Annabel James checks out the latest news and views…
Lonely this Christmas?
Every year, almost a million older people feel lonelier at Christmas. That’s why Abbeyfield homes are opening their doors to welcome in as many older people in the community as we can who may have otherwise been alone over the festive period.
Offering the chance to meet new friends, eat good food and take part in festive activities, Companionship at Christmas aims to make sure everybody has someone to spend Christmas with.
If anyone you know, is worried about being alone over the Christmas period, get in touch with Abbeyfield and join in with the free festive fun at the events that are happening right through to January.
Good news: Help is on hand
Care UK is launching an electronic wrist watch for older people, which will alert NHS 111 services if the user falls ill or has an accident at home.
The watch, expected to launch during 2019, will have an ‘SOS’ button and will be able to transmit heart rate and movement data of a person, informing 111 via Microsoft cloud algorithms if a wearer exhibits unusual behaviour.
Once the call centre has been alerted, Care UK, which provides 111 services across England to around four million people, can then contact the individual to see if they are okay. Read more here
Work that body!
It may not be how anyone intended to spend older age, but there it is; a study by researchers at the University of Dublin has shown so conclusively how much older people benefit from resistance training – working their muscles, even drinking protein shakes – that they have concluded GPs should prescribe it.
Twenty to 25 minutes of activity, four days a week at home, with an emphasis on a high-protein diet, is ideal. You can find out more in The Guardian’s report.
Or if something gentler is more the thing, then researchers in York and Newcastle are investigating the benefits of a specially-adapted yoga programme for older people with long-term health conditions. The results of their study will be handed to healthcare commissioners deciding whether to make yoga available on the NHS.
Frailty is not inevitable in old age, scientists believe after, finding that people with a healthy heart do not succumb to weakness in later life.
New research has shown that older people with very low risk of heart disease also have very little frailty, raising the possibility it is preventable.
Here’s what The Telegraph has to say.
Not sugaring the pill
Thousands of people with type 2 diabetes in England are to be prescribed a very low-calorie diet in the hope of reversing their condition. Under the pilot they will be restricted to 800 calories a day, in the form of soups and shakes, for three months.
When the diet was trialled last year, almost half of those involved managed to put their diabetes into remission. Here’s a BBC report
Last but not least…
If, as a carer of an older relative, the “C” word is starting to make you feel a bit stressed, then a) you are not alone and b) take a look at Age Space Sussex’s tips for the Taking Care of Care campaign on actually enjoying Christmas!