Retirees leaving sociable workplaces may experience accelerated cognitive decline

A study published recently in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, provides new evidence that workers retiring from occupations which involve high levels of social stimulation may be at greater risk of accelerated cognitive decline in later life.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at University of Liège, in collaboration with the Universities of Bordeaux and South Florida, surveyed 1,048 individuals over the age of 65 from Bordeaux. Participants were evaluated at 2 year intervals for a period of 12 years. Psychologists’ evaluations included detailed assessments of subjects’ mental cognition, general health and information about their former occupation. Three independents raters were asked to evaluate the level of social and intellectual stimulation for each occupation. Continue reading

The Challenges of Research in the Care Home Setting

Annabelle Long is a Chartered Physiotherapist working as a Research Assistant at the University of Nottingham on a Dunhill Medical Trust funded PEACH study, which considers the role of Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment in UK care homes. She has a developing research interest in wellbeing for people with dementia in community environments. In this blog she outlines the potential challenges and solutions in doing research at the health and social care interface.

As practitioners and researchers in care of older people, it is important for us to be continually working to include more dependent groups in research. The reason for doing so is to ensure that the evidence base can reliably be applied to the patients we see in everyday practice. However involving older people with dependency in research can be challenging because cognitive and physical impairments can make standard procedures for recruitment and data collection difficult. Continue reading

Walking now prevents dementia later, study finds

A new study published in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, suggests maintaining a higher level of physical activity during middle age may be a key strategy for the prevention of dementia in older age.

Past studies have suggested that physical activity such as walking can be a protective factor against dementia but this study suggests that maintaining a higher level of physical activity before older age is more important for the prevention of dementia than physical activity only in older age. Continue reading

Education as protector against dementia, but what exactly do we mean by education?

Francisca S. Then is researcher at the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP) and the LIFE – Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases at the University of Leipzig, Germany, with a major research focus on the epidemiology of cognitive decline and dementia. She discussed her recent Age & Ageing paper ‘Education as protector against dementia, but what exactly do we mean by education?

diploma-1390785_960_720Attaining a higher level of education is considered to be important in order to keep up good cognitive functioning in old age. Higher education also seems to decrease the risk of developing dementia. This is of high relevance in so far that dementia is a terminal disease characterized by a long degenerative progression with severe impairments in daily functioning. Continue reading

Can Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment make a difference to care home residents?  

Adam Gordon is Clinical Associate Professor in Medicine of Older People at the University of Nottingham, a visiting Professor at City University London and an Honorary Consultant Geriatrician at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  He tweets @adamgordon1978.  Here he talks about a new research project considering the value of CGA in care home residents

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) works. At least, it does when performed in an inpatient setting in an acute hospital. This has been shown over numerous systematic reviews and meta-analyses to be the case.  Older people with frailty who receive CGA experience better outcomes in terms of functional status, cognition, readmissions to hospital and numbers of days spent at home.

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Bone health in older people: new Age and Ageing collection brings together leading research

aaA new collection of research published today by Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, brings together some of the leading international research on bone health in older people.

Thirteen key papers were chosen for their originality and influence, with more than 350 citations in peer reviewed journals. They cover topics including kyphosis and vertebral fracture, predictors of fracture risk, frailty, environmental factors and exercise.

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Urgent Care: The Value of Occupational Therapy

otKarin Orman is Professional Practice Manager at the College of Occupational Therapists

The College of Occupational Therapists published a report on the value of occupational therapy across urgent care at the start of Occupational Therapy Week in November. The report argues that urgent care is a term that encompasses a wide range of services and settings from primary care to care homes. Traditionally occupational therapists have been commissioned to work in secondary services but increasingly the profession is developing roles within primary care and with non-statutory providers such as housing associations offering timely, short term interventions that reduce or delay the need for more complex support and packages of care.

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Let’s talk about sex

aaTaylor-Jane Flynn is a Psychology graduate from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and is about to commence postgraduate training in Counselling Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University. Alan Gow is an Associate Professor in Psychology at Heriot-Watt, and tweets @AlanJohnGow.

Their recently published Age & Ageing study examines how sexual behaviours are associated with quality of life in older adult: Taylor-Jane tells us more.

I found my inspiration for our recent Age & Ageing study while working as a Health Care Assistant caring for older adults. In recent years, many of those who opened up to me on a personal level expressed their need and want to have intimacy and companionship in their lives. However, sex has generally been seen as a taboo subject, especially among older adults. Continue reading

Increasing participation of older people in research: an innovative study design

aaIn this blog, Andy Clegg, Senior Lecturer at Leeds University and Consultant Geriatrician at Bradford Royal Infirmary, expands on a recent Age & Ageing paper, looking at the use of the innovative cohort multiple randomised controlled trial (cmRCT) design to increase participation of older people in research studies

There are many challenges involved in recruitment of older people to research studies, particularly randomised controlled trials. Study exclusion criteria and refusal rates are a major issue and the presence of cognitive impairment and ethical decisions adds complexity. Concerns with study information and consent procedures are the most common reasons given for not participating in clinical trials. Understanding and weighing up the complex information about randomisation and control groups is not easy, particularly in the presence of sensory and cognitive impairment.

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EASY-Care and needs assessment

ccChris Craig is a Research Assistant at NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands, at the University of Nottingham. He has been working on a study called ‘Supporting Older People’s Resilience through Assessment of Needs and Outcomes’ (SOPRANO).  Here, he discusses a new Age & Ageing paper on EASY-Care on which he was corresponding author.

EASY-Care is a Comprehensive Geriatric Needs Assessment tool. It consists of 49 core questions covering physical, mental, social and environmental domains. For a tool accredited to be used as part of the Single Assessment Procedure in England, we expected to find literature documenting EASY-Care’s use in the community. However literature retrieved in our systematic search did not report implementation of the tool in practice. Our review summarises trials, reviews, commentaries and opinion pieces detailing EASY-Care’s validity, and acceptability.

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