We take a look at all the news hitting the headlines this week concerning the elderly. Stories this week include the topics of sugar and dementia links, a specialist A&E ward for the elderly and driver-less cars.
Norfolk Hospital Set For Specialist A&E Ward For Elderly
The Norfolk and Norwich (N&N) University Hospital is set to have a special A&E ward for those aged 80 and over. The news reported across several newspapers, including The BBC, highlighted that 'elderly patients will be sent straight to a dedicated emergency department when they arrive at the hospital'. The plans have apparently been welcomed by the likes of Age UK.
Dr Martyn Patel, consultant for older people's medicine at the trust, said the population of older people in the county was 'continuing to grow at a fast rate'.
This means we've got to do something that no-one else has done before in the UK, to ensure our older patients are able to receive the best care most appropriate to their needs in a timely manner.
The purpose of the special A&E ward is to fast track elderly, vulnerable patients. Currently, on average, 350 patients visit the A&E each day at the N&N, and 50 of those are over the age of 80.
We think the plans are an excellent idea and are very much welcomed. The elderly are a very important generation that need looking after so making sure they receive the care they need in a quick and efficient manner is vital. We've often report on the neglect of the elderly so news of prioritising the elderly is great. We hope that these plans will eventually take off across the country and more and more hospitals will adopt the same approach.
'Sugar Speeds Up Dementia'
One headline read: 'Eating too much sugar could speed up the progress and severity of Alzheimer’s, research claims.' - The Express
According to reports, Scientists have found a direct link between higher levels of Glucose in the brain and worsening symptoms of the condition. It's hoped that in light of this breakthrough drugs will be created in the near future to prevent, if not treat, the disease.
The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with the condition may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. Globally, there are now around 50 million people with Alzheimer’s.
Neuroscientist Dr Madhav Thambisetty said:
For some time researchers have thought about the possible links between how the brain processes glucose and Alzheimer’s. Research such as this involves new thinking about how to investigate these connections in the intensifying search for better and more effective ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The research has been welcomed by research bodies in the UK, and further investigations and studies will be based on these findings.
Self-driving cars 'will transform the lives of the elderly'
The transport secretary said this week that the lives of the elderly and disabled will be transformed when self-driving cars will be introduced in 2021.
In a speech in London, Chris Grayling promoted the benefits of this new mode of transport to the economy and to society. The government has estimated that driver-less cars could be worth £28 billion to the economy by 2035.
The cars are predicted to make our roads safer and more importantly help allow older drivers to stay safe on the roads. The renouncement has caused some controversy however with comments suggesting it allows dangerous and irresponsible drivers still on the road with the capability to override the cars. Many members of the public have commented on Twitter that it might give the excuse for people to drink over the limit and still get into one of these vehicles. The laws on this aspect are yet to be discussed, however, we'd expect them to still be under the limit to get behind any vehicle, driverless or not.