Guest blog: Sophie Handler – Ageing facilities: a creative practice of age-conscious interventions

Ageing Facilities is an alternative urban research initiative that uses creative design to explore other ways of experiencing the urban environment in older age. Based on an ongoing programme of playful urban interventions it sets up small moments that temporarily reconfigure and re-imagine everyday relationships to urban space and, in the process, starts to challenge the more utilitarian-functional preoccupations of conventional elderly-specific design.

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Apps for independent living

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to judge the Smart Accessibility Awards. These awards were organised by the Vodafone Foundation who partnered with AGE Platform Europe and the European Disability Forum (EDF). The international competition promised “to reward developers who have the creativity, vision and social commitment to harness the power of smartphones and the mobile internet in support of disabled and older people’s needs.”

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Guest blog: Peter Barnett – World Aids Day – ‘Getting to Zero’

World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice, improving education and working together to achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care.

2011 has seen a decline in new infections and a continued increase in the numbers of people accessing antiretroviral therapy and as a result, there has been a decline in the number of AIDS related deaths. However progress is still slow, so this year’s theme is ‘Getting to Zero’, with the global community focusing on achieving three HIV/AIDS targets: “Zero new HIV infections; Zero discrimination; Zero AIDS-related deaths”. Continue reading

Technology works (“if delivered properly”)

Telecare and telemedicine can improve health outcomes and save money, argued the Prime Minister last week.[1]

The Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme was set up by the Department of Health to attempt to, amongst other things, explore the evidence base as to the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these technologies. This week the Department of Health (DH) published the headline findings from the WSD.[2]

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Public transport attitudes across the lifecourse – and across the country

The UK’s car-dependence is well-documented. This is reflected in a survey on attitudes to public transport undertaken by the International Longevity Centre-UK with the support of over-50s insurance provider RIAS. As such, half (50 per cent) of all drivers responded that public transport would rarely or never be a realistic alternative to driving for them. Almost one in three (30 per cent) of drivers responded that public transport would sometimes be a realistic alternative. Clearly, however, once you have bought, fuelled and insured a car, even if you could theoretically use public transport occasionally, you are very unlikely in practice to leave your car sat on the driveway.

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Establishing even extra in extra care housing: Launch of new evidence at the Housing LIN Extra Care Housing Conference

December 8th saw the launch of two new publications on extra care housing at the Housing LIN Extra Care Housing Annual conference. The first of these was the eagerly anticipated findings from a large scale evaluation of the Department of Health-funded extra care housing schemes from the University of Kent (PSSRU). The study highlighted the benefits of residence in extra care, including high levels of social wellbeing, cognitive functioning, and functional ability. Furthermore, the study compared the outcomes of those in extra care housing with those in residential care, and found that those in extra care housing enjoyed better outcomes across a range of measures. Perhaps of crucial importance, from the perspective of policy-makers, were the findings related to the cost-effectiveness of extra care housing, where the costs were found to be the same or lower than for residents who entered residential care. The study concluded that “Better outcomes and similar or lower costs indicate that extra care housing appears to be a cost-effective alternative for people with the same characteristics who currently move into residential care.” [1]

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Guest Blog: Nena Foster – HIV infection at older age and the implications for providing health and social care

As we mark World AIDS Day 2011, it is important to recognise the success and progress that has been made in preventing the spread of HIV, as well as in treating and supporting those living with the condition. However, this day also provides opportunity to reflect on the work that is still needed, including raising awareness of the risk of HIV infection among those who are not traditionally targeted by HIV health promotion, such as those over the age of 50, and the challenge posed by caring and providing services for those living longer and getting older with HIV in light of impending health and social care reform.

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Living beyond 100

In the UK 25% of the children born today and 20% of younger individuals aged under 20 [1] can expect to become centenarians, making living to 100 an increasingly common demographic achievement. However, while there has been some attention given to the predictors of living to 100, there exists a dearth of research on the lives of centenarians and the specific needs of individuals who reach 100. The International Longevity Centre UK, supported by Age UK, published a report today on “Living Beyond 100″ [2] which reviews the existing evidence on centenarians.

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