Latest news and advice for seniors December 2020
Our regular round-up of developments, reports, guidance and advice that affects the health, wealth and lifestyles of our older family and friends.
In this issue:
- Vaccinations for those who can’t make the decision themselves
- Are banknotes really a virus risk?
- The value of Vitamin D
- Does the Spending Review give social care the budget it needs?
- The Scottish Care Inspectorate tells its pandemic story
- Recap on the Christmas rules from the UK government
- Winter grant scheme for vulnerable families
- Addressing the challenge of mental wellness
- Carbs and coronavirus
- Good reads from other sites
Vaccination and dementia
While many of us are keen for our older relatives to receive the Coronavirus vaccine as soon as it’s safe and available, it’s a more complex issue for those who can’t make the decision for themselves. The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful discussion about the issues around vaccine consent for those living with dementia.
The risk of handling cash
While retailers have been advised to minimise cash payments during the Coronavirus pandemic, research by the Bank of England has concluded that the virus doesn’t actually live for long on banknotes, with the presence of droplets falling significantly within a few hours.
Why the excitement around Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is becoming the vitamin of great importance, to the extent that free supplements are being offered to the most vulnerable in England over this winter. It’s thought that it can provide support for the immune system and other health benefits. Latest addition to the list is the possibility that it could significantly lower the risk of advanced cancer.
The spending review and social care
Not surprising really, but a YouGov survey has found that 9 out of 10 adults over 65 would prefer home care to living in a care home. The UK Homecare Association was prompted to call on the Chancellor to provide more funding in his Spending Review, arguing that there is a funding gap of £14 billion for the coming financial year. In the event, local authorities were promised an extra £1bn to fund social care in England. The King’s Fund has, however, pointed out that ‘having access to’ these funds is not the same as ‘having’, and that much of the money would have to be raised by local authorities through levies.
The Care Inspectorate at work in the pandemic
The Care Inspectorate in Scotland has published two reports about its Covid-19 response. Delivering care at home and housing support services was published in September, and a report on the inspectorate’s role, purpose and learning was delivered in August.
What are the rules for Christmas?
UK government guidance in England for the Christmas period. From the horse’s mouth, this cover s meeting friends and family; visiting restaurants, shops and places of workshop; visiting relatives in care homes; weddings and funerals; travel and volunteering.
Winter grant scheme for vulnerable families
A Covid winter grant scheme has been announced for those most in need across England to offer help with the cost of food, energy and other essentials. The government is making money available to local authorities to administer the scheme to provide assistance to vulnerable households. However, this may not apply to older people in many cases, as 80% of funds are expected to be ring-fenced for households with children.
Keeping well mentally
How will government help everyone stay mentally well this winter? The UK nations have all published their plans to help support mental health over the course of the next few months. The plans document for England covers all age groups and needs, but does include a few useful links. The mental health delivery plan for Wales includes mention of carers and those living with dementia and the Scottish version also makes specific mention of older people, while the Northern Ireland plan is a little more technical but worth a look.
Meanwhile here are a few quick tips for staying mentally resilient while we wait for the vaccine and a return to ‘normal’.
And even better, here’s a sing-a-long session that’s an absolute joy. Recorded by the small charity Smiling Sessions, this is a set of high-quality Zoom-style recordings of great songs from great musicians. What’s even better is that musical choices start in the 60s and 70s (although there is one tribute to Dame Vera). Guest appearances recorded especially for the charity include Cliff Difford, the RSC Choir, KT Tunstall, Bryan McFadden and Merill Osmond.
Diabetes, carbs and coronavirus
It’s often thought that older people have more difficulty losing weight, which affects their response to Type 2 diabetes. But according to some research, older adults can lose just as effectively as younger people with hospital-based interventions. Meanwhile an article in the BMJ discusses the benefits of a low-carb diet in response to the challenge of Covic-19.
Worth a read from other sites
- Protecting your body against joint pain
- Visiting with family members who have Parkinsons
- Taking care of your teeth when it’s difficult to visit the dentist
- Take the British Heart Foundation’s quiz on how prepared you are to get through the winter in good health
- Our contribution to a discussion on caring for your parent in your home
Image Smiling Sessions with guest artists