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 →
Professor Rowan H Harwood is a geriatrician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Nottingham, with particular interests in delirium, dementia and end of life care, who maintains an active portfolio of research. He tweets @RowanHarwood
Can exercise-based therapy prevent or delay disability and dependency in those in the early stages of dementia?
We have heard the drum beat of gloomy messages. We cannot continue to cope with ever greater demands for health and social care. Prevention is better than cure, but the NHS is ‘on the hook’ for failing to take prevention seriously.
There is a semblance of a response. Sustainability and Transformation Plans emphasise prevention. We know that some groups, such as people with frailty or dementia, are at risk of crises and functional decline, and on the cusp of dependency and need for services. It makes sense to identify people at risk earlier, and intervene. Continue reading →
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 →
Set dancing is an Irish cultural and social dance form. It involves dancing in a group of eight (sometimes four) people and is accompanied by the lively distinct beat of Irish dance music. Today set dancing is enjoyed by people worldwide with classes, workshops and ceilis organised all year round. Until recently the health benefits of set dancing were unknown. Recent Age and Aging publications by Shanahan et al. (2016), presented at the Irish Gerontology Society Annual Meeting 2016, have informed this question. Continue reading →
A new report published in Age & Ageing gives updated figures on the prevalence of sarcopenia (muscle dysfunction), and calls for active screening of older adults along with exercise programs to help manage the condition. The systematic review revealed new details around sarcopenia – an important health condition which is associated with an increased risk of falls and functional dependence.
The report shows that sarcopenia may affect as many as 1 in 20 adults, and up to 1 in 3 care home residents. These findings come from an international collaborative study, which uses a new international consensus definition of sarcopenia to draw together all the results from recent cutting-edge research.
The report also reveals that there are successful treatments available to manage the condition. Exercise interventions, including endurance and resistance training, appear to improve muscle strength and function, as do short term nutritional intervention trials using proteins, essential amino acids, leucine or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (although evidence from longer-term trials is sparse). Continue reading →
Kimberly Miller is a Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Fellow and Research Coordinator (FAST study) at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
The World Health Organisation recommends regular physical activity for older individuals as an important preventative measure against disease and disability. While we all recognize that regular physical activity is important, it can be difficult for many people to achieve. Against this background, there has been increasing interest in the potential for using popular, commercially available gaming systems, such as the NintendoTM Wii, as a means of exercising in the comfort and convenience ones’ own home.
The answer is a great deal as you can see in this article on ‘older people’s experiences of therapeutic exercise’ – available online in Age and Ageing. Don’t think it was just younger people (55 to 74 years) that responded; some people that completed a questionnaire were over 95 years of age which just goes to show that people of all ages were exercising and were able to give important feedback about their experiences of NHS run therapeutic exercise programmes to reduce falls. Continue reading →
Philip Hurst is National Development Manager – Health at Age UK
Anyone can trip or fall. If we are honest with ourselves, I wouldn’t mind betting that every one of us can remember an embarrassing moment where we stumbled in the street and carried on, pretending it didn’t happen and praying that no one saw. But as we age our risk of falling increases and the consequences can be devastating. We need to do all we can to reducing the risk of falling. An obvious, but curiously often overlooked, place to start is to look after our feet.
Falls Awareness Week, which this year takes place between 17th-21st June, is a wonderful way of raising awareness of the dangers of falling and what can be done to prevent it. It is not only people who are more at risk of falling who need to be more aware. All health and care professionals who come into contact with older people need to know what messages to give and how they can help . Continue reading →