Selfie with a centenarian!

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty, and Vice Chair of the BGS nurses and AHP Council. She is undertaking a Doctorate in Clinical Practice at Southampton University on the uptake of exercise by older people. She was inspired by an interview with Dr Frankland on the Today Programme, and went to ask him about his own use of exercise.

‘I just think he should have told me, I’m not stupid!’ – Dr AW Frankland reflects on his introduction to Strength and Balance exercises.

Dr AW Frankland was born the year the Titanic sank, and started medical school in Oxford when Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister. He was supervised by Sir Alexander Fleming at St Marys and is described as the ‘grandfather of allergy research’. His daily hour long supervisions with Fleming never included discussing patients – ‘he was a pure scientist, who wanted to talk about science.’ Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 4 ‘Healthy ageing’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the final part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

healthy-ageing“Healthy ageing” is defined by the World report on ageing and health as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.

What does that look like in developing countries?

I have had the privilege of travelling through some of Kenya and Uganda and I asked how people view their prospects, as they grow older. Some like Nathani in rural Jinja, Uganda, a retired academic and researcher with a PhD from Strathclyde University felt that his future was tied up in his land, and his children. He had both, and at 74 was fit and well, and held in high esteem by his community. He described his children as his wealth. Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 3 ‘Palliative care’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the third part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

estherThe scourge of AIDS in the 1990s led to the introduction of palliative care as both a medical speciality in symptom management and a community initiative to support people at the end of their lives to live at home with their loved ones. Communities identified and trained community carers to offer practical support for activities of daily needs. Some palliative care facilities were developed, particularly in Uganda where AIDS was rife, and the government and NGOs were particularly proactive in both prevention measures and care, as both centres of training and excellence, as well as hospice care. Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 2 ‘The concept of Mzee and Heshima’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the second part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

estherIt is well recognised that in much of East Africa the concept of ‘Heshima’ or respect for ‘Wazee’ is still widely practised. The term “Mzee” describes an older person, often with greying hair, but has a tone of respect and deference to it. I heard the term used widely, from young white men joshing their father, to students upholding a faithful teacher, but always with a tone of love and respect. There is no direct translation into English were our language for ageing is often loaded with a derogatory tone and disliked by one group or another. Phenomenology is a challenge we are all too familiar with in Medicine for Older People! We often refer to such expression as an example of how Western cultures need to learn from those of the global South. Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 1 ‘Superstition’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the first part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

Evidence of superstition is everywhere in Nairobi. The lampposts are plastered with posters of a certain ‘Doctor’ offering help with relationships, ‘manliness’, and money issues. On payment of a significant sum- starting at about £30, and upwards, various incantations, and ‘luck’ potions are generated and taken. The internet is full of stories of how people’s situations have changed immediately after taking their potions, or using incantations, such as ‘I was immediately able to clinch the deal which had been hanging around for months’, and so on. Continue reading