The struggle for age-proof medical care in the Netherlands

Wilco Achterberg (1963) is an elderly care physician and a Professor of institutional care and elderly care medicine in Leiden, the Netherlands. His research focus is on the most vulnerable elderly, most of whom live in nursing homes, and is centered around two themes: pain in dementia and geriatric rehabilitation. He tweets @wilcoachterberg

The Netherlands have been very fortunate to have had a very good insurance system for long term care, which provided good funding for nursing home care. That is why in a typical Dutch Nursing home you can find, next to nurses, therapists like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians and even physicians. In 1989, a 2 year post graduate medical training program started, and ‘nursing home physician’ became an officially recognised medical specialism.  The biggest challenge for Ageing Holland is not how to provide good care for older persons, but how to pay for that care. Therefore, for several years now government is trying to find other ways of caring for vulnerable and care dependent persons. 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

Geriatric Medicine in the land of mountains and fjords

Marit Apeland Alfsvåg is leader of the Geriatric Department at Stavanger University Hospital and Prof Annette Hylen Ranhoff is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Diakonhjemmet hospital in Oslo and the University of Bergen.shutterstock_15274933

Norway has a long coast, fjords and huge mountain areas. The population is small with only 5 million people, and 4 million live in cities.

Norway has become part of the wave of ageing. The percentage of people who are 65 years or older is about 14% and is estimated to reach 23% in 2030. The care of the older people has been declared to be a national priority. Continue reading

Ageing in Mexico: Geriatrics in the New World

José Alberto Ávila Funes is Head of the Department of Geriatrics at the National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran, Mexico City. He Tweets at @geriatriainnszportada

A demographic transition featuring an ever increasing life expectancy is occurring across the globe. In contrast to Old World countries where longevity has predominated for centuries, in Mexico it is a relatively new and ongoing phenomenon only evident since the end of the 20th century. By 2050, one third of the Mexican population will be represented by people ≥ 60 years old, with  life expectancies reaching 80 and 85 years for men and women respectively. But what do these statistics mean? Is there more to ageing than just having more old folks walking around? Continue reading