Newly published in Ageing & Society: ‘Day centres for older people – a systematically conducted scoping review of literature about their benefits, purposes and how they are perceived’

Katharine OrellanaKatharine Orellana is a Research Associate in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in The Policy Institute at King’s. (479 words)

Day centres for older people have been an integral part of social care in England since the 1960s. Recently, attention has focused on providing individualised support for older people with care needs. The relevance and desirability of group services, such as day centres, are questioned. Many are closing.

Our newly published review of the literature about day centres covers what people say about them and reports the evidence on centres’ benefits and purposes. Focusing on centres that do not specialise in the care of older people with dementia and covering the period 2005-17, it highlights both what is known and the gaps in evidence about these services. Continue reading

Home care workers supporting people with dementia at end of life

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (560 words)

The latest seminar in the current Perspectives series focused on research with older people took place on Monday 9 July. Kritika Samsi from SCWRU and Tushna Vandrevala from Kingston University presented findings from their research into how home care workers support people with dementia towards the end of their life. Their study investigated the experiences of home care workers working with people with dementia who were living in their own homes, the challenges they face, how these are managed and their views of the contribution of their work. Their presentation was based on semi-structured interviews with 30 care workers and 13 managers from 10 home care agencies in London and the south east of England. It was funded by Dunhill Medical Trust. Continue reading

An alternative approach to ageing

Today, we are posting the press release from the national charity, University of the Third Age, as it publishes a report that takes a fresh look at ageing. (409 words)

The U3A (University of the Third Age) has released research today which details a sustainable and positive approach to ageing built on group learning, skill sharing and volunteering.

The report Living Life, Extending Horizons, Challenging Conventions is based on the findings of a literature review, together with the results of a member survey and a series of focus groups around the country.

Sam Mauger, Chief Executive of the Third Age Trust (which supports U3As in the UK) said, “We think it is time to move away from the current public debate on ageing which is largely predicated on a deficit and dependency approach.

“The evidence from this research demonstrates the value of mutual aid and of reciprocity to confidence, self-esteem, and wellbeing.

“The U3A model is low-cost, defined by participants, and learner-led. It is not dependent on state funding; it has a life and existence of its own.

“More importantly this report demonstrates the value of communities of interest which are not defined by age, or by past experience, but instead are defined by the experiences still to be explored”.

U3A members reported major benefits to being part of the U3A learning model in terms of confidence, combatting loneliness, feeling supported in new communities, learning new skills and, perhaps most important of all, feeling valued and enjoying life.

Kelvin Rushworth from Wooler U3A in Northumberland said, “After my wife died of a brain tumour, I began the next phase of my life. For me, adjusting to living alone in a new area had many challenges. There is no doubt that U3A provides a wonderful, welcoming learning network: kindred spirits and friends galore!”

There are currently 1,030 U3As in the country with more opening all the time. Each U3A is a charity in its own right and hosts hundreds of interest groups chosen and run by the members, for the members.

Subjects cover a wide range of areas including architecture, Biology to Yoga, Zoology and everything in between.  There are around 10,000 interest groups taking place in the UK every week.

U3A national chairman Pam Jones, who celebrated her 80th birthday this year, said, “Members often call U3A a life-saver. If their circumstances change with retirement or losing a loved one, it brought meaning and purpose to their life. U3A is a community and a wonderful organisation”.

The report is available on the U3A website.

