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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Care of the elderly - UK

Baby boomers and adult ageing: issues for social and public policy

S. Biggs

Quality in Ageing, vol. 8, Sept. 2007, p. 32-39

The 'baby boomer' generation born after World War II is now entering its fifties and sixties. This article explores whether this group might experience growing older differently to previous generations. It may be able to buy its way out of traditional expectations relating to old age and so choose not to grow old. Alternatively, it may develop a 'mature imagination' that adapts to the changing priorities of midlife and old age. The outcomes of the decisions that baby boomers make will have a strong influence on policies and services for succeeding generations.

Critical perspectives on ageing societies

M. Bernard and T. Scharf (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

The book brings together scholars working within a critical gerontology perspective. Together, they review and update the understanding of how the field has developed over the last twenty-five years and, through the lens of 'passionate scholarship', provide a challenging assessment of the complex practical and ethical issues facing older people, and those who conduct research on ageing, in the 21st century. The contributions extend the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. They offer close and scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people and provide insights into why research is done in particular ways. Special attention is paid to feminist contributions and new approaches to working in partnership with older people; age discrimination and ageism; the impact of neo-liberal policies and the passage of various human rights instruments; the re-medicalisation of later life; the participation of older people in research; and justice between generations. Finally, the book offers suggestions for promoting change, and a set of visions and perspectives for the renewal and development of critical gerontology in the years ahead.

Dementia time bomb

D. Hayes

Community Care, Sept. 20th 2007, p. 19-20

The numbers of people with dementia in the UK are expected to rise dramatically over the next 15 years. Government has launched a new strategy to improve the range and quality of services, but the High Court has upheld a decision taken in 2005 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to withhold drug treatment from people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, although the drugs cost only 2.50 a day. This article explores alternative ways of helping dementia victims through provision of social care support in the community and the development of dementia-friendly housing designs.

The emerging role of the domiciliary pharmacist in Devon

S. Dilks

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.15, Oct. 2007, 20-25

Recommendations from the National Service Framework for Older People indicate that patients and their carers need support if they are to take medicines as prescribed. Domiciliary pharmacists can help patients and carers with managing medicines, enabling them to live independently in their own homes. This article presents a series of case studies showing how a domiciliary pharmacist working with a multidisciplinary health and social care team in Exeter has improved medication management for patients with long-term conditions.

'A good death is part of life'

M. Gould

Health Service Journal, vol.117, Oct. 4th 2007, p. 26-28

Most elderly people wish to die in their own homes, but only about 20% do so. Death in hospital or in a care home is now the norm, with hospices providing a deluxe service for the privileged few. Quality varies, with 21% of care homes and hospitals failing to meet minimum standards on dignity and privacy. A national end-of-life care strategy is due to appear in November 2007. In this article, a range of experts express their views on what it should cover.

Monitoring people with dementia: controlling or liberating?

C. Price

Quality in Ageing, vol. 8, Sept. 2007, p. 41-44

For the past two years care practitioners in local authorities and NHS mental health trusts have been using the Just Checking activity monitoring system to assess people with dementia living alone in their own homes. Small, wireless movement sensors placed in the key rooms of the house are triggered as the person goes about their daily life, and the data are represented as a line on a 24-hour chart. The charts give care professionals and family carers a much clearer picture of how a person with dementia is acting in their own homes. This information is used to devise an appropriate care package. This article presents case studies showing how the system is used.

Promoting control and interdependence for those living in care homes by establishing 'friends of care home' groups

S. Furness

Quality in Ageing, vol. 8, Sept. 2007, p. 24-31

This article promotes the setting up of a 'friends of the care home' group as an effective way to improve communication and foster better relations between staff, residents and relatives, as well as a collective approach to maintaining and improving care standards. It discusses proposed changes to the system of inspection of care homes in England and the role that friends of the care home could play in providing views about quality of care to inspection teams. It provides guidance about setting up such groups and explores some of the potential benefits to relatives and managers of care homes. Finally, it reports on current research that is taking place to evaluate the impact of two 'friends of the care home' groups.

Taking on the dementia challenge

J. Andrews

Professional Social Work, Oct. 2007, p.18-19

Concerns about poor service provision for people with dementia in the Forth Valley area of Scotland have prompted a major change programme aimed at identifying and tackling the issues by drawing on the views of a range of workers from the statutory and voluntary sectors. Over a hundred workers involved with people with dementia attended a programme launch event at which they drew up a 'wish list' of service improvements. The project has been working since to implement some of these suggestions in the fields of education, information provision, and leadership development.

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