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Playgrounds, PJs and HUGs

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

There really is nothing like a HUG

Looking like a soft toy on the outside, the HUG device has a beating heart and speaker that can play chosen music and sounds.

It’s aimed at improving the mental well-being of people with advanced dementia – who often experience anxiety and depression. The HUGs are being trialled in care homes in Wales. Read more or watch the BBC video:

Will almshouses make a comeback?

Is the solution to an ageing Britain’s housing crisis to build almshouses?

A new almshouse movement, advocated by some experts, builds on a way of living dating back to the 10th century. Almshouses provide sheltered but independent housing, often around a central courtyard, at affordable rents. 

Institutionalised care homes are increasingly rejected by many people in favour of “ageing in place”, which allows continued engagement in local communities. Read more about this here

Playgrounds for older people

Cities around the world are adopting a long-standing feature of Chinese public parks to boost exercise among pensioners.

‘Senior playgrounds’ are being introduced in cities including London, Berlin and Toronto.

London’s Hyde Park Seniors’ Playground provides six exercise machines for elderly people. Easy-to-read signage to clearly labels and provides instructions for machines dedicated to older adults. It’s designed for the physiological needs of older adults such as stretching and strength increase.

Find out more here 

Telemedicine comes to care homes

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has deployed a city-wide telemedicine service connecting care home residents to healthcare professionals via video link.

The service has been rolled out to 55 care homes in Liverpool to reduce pressures on frontline healthcare staff and local resource costs.

The platform provides care home residents with 24-hour access to a clinical care team based at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in Yorkshire. More here

Wearing PJs to work to help dementia patients

Care home staff should wear pyjamas during night shifts to help dementia patients realise that it is time for bed, experts have said.

Nearly six in 10 of the 2,600 care home owners, managers and staff polled endorsed wearing pyjamas at night. In some care homes staff have trialled wearing uniforms disguised to look like pyjamas.

And finally…

Don’t miss our latest AgeSpace podcast where Dr Alex Bailey, who is an old age psychiatrist working in Westminster, explains depression and delirium in old age. You can listen to this episode and all the previous ones on

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