Resources and articles

Links to interesting information on ageing

[Image: G. Alvarez - Unsplash]

  • Should Personal Care Workers be required to pass same English literacy standards as Nurses?

Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world … Now in 2019, newly arrived immigrants are the ever-reliable backbone of Australia’s seemingly unreliable aged care system, and it is absolutely undeniable that the lives of many seniors currently living in residential aged care homes would be far worse without the contribution of the hardworking people who were born on foreign shores. Minimal training and the lack of registration, coupled with the thirst for employees who are actually willing to do the job, have made the personal carer role a go-to opportunity for many people who have recently arrived on Australian shores. Members of Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation are calling for personal carers to be required to pass English language testing standards, similar to those that the nurses in aged care must pass in order to be employed.

  • Senate calls on government to respond to decade of aged care reviews.

A Senate inquiry has recommended the federal government take steps to make it clear that residential aged care providers ultimately hold a duty of care to all residents and that the quality commission has a similar responsibility for regulation. The inquiry into aged care quality assessment and accreditation also called on the government to respond to key aged care reports from the past decade to improve the delivery of aged care services and regulation in a recommendation that is strongly supported by aged care peak bodies.

  • Are activities in aged care homes based on participation rather than enjoyment?

One of the most important issues that aged care providers face is allowing residents to feel like individuals while caring for them in a group setting. People are different, and so are their needs and preferences, and living a life that is geared towards what you feel like doing, as opposed to what you are being told to do, can mean all the difference to the wellbeing of an aged care resident.

Re Lifestyle activities: “Tapping into what’s meaningful to the person is a far more humanistic approach than just doing an entertainment schedule that may or may not engage the individual.” … “The common denominator for activities can’t be that these people are old – but that’s basically the current standard in residential aged care,”Tamar Krebs, CEO, Group Homes Australia & Behavioural Specialist.

  • Five Countries that are aging the best (and five that are aging the worst)

A new study found that there’s a huge gap in how well people age. Here’s what’s going right—and wrong—in the top five and bottom five nations. The study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) was designed to find out which citizens are staying healthiest as they age. It’s an important economic and cultural question. Researchers used the Global Burden of Disease data which estimates how much each population suffers from 92 different age-related diseases and disabilities, such as memory loss and chronic pain. Researchers also determined the kinds of diseases that, on average, strike at the age of 65; then they checked how old each country’s population was when they began to experience those diseases. There are at least 15 signs your body is aging faster than you are.

  • White Paper - Regulation of Unregulated Health Care Workforce

As discussed in HelloCare, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has released a White Paper (2019) which revealed ‘the number of unregulated workers in Australia’s healthcare system is growing at exponential rates in aged care sector’. It states: ‘70% of workforce is unlicensed health care workers, while number of registered nurses has fallen from 21% in 2003 to less than 15%.’ ACN raises this has ‘potential to diminish the quality and safety of our (aged) healthcare services’.

  • Entrepreneurial Gerontology is a thing and we need it

Bridging entrepreneurialism and aging delivers limitless possibilities for new, innovative ways of supporting each other as we grow older. Entrepreneurial gerontology broadly refers to a bridging of the worlds of aging and innovation. This innovation is not just technological, although advancing technology provides us with possibilities to offer supports and services in a different way. This innovation is about allowing for creativity to develop and implement new ideas. Entrepreneurial gerontology includes the entrepreneurial community and those in the field of gerontology and aging, which includes, but is not limited to, practice, policy, research, education, business, non-profits, and government.

  • Loneliness and Social Isolation – How Can Museums Help?

The issue of loneliness has been making headlines in recent years. More and more people are feeling isolated and alone. … Prolonged loneliness can have a host of negative effects. It has even been referred to as a silent killer. This is an issue which can affect anyone, at any age, although elderly people are sometimes more at risk. There are many interesting museum projects tackling the issue of loneliness. These can take many different forms. For example, community programmes, volunteering opportunities or lifelong learning schemes.

  • I’m not a consumer, I’m a person

Commentary: The new Aged Care Standards make for sober reading. The care of our frail, vulnerable elders is a serious responsibility – and sometimes we have failed badly. The new Standards set a high bar, and rightly so. … But reading through the new Aged Care Standards I find myself stumbling over the constant use of the word ‘consumer’. It often sounds so awkward that I want to shout: ‘what’s wrong with ‘person’. …. Overall, the language of consumer pulls against the values that underpin most the organisations working in aged care. A person becomes a unit of consumption—and most dangerously, a ‘burdensome’ consumer of ‘finite resources’.