At the 12th UK Dementia Congress

Jo Moriarty Nov 2014bJo Moriarty is Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (736 words)

The 12th UK Dementia Congress ran from the 7-9 November at Doncaster Racecourse. I was one of over 700 delegates who included people living with dementia, family carers, health and social care professionals, and researchers. Organised by the Journal of Dementia Care, in partnership with the University of Bradford and with support from the Alzheimer’s Society, there were over 150 different presentations and workshops. I spoke about the Unit’s completed study about handovers in care homes funded by the Abbeyfield Foundation and explained that we have just started a new phase which will focus on the views of residents and relatives. Continue reading

Finding unity in diversity within China’s long-term care system

csm_Maags_pic_f1915bd14eChristina Maags is a Lecturer in Chinese Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, specializing in the politics of demographic change in China. (1,278 words)

Preparing for the growing ageing population is a huge cause for celebration and yet also a key concern in many countries. Yet, in developing countries, which are experiencing a greater speed of population ageing at a time when they are lacking the financial resources and institutions to provide long-term care (LTC) services, finding policy solutions is becoming ever more urgent.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is facing these challenges while the decades of one-child policy are exacerbating these trends, as fewer and fewer younger people are left to provide care to their older relatives. Although in China, as in other East Asian countries, the cultural norm of filial piety has been strong, the stark decline in fertility translates into one younger person, mostly female, sometimes having to care for four to eight older relatives or in-laws. In 2016, 213 million, or 16.7% of the Chinese population, were over 60 years old (Cheng, 2017). Among these older people almost 150 million have long-term health conditions, and more than 40 million are living with deteriorating mental or physical health. As an editorial in The Lancet argues, China’s population ageing is ‘a ticking bomb’ (The Lancet, 2016). Continue reading

Bringing it all together – re-valuing older people by combining research, training and practice

Valerie LipmanValerie Lipman is a Postdoc Intern at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s College London.

Here’s a challenge for learning institutes in the UK: how can they deliver on-site direct services for the vulnerable groups whom they’re studying and promoting? I talked to Dr Indrani Chakravarty, the founder and Director, of the Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (CMIG) about her experience of doing just this and how she marries research with real practice. Continue reading

Older People & Human Rights

Dr Joan RapaportJoan Rapaport reports from the 9th Annual Joint Conference of Age UK London, the Social Care Workforce Research Unit and Making Research Count. (1,789 words)

The conference, held on the Guy’s Campus of King’s College London, was chaired by Jo Moriarty, Deputy Director of the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, and attracted a capacity audience. Speakers’ presentations are available on the SCWRU conference webpage.

Human Rights Act: overview of current changes: Caroline Green, PhD student, Social Care Workforce Research Unit

Whilst human rights have been around for hundreds of years both globally and in Britain, Caroline acknowledged that our understanding mostly relates to post World War II developments. The European Convention on Human Rights, drafted in 1950, contains numbered ‘Articles’ each of which protects a basic human right. The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, rules on cases brought under convention from the 47 signatories. Continue reading

Social care, the market and the prospects for a National Care Service

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (524 words)

Professor Guy Daly, Executive Dean of the Health and Life Sciences Faculty at Coventry University, Bleddyn Davies, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the Personal Social Services Research Unit and I spoke at a Research in Specialist and Elderly Care (RESEC) seminar on 10 March at the House of Lords. RESEC is a national charity whose principal aim is to promote research and teaching in social care by identifying priorities for funding and teaching and securing funds to invest in these priorities. It provides finance for agreed projects and ensures findings and outcomes are publically disseminated. Continue reading

Ageing and India

Valerie LipmanValerie Lipman is an honorary Postdoc Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, the Policy Institute at King’s. (926 words)

Just as the British TV-watching public was being captivated by the start of a three-part reality-style programme, ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’, showing eight familiar-faced senior citizens set up home in Jaipur north India, I was on my way to West Bengal in east India to take part in a gerontology conference. While the show raised some big questions about realistic retirement choices, including enjoying India’s many splendours, India is coming to terms with its own vast and growing population of older citizens. Continue reading

Dementia and ethnicity deepen housing needs

Gearing upThe increasing numbers of older people with dementia and older people from minority ethnic groups in the UK present new challenges for many housing services according to Gearing Up: Housing, Ethnicity and Dementia, a report just published by Age UK. Valerie Lipman and Jill Manthorpe from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London examined the ways in which Housing Associations in England and Scotland are preparing themselves for tenants who develop dementia, especially those who are from minority ethnic groups. Continue reading