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Cold relief and a clear-out

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

Baby, it’s cold outside

The UK has one of the highest increases in winter-related deaths amongst the elderly in Europe. Each winter one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold. It’s with the help of Community Foundations up and down the country that pensioners and those in need are being helped by their Surviving Winter campaign.

Community Foundations are one of the few organisations that help with responsive, crisis payments. They can be a lifesaver when people really have nowhere else to turn and are desperate for help.

Donations are used in a number of ways. That might be: providing warmth packs and blankets, boiler repairs, funding Meals on Wheels and lunch clubs, supporting homeless shelters, providing winter food parcels, helping people pay their energy bills and better insulate their homes. Find out more here.

From NetDoctor, here are seven ways to help elderly relatives and neighbours when it’s cold outside. Our friends at Leaders estate agents in Sussex have come up with some great tips on how to winterproof a home here.

Major Tom meets grandpa

Elderly Americans living alone and astronauts heading to Mars may not seem to have much in common. But different corners of the US government are working together to solve a challenge both groups face: loneliness.

NASA is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services and its National Institutes of Health to find ways to help both groups. A lot of the things that affect humans on Earth slowly affect astronauts much more rapidly. That’s a real problem for NASA. But it’s a real opportunity to study these disorders on a time scale that would take years and years on Earth.

But conducting such experiments and testing new pharmaceuticals in space, where astronauts, like their elderly Earthly counterparts, suffer from physical wear and tear like osteoporosis, muscle loss and a weakening of the immune system, can speed up how quickly scientists get results. More here

Clearing out the attic

There is a growing recognition that the possessions we accumulate over time can be a major obstacle when it comes to downsizing. Allowing access for key repairs, adaptations and improvements can make older relatives’ homes safe and comfortable.

The Attic Project is an innovative partnership project in Wales between Care & Repair and VCS Cymru. The project supports older people to organise their personal possessions so that they can live as independently as possible.

Through specialist caseworkers and volunteers, the project supports older people to sort through or dispose of their possessions. That’s in a way that is good for them and good for the environment. Through making space, key adaptations and repairs can take place, that help people to keep warm, reduce the risk of falls or provide better accessibility to the home.

And finally…

The Reminiscence Radio Show plays four decades of well-known music in chronological order, produced in a dementia friendly style, for these who prefer times past.

The free online programmes create a sense of security and familiarity, using the power of music as a gentle therapy within peoples’ individual timelines. The decades covered stretch from the 1930s to the 1970s. You can start listening at any point in time to fit with the audience. (And it’s quite fun to listen to, whether or not you have dementia.)

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