  • Ageing without children: why is no one talking about it?

The Guardian reports: ‘Without family carers, the health and social care system would collapse yet no one is addressing the growing number of older people without family to care for them. ...  (Although) people are continuing to assume that people will have families to support them, when (within 20 years) it’s likely that 20-25% of them will not.’

  • State of the (Older) Nation - Council of The Ageing

A Council of the Ageing (COTA) study (2018) surveyed 2562 Australians born prior to 1968 which provided insights into Baby Boomer economic and health status. However, it did not identify their housing/preferences for older age care. The report noted 49% of 50 plus age group surveyed had one or more health vulnerabilities and 26% felt insecure about long term finances.

  • Centre for Better Ageing Reports, 2018 & 2019

Three major reports have been released by UK’s Centre for Better Ageing in the last six months:

  • Homes that help – a personal and professional perspective on home adaptations;
  • State of Ageing in 2019.
  • Rightsizing: Reframing the housing offer for older people.

  • The State of Ageing Newsletter |Research and policy interests

Links to articles from the April 2019 Newsletter from UK’s Centre for Better Ageing include:

  • Capturing the diversity of working age life-courses
  • Health and welfare profile of Australian baby boomers who live in rented accommodation
  • (Un)affordable housing and the residential separation of age groups
  • Television viewing and cognitive decline in older age
  • Using Music Technology Creatively to Enrich Later-Life

  • ‘Arts on Prescription’ Project

An Australian Government funded trial of a participatory arts program conducted by HammondCare’s Positive Ageing Group. The model is based on a growing body of evidence in the UK indicating that significant positive health and wellbeing outcomes are possible through the use of participatory arts. The Project was conducted in partnership with University of NSW and South Western Sydney Primary Health Network.

  • Social relationship adversities throughout the lifecourse and risk of loneliness in later life.

Understanding how social experiences throughout life shape later loneliness levels may help to identify how to alleviate loneliness at later life stages. This study investigates the association between social relationship adversities throughout the lifecourse and loneliness in later life. The study used prospective data from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (N = 2,453).

  • Self-harm in older adults: systematic review

new studyled by Keele University published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that older people who self-harm may do so because of social factors including isolation, loneliness, poor housing and financial hardship. The research found several characteristics were key factors, including mental health conditions, alcohol and substance misuse, as well as physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders. Societal issues were also identified as an influencing factor including poor housing, environment, financial hardship, low standard of education, and social isolation.

  • Fifty-Five years of research into Older People’s civic participation: Recent trends, future directions.

This study analyzes critically existing knowledge concerning older people’s civic participation, pinpoints gaps in the literature, and proposes new directions for research. The scoping review identifies 4 critical gaps in the literature that should be at the forefront of future research. These are classified as conceptual, contextual, processual, and diverse aspects of research into older people’s civic participation.

  • Algorithms in Medicine: Identifying Cats versus Cancer

Care Re-Design Talk (11.19 minutes). “All around us, it seems like algorithms are doing amazing things. They’re doing human things, and in fact, they’re doing a lot of human things better than humans,” says Ziad Obermeyer, Acting Assoc Professor, Health Policy & Management, UC Berkeley.

Algorithms are, for example, predicting the weather, predicting traffic, and driving cars. “And if algorithms can get a driver’s license, it’s not so far-fetched to believe that, one day, they’ll be able to get a medical license, too,” Obermeyer observes. They could predict who will have a heart attack or which patients will generate massive costs, for example, at levels of performance far exceeding human capability.

  • Narratives of old age and gender conference

12 & 13 September 2019, The British Academy, London.

Taking a broad historical perspective from the early modern period to the present, this conference puts past and present into dialogue on the narratives of old age and gender. By addressing representations of both ageing masculinity and femininity, we ask how gendered cultural narratives can be crucial for gerontological debates and how studies of gender are enriched by attending to old age. This conference will bring together scholars from multiple disciplines, creative practitioners, and experts on ageing from third sector organisations to consider narratives of old age and gender, their limitations and the potential for alternatives.

[Source: Kathryn Bramwell, Student, Master of Ageing, The University of Melbourne]