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Homes that help dementia and why friends are… priceless

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

News from the home front…

A house in the UK designed especially to help people with dementia is inspiring families, care home owners and council workers to make changes to their own homes.

Lighter carpets and carefully chosen paint colours. They are just some of the tweaks that you can make which can keep people with dementia living independently for longer. That saves both families and local authorities money in care fees. Watch the BBC News video here

…and in Sweden

As Sweden’s population ages, the country faces a challenge: how can it maintain support for its citizens without breaking the bank?

Furniture giant Ikea has one idea. The company is launching a new style of home for  dementia patients through a joint venture with Swedish construction company Skanska.

The company thinks with some tweaks to its homes it can help people who struggle with memory loss to live at home. It’s built the first customised homes just outside Stockholm. And the Queen of Sweden — whose mother suffered from Alzheimer’s — has been a partner from the beginning. Read more here

Yellow bracelets lead the way in home care

A simple, but effective new innovation being developed in Northamptonshire aims to improve outcomes for frail older people and those requiring long-term care. It’s all about giving health and care professionals instant access to information about their needs.

The scheme proposes to give each of these patients their own yellow bracelets with a QR code
Authorised personnel will scan them using a specially designed app. This would give instant access to data about the patient’s domiciliary care package, their personal needs and the support they have available at home.
“When a patient is clearly vulnerable and it’s not immediately clear what support they have available at home, hospital can sometimes be the only option as a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach. But it isn’t necessarily the best place for that person,”  says Gabriella O’Keeffe, head of quality transformation for Northamptonshire CCGs.

Make friends – and love your local

Being socially active in your 50s and 60s may help lower the risk of developing dementia in later life.

Studies showed that seeing friends almost daily at age 60 was associated with a 12% lower likelihood of developing dementia in later life. That’s compared with those who saw only one or two friends every few months. The authors suggest that “practising” using the brain for memory and language during social contact can build so-called cognitive reserve.

And people who have a pub in their area are happier and better-connected to their local community, a study has found.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) surveyed over 2,000 adults. They found that more than half of regular ale drinkers who go to pubs have made at least one new friend on their visits. CAMRA is urging the government to make “substantial” reforms to help keep pubs open after the research suggested they play a big role in local communities.

Say “cheese”!

There are many great hobbies out there that you are never too late to take up your older years. From gardening and craft to baking and painting, it is important that older people have hobbies and interests. They help stave off boredom and loneliness, support brain function and improve health and happiness.

Age UK says that photography makes a great hobby for older people. From the irrefutable cognitive benefits to enhancing your social life, read on to find out the many benefits of taking up photography.

Feeling wobbly? Get a tail!

No, really. A robotic tail that claims to balance out the human body could be used instead of a stick to help prevent elderly people from falling over.

The strap-on appendage, known as Arque, is developed by researchers at Keio University in Japan. Is it the next must-have?

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