News round-up

Top stories this week: via – express.co.uk, bt.com, independent.co.uk

Prime Minister announces £100 million boost for dementia research

As the news that early onset dementia could be three times more common than first thought, the Prime Minister has earmarked £100 million for dementia research in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The Alzheimer’s Society has said that some 17,000 people under 65 have early onset dementia and that it can effect even those in their 20s. Other charities have said that another 34,000 may have been misdiagnosed with menopause or depression instead of dementia.

The research could help delay dementia by five years and save the economy £21.2 billion by 2050.

Read more…

Helpful tips to boost your memory

Following the discovery of statistics showing that 40% of those with dementia kept quiet about their concerns, The Alzheimer’s Society has launched a campaign entitled ‘don’t bottle it up’ to encourage people to call the national dementia helpline for advice and assistance on 0300 222 11 22.

Although there isn’t a proven method of preventing dementia, there are ways to help minimise and delay it.

These include:

  • walking regularly during the week
  • to breath slowly and try to relax
  • learning languages
  • multi-tasking – which forces your brain to do more things at the same time
  • eating the right foods – especially those with omega-3 fatty acid such as mackerel, salmon, chicken, nuts and spinach.

Read more…

New blood test to help predict onset of Alzheimer’s

Following 10 years of research, scientists at King’s College and the University of Oxford have developed a blood test which can predict the onset of Alzheimer’s within 12 months for people who are experiencing problems with their memory.

With an 87% accuracy, the blood test, likely to cost between £100-300 has been highly acclaimed by scientists and could be ready within two years.

However, the lead researcher, Professor Simon Lovestone of University of Oxford said it was unlikely that GP’s would use the test until an actual cure for Alzheimer’s was available, saying that it is ‘grim’ and ‘horrible’ to make people wait 12 months to find out whether or not they have dementia.

Head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr James Pickett said that it would revolutionise dementia research if it was possible to detect dementia before the onset of its symptoms, but also warns that the research does not mean a blood test for dementia “is just around the corner.”

Read more…

 

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 5

For UK Older People’s Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme.  For July, the theme is ‘Full of Adventure’.

The recent reports about Bernard Jordan who left his care home and went AWOL to attend the D-Day celebrations attracted so much media attention – why?

Sonia says:

Why should we be surprised (or even slightly amused) by this story?

At 89 Bernard will have lived through and adapted to the biggest changes in history, including advances in technology and cultural revolutions.

Today’s 90 year olds have had a lifetime of adventures – serving in the armed forces, the introduction of technology that released the shackles of domestic life, women’s equality, sexual freedom, music that continues to be played and influence new musical trends, innovations that have ‘shrunk’ the world so that we can travel the globe or connect to people all over the world through skype, messaging and telephone. This is the generation that has led these changes and embraced them into their lives.

A couple of years ago my husband and I were at Hyde Park for an open air concert. The high spots for the audience, besides Paloma Faith, were Tom Jones (then 72) and Status Quo (5 members – total age then of over 300!). The lasting memory though for me was the 80+ year old lady who spent the day sitting on her zimmer frame waiting for Tom Jones to come on. As soon as he appeared she was on her feet, dancing with the rest of us for his hour of performance. Why does this image stay with me? Not just her pleasure from the event, but because the family who brought her understood how much pleasure she would get from the experience – they understood, in short, her need and wish to keep having an adventure.

In a time when many younger people are obsessed with careers, possessions and making money, I believe that the older generation acts as a reminder to us all that life is short and we should grab as many adventures as we can and live life to the full!

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

Read Sonia’s previous blog posts:

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 4

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 3

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 2

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality.

 

A year at Jewish Care

This is the film shown at our 2014 campaign dinner. It takes us through a year in the life of Jewish Care showing the people it cares for and those who support it.

Please share it with your family and friends.

“….our staff and volunteers have made our film in house, it’s a home movie if you like, with no frills, just our genuine members and residents, social workers and carers, who wanted to show you, our family of supporters, the difference you have made in the last 12 months.

“Please help us to make sure that Jewish Care never becomes just a memory of how we used to do things.” Nicola Loftus, Dinner Chair.

 

…straight to the heart of Jewish Care…a snap shot of what we do 365 days of the year.

Today there are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2021 and, because statistically members of the Jewish community live longer than others, it is an even greater issue for Jewish Care. But as our film will show it is not just those who are living with dementia that we need to be there for. It’s also their families their husbands, wives, children and friends.
While we might always have one eye on the future, the proportion of frail, older people in the Jewish community right now continues to be larger than the average across the UK, and the numbers of those we care for who live with dementia grows every day.

 

Director and Editor: Adam Bradley
Producer: Ellisa Estrin

Volunteers’ Week 2014 (1-7 June)

Justin Davis Smith, the Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at NCVO asks us to imaginerunning a ‘No Volunteers Week’?

He goes on to say ‘If the traditional approach of celebrating all that is good about volunteering has largely failed to get across the key message that it requires investment to thrive, how about coming at things from the opposite direction and pointing to all that would be lost if volunteers disappeared from our communities?’ (http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2014/05/21/no-volunteers-week/)

Sonia says :

When Jewish Care first launched its strategy for volunteering almost 4 years ago we asked people, what would Jewish Care look like without its volunteers?

The truth is there would not be a governance structure overseeing the work of the professionals, there would be much less fundraising activity with no committees either raising core funds or local committees buying the extras such as new linen, activity equipment or organising outings for those who use our services.

We would need to employ more office staff to cope with our reams of administration, and most significantly there would be a dearth of activity in our homes and community centres, the latter of which rely almost entirely on volunteers to deliver the programmes.

