Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of hearing aid (HA) and cochlear implant (CI) use on loneliness in adults| The Laryngoscope

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Image source: Joonas Tikkanen – Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

One hundred and thirteen adults, aged ≥ 50 years, with postlingual hearing loss and receiving routine clinical care at a tertiary academic medical center, were evaluated with the University of California at Los Angeles Loneliness Scale before and 6 and 12 months after intervention with HAs or CIs. Change in score was assessed using linear mixed effect models adjusted for age; gender; education; and history of hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.

Treatment of hearing loss with CIs results in a significant reduction in loneliness symptoms. This improvement was not observed with HAs. We observed differential effects of treatment depending on the baseline loneliness score, with the greatest improvements observed in individuals with the most loneliness symptoms at baseline.

Full reference: Contrera, K.J. et al. (2017) Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids. The Laryngoscope. Vol. 127 (Issue 8) pp. 1885–1889

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Physical inactivity levels in adults aged 40 to 60 in England

Public Health England has released data on brisk walking levels and physical inactivity in people aged between 40 and 60 in England from 2015 to 2016.

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Data released by Public Health England (PHE) has shown that the amount of activity people do starts to tail off from the age of 40. PHE estimates 40% of 40- to 60-year-olds take a brisk 10-minute walk less frequently than once a month.

The analyses were carried out by PHE using data from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey, which is designed to measure participation in sport and physical activity in England.

PHE  say just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact, reducing the risk of early death by 15%. To help, the government agency is promoting a free app – Active 10 – which can monitor the amount of brisk walking an individual does and provide tips on how to incorporate more into the daily routine.

In addition, the PHE framework ‘Everybody active, every day’ has been updated. This framework aims to make active lifestyles a reality for all, with 4 areas for action which will:

  • change the social ‘norm’ to make physical activity the expectation
  • develop expertise and leadership within professionals and volunteers
  • create environments to support active lives
  • identify and up-scale successful programmes nationwide

Full document:
Everybody active, every day: an evidence-based approach to physical activity

Related: BBC News: Middle-aged told to walk faster

The Guardian: 6 million middle-aged people take no exercise

Substance misuse in older people

Action is needed to deal with growing levels of substance misuse in people aged over 50, claims BMJ editorial 

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Researchers in the UK and Australia said the number of people aged over 50 who were experiencing problems from substance misuse was growing rapidly and the numbers receiving treatment were expected to treble in the US and double in Europe by 2020.

In both the UK and Australia, dangerous levels of drinking are declining, except among people aged 50 years and older, they said. One of the authors warns that the issue goes beyond drinking, citing illicit drugs such as cannabis, and commonly prescribed medications such as opioid painkillers as also being an issue.

Full  editorial:  Rao, R. & Roche, A.  Substance misuse in older people: Baby boomers are the population at highest risk  BMJ 2017;358:j3885

Related : Baby boomers’ drink and drug misuse needs urgent action, warn experts | The Guardian

Impact of inadequate health literacy on patient satisfaction, healthcare utilization, and expenditures

Inadequate health literacy (HL) is associated with impaired healthcare choices leading to poor quality-of-care | Geriatric Nursing

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Our primary purpose was to estimate the prevalence of inadequate HL among two populations of AARP®Medicare Supplement insureds: sicker and healthier populations; to identify characteristics of inadequate HL; and to describe the impact on patient satisfaction, preventive services, healthcare utilization, and expenditures. Surveys were mailed to insureds in 10 states. Multivariate regression models were used to identify characteristics and adjust outcomes. Among respondents (N = 7334), 23% and 16% of sicker and healthier insureds, respectively, indicated inadequate HL. Characteristics of inadequate HL included male gender, older age, more comorbidities, and lower education. Inadequate HL was associated with lower patient satisfaction, lower preventive service compliance, higher healthcare utilization and expenditures. Inadequate HL is more common among older adults in poorer health, further compromising their health outcomes; thus they may benefit from expanded educational or additional care coordination interventions.

Full reference: MacLeod, S. et al. (2017) The impact of inadequate health literacy on patient satisfaction, healthcare utilization, and expenditures among older adults. Geriatric Nursing. Volume 38 (Issue 4) pp. 334–341

Unmet needs in social care among older people

Ipsos MORI and partners including AgeUK, NatCen Social Research and Independent Age has published Unmet Need For Care.

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Image source: http://www.ipsos.com

This report highlights the experiences of unmet need for care among older people living in their own homes.  The research for this report used secondary analysis of survey data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and Health Survey for England (HSE) using data from 2011 – 13.

The report is set against a background of an increasingly ageing population and cuts to budgets placing pressure on services. At the same time, the Care Act 2014 has introduced a national eligibility framework and an emphasis on prevention and on well-being

Research with Care Homes

Advancing Care provides an overview of recent NIHR research on improving the health and care of care home residents.

This report published by the National Institute for Health Research  highlights current research taking place now and explores new approaches being developed in this important area.

It reports on three themes relating to the care of older people in care homes: Living well – maintaining good health and quality of life, ageing well – managing long term conditions associated with ageing, and dying well – ensuring a good quality end of life.

It features:

  • 23 published studies
  • 21 ongoing studies
  • Quotes from care home owners, managers, staff and researchers
  • Where next for care home research?

The publication can be downloaded here

Dementia numbers set to rise to 1.2 million by 2040 in England & Wales

Experts are predicting that there will be 1.2 million people in England and Wales living with dementia by 2040 – a rise of 57% from 2016 – due to increased life expectancy.

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A study  published in The BMJ  says that although the number of newly diagnosed cases of dementia is falling, the overall prevalence will increase substantially as people live longer and deaths from other causes, such as heart disease, continue to decline.

The team of researchers  based at University College London (UCL) and the University of Liverpool, set out to predict the future burden of dementia with more certainty by developing a mathematical model that takes account of disease trends and death rates alongside the effects of increasing life expectancy.  They calculated that there were currently 767,000 people living with dementia in England and Wales and the number would increase to more than 1.2 million by 2040.

Full story at OnMedica

Full reference: Ahmadi-Abhari, S et al.  Temporal trend in dementia incidence since 2002 and projections for prevalence in England and Wales to 2040: modelling study BMJ Published 05 July 2017