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The state of carers and keeping cool in the heat

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

Carers UK is urging the government to urgently put in place the financial and practical support that carers need, both in the short term and over the longer term, to ensure the sustainability of the health and social care system.

The call comes as the charity reveals the results of its survey (you may even have taken part) into the State of Caring 2019. It shows that unpaid carers are: “bankrupting their future to pay for the present”.

As well as providing significant levels of care themselves, more than two thirds of carers are also using their own income or savings to cover the cost of care, equipment or products for the person they care for. As a result many are struggling financially and unable to save for their own retirement.

It’s pretty devastating stuff and exactly why we offer carers lots of advice and information on our website and on our friendly forum.

Phew, what a scorcher!

Enjoying this spell of summer? For elderly and vulnerable very high temperatures really can cause problems.

Efforts to support older people during extreme heat should focus on those who lack independence or have pre-existing health issues, according to an expert from the University of Warwick.

New research shows that having locations where older people can keep cool plays a key role in reducing their vulnerability to extreme heat. But older people may find them difficult to access or have limited ability to travel to them.

It comes as countries in Europe are experiencing a potentially record-breaking heatwave this week. Read more about this research here

An appointment with Dr Alexa

People will be able to get expert health advice using Amazon Alexa devices, under a partnership with the NHS, the government announced this week.

The voice-assisted technology is automatically searching the official NHS website when UK users ask for health-related advice.

The government in England said it could reduce demand on the NHS. Here’s the BBC News report

And here’s your (gardening) prescription!

Meanwhile, people with dementia should be offered activities such as exercise, aromatherapy, gardening and mindfulness to help them stay well and independent, according to new standards for dementia care.

The recommendation comes in updated quality standards from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Under the guidance, healthcare professionals working with people living with dementia including community psychiatric nurses, care homes nurses and dementia advisers are expected to discuss people’s life experiences and interests. That will help identify activities that can help with their condition and overall wellbeing. Art, baking, reminiscence therapy, music therapy and animal-assisted therapy are among the types of activities mentioned in the updated standards. 


Sleepy? Think pink!

In a new study, researchers found that”pink noise” – gentle sounds played during specific times during sleep – could enhance deep or slow-wave sleep.

The effect is strong in older people with mild cognitive impairment, a warning sign for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the people whose brains responded the most robustly to the sounds showed improved memory in the following day. Read more here

And finally…

Scammers take advantage of the British stiff-upper lip by targeting older people who are too embarrassed to tell anyone that they’ve been scammed.

With an estimated five million pensioners (65 and over) falling victim to a scam in the UK, Barclays has teamed up with the nation’s oldest grime artists, Pete & Bas, to release a track – Bank Account Details Please – calling for the scammers to ‘jog on’.

The South London pensioners – both in their 70s – have become unlikely rap stars after racking up millions of internet views with their no-nonsense tracks – and perform to sell-out crowds in cities across the UK. Find out more here

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