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Care costs, chores and high-tech stuff

In her latest News Space blog, Age Space’s Annabel James looks at news and views about elderly care and carers….

Fewer than one in four homeowners are saving for their future care needs. That’s despite more than half fearing they could lose their homes to pay for care in later life, research from Independent Age has found.

In recent years, the government has proposed introducing a cap to prevent people from having to pay such “catastrophic” amounts. Instead, in its report, the charity has called on the government to introduce free personal care for everyone.

We watch with interest… But in the short term, if care costs for mum and dad are a worry we have a section on all about the money stuff, to lead you through the financial maze.


Getting on? Get online

It’s wrong,  but it’s getting more and more tricky for people who aren’t online to access things like benefits, the tax system or even good deals on the electricity bill. Ageing Better has worked with Good Things Foundation to develop a guide to helping people in later life use the internet.

If you want to show older people how to use the internet for the first time, or help someone to improve their skills, this free guide is for you.

You don’t need to be a computer expert to be able to provide good help. If you feel confident using the internet by yourself, you know enough.

The green man says: Run!

Traffic light crossings should be redesigned to give elderly pedestrians more time to cross the road, campaigners say.

It follows concerns about new traffic lights that give walkers less than 10 seconds to cross the road – raising fears they are being forced to ‘sprint’.

Age UK has called for traffic lights to be remodelled to improve road crossings for elderly and disabled pedestrians, and those with pushchairs and young children. Read more here

New tech at home (and away) for people with dementia

Sensors small enough to fit in the ear, robotic devices and sleep monitors could all become standard technology in the homes of people with dementia.

The idea is to keep people safe and independent in their own homes, rather than needing to go to hospital. Scientists, engineers and doctors are working to develop the technology at Imperial College London.

They say much of it is affordable and “could be usable in five years”.

The aim is for sensors around the home to pick up changes in patients’ behaviour which could put them at risk of being admitted to hospital, such as a change in walking pattern that could lead to a fall, or an increase in body temperature which could suggest an infection. Read more from BBC News

In similar vein, Bournemouth University research is helping people avoid getting lost when they move into a care home.

Professor Jan Wiener from the Psychology Department at Bournemouth University has been studying the neuroscience behind navigation for almost 20 years.

He is now using his knowledge to produce guidelines to help care home managers design layouts that stop residents get lost and disorientated. The guidelines have already been adopted by several care homes up and down the country. Wiener has also piloted a care home manager training scheme, which he has so far delivered to 40 managers of Dorset care homes to help them implement the guidelines.

And finally…

Just to cheer us up: doing household chores might help to keep the brain young, researchers say, adding to a growing body of evidence that, when it comes to exercise, every little helps.

Light activity or very short bouts of exercise are beneficial to health – even if it is just a minute or two at a time. So kick off the running shoes; think of Freddie Mercury wielding the hoover, and break free from the gym!

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