In addition, there would be little development of self-help groups for those who are recently bereaved or widowed or are just lonely due to a variety of circumstances.

If we were to have no volunteers but wanted to keep the level of activity and support to the organisation and the current professional team, we calculate that we would need to raise a further £9.25 million each year.

More importantly than all of this though, in my opinion, is the connection with the local community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, that volunteering brings to an organisation like ours.  Our CEO, Simon Morris, often refers to our volunteers as our critical friends, and these are the people that, along with our staff, ensure that people who use our services stay connected and feel part of a community, often one in which they were really active participants.

Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to thank volunteers for what they do. The reasons for doing this are obvious but sometimes, reminding ourselves what life would be like without them, helps us to prioritise the need to say a simple but heartfelt ‘thank you’.

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

 

 

 

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 4

For UK Older People’s Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme.  For June, the theme is ‘Having a Ball’.

‘Kirby Sutton wanted to make a change in her area, and so she set up The Tea Dances to bring together older and younger people in the community to learn more about dancing and at the same time, to learn more about each other.’

The Tea Dances

Sonia says:

As UK Older People’s Day gets ever closer with just the summer between now and then, the thought of a tea dance seems so inviting – a chance to dress up, get some exercise and have a chat over a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

The country regularly gets Strictly ‘fever’ with celebrities and dancers strutting their stuff and showing us all how complicated it really is and what hard work has to go into learning the steps and keeping the rhythm. Yet go into any day centre or care home, switch on the music or bring in the band and it is the older people who can really show us how to strut their stuff, it is like second nature to an older generation.

This summer season is also the time that we, at Jewish Care, have an influx of companies offering their time to us and we have learnt that as well as cooking or gardening, the thing that really brings people together is a tea dance. The feedback from our corporate colleagues is that they get huge enjoyment out of these occasions, learning a new skill (dancing), honing their communication skills, and putting their life into perspective when they hear the life stories of our members and residents.

June also sees the wedding season in the Jewish calendar. All too often I have seen older people at weddings complaining that the music is too loud and not to their taste. Memories of sharing an occasion with those who are no longer with us enrich our lives, and putting some thought into the music at a wedding or any family function, can only enhance those memories. Taking a leaf out of Kirby Sutton’s initiative will mean that everyone can have a real good time together – one that nobody will forget for good reason.

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

Read Sonia’s previous blog posts:

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 3

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 2

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality.

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 3

For UK Older People’s Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme.  For May, the theme is ‘Full of Bloom’.

Do you think you’re too old to make a difference? Well, take a look at the achievements of these people:

  • At age 80, actor George Burns won an Oscar for his role in the movie “The Sunshine Boys”.
  • At age 90, “Banana George” Blair went barefoot waterskiing – he became the oldest person to do so.
  • At age 121, Jeanne Louise Clement recorded a rap CD
(inspiremykids.com)

Sonia says:

It is interesting to reflect on why some people think that age is a determinant to whether or not we can learn or do something new or indeed make a contribution to society. Why do we believe that, because people are past a certain age, they should automatically become recipients of services? How many times do we hear people say to someone past a certain age – sit back and let someone else do it for you, you have earned this time?

Communities have a long and rich history of providing for those who need support in their daily lives, but if we are honest we often make the decision for the person about what we feel they need and how we feel they should spend their time. The programmes we run are, more often than not, devised by ‘professionals’ and have a therapeutic input so that people are not only engaged in activity but gain ‘therapeutic benefit’ from that activity.

When we are young, the fact that we put crayon or paint to paper and enjoy the experience is deemed enough, but when we are older we seem to have to analyse the benefit to the older person. Children are encouraged to plant and play with soil, whereas my internet search on gardening for older people extols the health benefits of gardening and says little about the pure enjoyment of doing something that gives pleasure, and if you are lucky, produce an end result you can share with others.

What really makes us blossom as people? For me it is the relationships I have with others, the happy times I share with people as well as the support we share with one another when times are not so good. It is also the pure enjoyment of listening to music, having a ‘bop’ around my living room, or enjoying a film or piece of theatre. I don’t analyse the therapeutic effect on me, I simply reflect on how it makes me feel to engage in activity I enjoy.

Livability have captured this in their Happiness Course which concentrates on how and what makes people happy. Apparently, according to the promotional literature for the course, if you are happy you could be increasing the happiness of your neighbours by 25%. The relationship between people’s happiness levels extends up to three degrees of separation – to the friend of a friend of a friend. (www.livability.org.uk/church/happiness)

If this is true, then our aim for those older people we work, live or simply interact with, should be to find what makes them or would make them happy (this is not to say we just jolly them along), find what is it that will give them pleasure and make them blossom. Once we have identified this our role should be to act as the facilitators, or provide the encouragement if needed, and simply sit back, watch them bloom.

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

Too old and ugly to be useful? Challenging negative representations of older people

Originally posted on Age UK Blog:

This guest blog was contributed by Dr Ilona Haslewood, Programme Manager, at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

As part of the latest British Academy Debates series on ageing on 26 March, five contributors, including myself, discussed representations of older people  in literature, arts, culture and the media, under the somewhat challenging title of ‘Too old and ugly to be useful?. Ultimately, it was a foregone conclusion from the start: none of us could disagree with the basic claim that current representations are still overwhelmingly negative, showing older age as a period of decline, something to be fearful of. So what’s there to learn, then? A lot, it seems, both from history and from the present.

For example, we are given to construct the past as a time when there were hardly any older people, and those who did survive to old age were well respected and loving families looked after…

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