Age UK report: The impact of COVID-19 to date on older people’s mental and physical health

Age UK | October 2020 | The impact of COVID-19 to date on older people’s
mental and physical health

Carers, families, and friends of people living with dementia have told Age UK that they have seen rapid deterioration in their loved one’s cognitive function, which has affected memory, sleep, mood, and behaviour. They explained how hard it has been to help someone with dementia to understand why they cannot do the things they enjoy or see the people they love

Full details are available in Age UK’s report The impact of COVID-19 to date on older people’s mental and physical health

See also:

Age UK Age UK research lays bare the drastic impact of the pandemic on our older population’s health and morale

Watching classic football matches is beneficial to people with dementia, says NHS England Clinical Director

NHS England | July 2018 | Watching England at the world cup ‘good for your nerves’ claims NHS doctor

Senior NHS doctor NHS England Clinical Director for Dementia, Alistair Burns, has recently highlighted the benefits of watching football to our well-being. He said: “although fans may not feel it this week, football can be good for your nerves.  The beautiful game really can help your mind and body.” 

The NHS director emphasises that this is particularly true for older people as there are clear benefits from watching classic football matches like England’s 1966 world cup final victory, including keeping the brain active and stimulating memories.  “There is a positive link between watching classic football matches and keeping the mind active. For people in old age and dealing with dementia, rewatching matches can rekindle past memories, connect people with their past and keep the brain active.”

Several members of the nation’s golden generation of 1966 have experienced dementia, with winners Nobby Stiles and Martin Peters currently living with the condition. He is encouraging older people, particularly anyone with dementia, to watch replays of sporting events as a way of improving mental health and well-being.

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According to the Clinical Director for Dementia, the power of sport can stimulate emotion which can be revived many years after the event. Emotional memory, which is one of two main types of memory in the human brain, can be more powerful than memory for personal events, so as people in later life relive exciting or tense moments, this can stimulate memories, potentially strengthening brain activity.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Sport means a lot to many people in our society & that doesn’t have to change as we age. Whether it’s playing walking football or engaging in a more traditional activity such as bowls or swimming, there are lots of ways in which older people can continue to be ‘sporty’ – doing themselves no end of mental and physical good as a result.” (Source: NHS England)

The full,unedited news item can be read at NHS England 

Mental wellbeing and independence for older people | NICE Quality Standard

Quality standard [QS137] | NICE

nice-master-300dpi-2500px1-300x58This quality standard covers interventions to maintain and improve the mental wellbeing and independence of people aged 65 or older, and how to identify those at risk of a decline. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement. It does not cover the mental wellbeing and independence of people who live in a care home or attend one on a day-only basis.

View the quality standard here

View the pathway here

Effectiveness of a community-based program for suicide prevention among elders with early-stage dementia

Kim, J.-P. et al. Geriatric Nursing. Published online: September 2016

The purpose of this study was to develop a small-group-focused suicide prevention program for elders with early-stage dementia and to assess its effects. This was a quasi-experimental study with a control group pretest–posttest design.

A total of 62 elders diagnosed with early-stage dementia who were receiving care services at nine daycare centers in J City Korea participated in this study. The experimental group participated in the suicide prevention program twice a week for 5 weeks with a pretest and two posttests.

The developed suicide prevention program had a significant effect on the perceived health status, social support, depression, and suicidal ideation of elders with early-stage dementia. Nurses should integrate risk factors such as depression and protective factors such as health status and social support into a suicide prevention program. This community-based program in geriatric nursing practice can be effective in preventing suicide among elders with early-stage dementia.

Read the abstract here

Risk of dementia and death in community-dwelling older men with bipolar disorder

Almeida, O.P. et al. The British Journal of Psychiatry .Aug 2016. 209 (2). pp. 121-126;

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Image source: Susan Lockhart – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Background: Bipolar disorder has been associated with cognitive decline, but confirmatory evidence from a community-derived sample of older people is lacking.

Aims: To investigate the 13-year risk of dementia and death in older adults with bipolar disorder.

Method: Cohort study of 37 768 men aged 65–85 years. Dementia (primary) and death (secondary), as recorded by electronic record linkage, were the outcomes of interest.

Results: Bipolar disorder was associated with increased adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of dementia (HR = 2.30, 95% CI 1.80–2.94). The risk of dementia was greatest among those with <5 years of history of bipolar disorder or who had had illness onset after 70 years of age. Bipolar disorder was also associated with increased mortality (HR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.28–1.77). Competing risk regression showed that bipolar disorder was associated with increased hazard of death by suicide, accidents, pneumonia or influenza, and diseases of the liver and digestive system.

Conclusions: Bipolar disorder in later life is associated with increased risk of dementia and premature death.

Read the abstract here