it has achieved by providing leadership in the last seventy years.  When the BGS was founded the prevailing beliefs of not only the public but also the medical profession, were that the problems of older people were due to the ageing process and not due to treatable disease – older people therefore needed “care” rather than accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and rehabilitation. The BGS and individual consultants should be proud of their achievements. There has been a revolution in the care of older people with disease. Continue reading

Person-centred care in a sustainable system

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President of the BGS. She is currently Clinical Lead for integration in Leeds. She tweets @EileenBurns13 This blog originally appeared as part of Independent Age’s Doing Care Differently series. You can join the debate here.

We warmly welcome Independent Age’s new project, Doing care differently. Our members are passionate advocates for person-centred care. The role of geriatricians and specialist health care professionals starts with identifying the care and treatment that best suits an older person’s individual needs and wishes, and those of their families and carers.  Delays in access to social care, and also in intermediate care, for example, occupational and physio therapy, create unnecessary barriers to person centred care, leading to poorer health outcomes, an increased likelihood of presenting at A&E, and people having to stay on acute hospital wards for longer than necessary.  For older people with frailty the negative impact when this occurs is significant, and their health deteriorates with every additional day spent on an acute hospital ward. Continue reading

Seen the doctor on the Tele? Patient centred care needs to arrive for all, and none more urgent than for our older patients

Chris Subbe is a Consultant in Acute, Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine. He is a Service Improvement Fellow with the Health Foundation. He does research on patient safety at Bangor University. He tweets @csubbe

Unsurprisingly many of us have more medical needs as we get older. While some people manage to stay remarkably fit, for others it is getting more difficult to get around town or worse across country. The hike around an overflowing car park of an inner-city hospital does surprisingly little for mobility, and most people get little value from sitting in an outpatient waiting area to wait while their medical team is struggling with the application of queuing theory to healthcare.

A few years ago, when granddad was sent a follow-up appointment for his cardiac surgery several months after the operation, I was suspicious. I rang the secretary of the colleague who had done an amazing job on his heart to ask for the reason for the review. “An important part of quality assurance: we like to make sure that everything has gone well”. I explained that granddad had been in hospital, survived prolonged rehabilitation, and had already been followed up by an excellent local geriatrician and one of our brilliant cardiologists. He felt well. I suggested cancelling the appointment. Continue reading

Time for the BGS to help in Africa?

Richard Walker is a Consultant Geriatrician at North Tyneside General Hospital, and Honorary Professor of Ageing and International Health at Newcastle University. He has a research interest in non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and is Associate International Director for SSA for the Royal College of Physicians, London. He is the Clinical Lead for the Northumbria / Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre health link and Chair of the Movement Disorders Society African Task Force. In this blog article he discusses the growing challenge of ageing in Africa.

The ageing population in Africa is exploding. In Nigeria alone, for example, there are now more than 6 million people aged over 65 years. Despite this, worryingly, services are particularly ill prepared to meet the needs of this group. Compounding this challenge is the fact that there’s a real lack of Geriatrics’ teaching in undergraduate medical curricula in SSA. Furthermore, we found that there’s very few ‘Geriatricians’ in SSA outside South Africa, with most countries having none at all. Continue reading

Arise, Geriatricians of tomorrow! – A specialty rising to meet the challenges of the modern NHS

Dr Vicky Gibson is an ST5 Geriatric medicine/ General Internal Medicine trainee in North-East England. She is secretary of the Association for Elderly Medicine Education (AEME), whose recent paper “Why Geriatric Medicine – a survey of UK specialist trainees in Geriatric medicine has recently been published in Age and Ageing. She tweets at @gibsonvmvicky

The Association for Elderly Medicine Education (AEME) was founded in 2012, by a group of trainee geriatricians with the aim of improving elderly medicine education and promoting uptake into the specialty. You can follow them at @elderlymeded

I’m still inquisitive when I hear more junior trainees spontaneously say that they want to do Geriatrics.

“Well, you know. Previously Geriatricians were in the shadow of the other -ologies – now everyone wants a piece of them when things get complicated with their older patients. They’re like the knights in shining armour.” Continue reading

The British Geriatrics Society welcomes plans for strategic approach to funding of care for older people

The British Geriatrics Society welcomes yesterday’s announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget Statement that the Government will be publishing a Green Paper this year on the future financing of social care. We have been calling for a lasting solution to the current crisis and are pleased that there is a clear recognition of the need for a sustainable and strategic approach to the funding of care for older people.
Continue reading