Category Archives: elderly

The Campaign to End Loneliness

Are you passionate about reducing loneliness in later life?

Do you enjoy informing and educating others, meeting new people and making new contacts?

If so, why not become an Ambassador for the Campaign to End Loneliness?

They are looking for people from across the UK to help us raise awareness about loneliness and what can be done about it. All you need is to be passionate about the issue and happy to speak in public.

The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of national, regional and local organisations and people working together through community action, good practice, research and policy to create the right conditions to reduce loneliness in later life. They were launched in 2011, are led by five partner organisations and work alongside 2,000 supporters, all tackling loneliness in older age.

Find out more about becoming an ambassador here.

What The Campaign to End Loneliness want to change

The Campaign to End Loneliness aims to reduce loneliness in older age by creating the right policy and funding conditions for groups and individuals working to address the issue. They work with a wide range of organisations to seek the following change:

1. Higher quality, and more effective, services and activities

2. Better use of existing support, especially by the most lonely

3. More commissioning and/or development of services and activities targeting loneliness

What they do

Evidence-based campaigning to commissioners: Much of their time is spent campaigning: communicating with, convincing and persuading those who make choices about health and care spending to tackle and prevent loneliness. They provide a strong voice to commissioners of services and activities at a local and national level. They invite their supporter network of 2000+ organisations and people to campaign with them.

Facilitate learning on the front line: The Campaign to End Loneliness offers organisations who want to tackle loneliness a chance to learn from each other. They provide the latest research, opportunities to meet through events, and regular information to share the motivation and momentum behind this issue.

Building the research base:They gather together and offer to policy makers and practitioners the latest evidence on loneliness and isolation. They draw on research through our Research Hub which engages academics and specialists from across the world. With these academic partners, they work to make new research as relevant and practical as possible for organisations that are working directly to support older people, or making commissioning decisions.

 

The Age of No Retirement Update

Destroying Age Barriers, Shattering Myths & Stereotypes.

The Age of No Retirement in 2014 in London identified 27 ideas that needed further exploration if we are to change the narrative to a more positive view of living longer.

At the people’s history museum in Manchester in April 2015, The Age of No Retirement took a big step further and converted talk into action. The ideas from London were co-designed into 22 radical prototypes for quick and immediate action.

These prototypes were a result of the collaboration of 750+ individuals and 250+ organisations with a common vision to rethink a future where we live longer, more fulfilling lives. The prototypes cover work, community, media, language, transport, health, education, multi-generational integration, money and much more. Read them in full here. Be inspired by them. Which ones would you most like to see implemented and which ones would you like to be involved in?

19 PROTOTYPES IN PLAY

‘The Age of No Retirement’ network has been very busy behind the scenes – moving the co-designed prototypes forward. Nearly all of the prototypes (19 out of 22) now have teams of people and organisations supporting them at a local level.

More than 2200 new visitors to the website have registered more than 3500 ‘Likes’ since we uploaded the 22 prototypes only three weeks ago.

The top 5 prototypes leading the way are:

  • Value of Older Workers (312 Likes)
  • Learning to go Into Retirement (302 Likes)
  • Humans in Tandem (285 Likes)
  • Step Change (281 Likes)
  • What I Want To Do When I Grow Up (266 Likes)

They have prototype teams now working in Manchester, Hull, London, SE England and Wales. The teams include co-designers from business, technology, government, design, 3rd sector, entrepreneurs, academics, the media and citizens. Organisations currently involved include – Age Action Alliance; Age Friendly Cities; Barclays; BBC; Chapter3; CIPD; Design Council; Future Flowers; Festival of Ideas; Gransnet; High50; Manchester City Council; Manchester Metropolitan University; Silver Concierge; Give2Gain Timebank; TUC; Vivo – to name just a few.

They will be sharing all the details on their website shortly so you can feed in ideas and follow progress.

Prototypes on which they are still looking for collaboration are:

  • Multigenerational Panel (B2)
  • Age Champion (D4)
  • NHS Co-op (D6i)

In the meantime, ‘The Age of No Retirement’ is all about co-design and collaboration – so please get in touch and they can introduce you to the various prototype teams.

Watch this space for our storytelling feature which will be coming soon – where we will share the learnings from across the prototypes as well as news and inspiring stories which are helping to destroy ageism and shatter ageist myths and stereotypes.

Taonr

Contact the Elderly: A Lifeline of Friendship

Contact the Elderly organise monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people aged 75 and over, who live alone with little or no support from friends, family or statutory services. The afternoons are full of fun and laughter and make a real difference to the lives of their older guests.

Supported by a network of volunteers, the charity organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people, aged 75 and over, who live alone. Offering a regular and vital friendship link every month.

Each older person is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home for the afternoon. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.

The tea parties are a real lifeline of friendship for our older guests who have little or no contact with family or friends. They bring people of all ages together, develop fulfilling friendships and support networks, and give everyone involved something to look forward to each month.

The group activity encourages:

  • Inter-generational links
  • Friendships to develop between older group members and volunteers

 

The groups:

  • Operate at weekends, when most community services for older people are not available. Moreover, Sunday has been highlighted to us by older guests as being a particularly lonely day of the week.
  • Are kept purposely small, and they meet in the welcoming environment of someone’s home.

Increasingly, research highlights the link between loneliness and ill-health in later life, including depression, certain heart conditions and even Alzheimer’s disease.

The Story Behind Contact the Elderly

In the early 1960’s, Trevor Lyttleton MBE, met an older lady who lived near him in Marylebone. She had no electricity in her house and was entirely alone. He discovered from the Welfare Department that she was one of many hundreds in the borough in a similar position.

Together with a few friends he decided to do something about it. They visited twelve older people whose names they had been given by the Marylebone Welfare Department and invited them to come to Hampton Court on the first Sunday in March 1965.

From this small start, Trevor decided to set up further groups and in September 1965 they were granted charitable status to enable them to raise funds to advertise for volunteers.

Trevor says: “I received a Christmas card from one of the old ladies simply saying ‘at last I have something to live for!’ and I think this more than anything else made me realise how much more we could do and so we decided to set up other groups.”

This small act of kindness grew into what is today a national charity with groups in every region of England, as well as Wales and Scotland. Trevor is still involved as the charity’s Chairman, and the group he started in 1965 is still going strong.

If you would like to learn more about Contact the Elderly, including how to become a volunteer or a guest, click here.

Teaandcake

What was it I came up here for?

Many of us have those moments where you walk upstairs to get something, get to the landing and have no idea what it was you went upstairs for! We put the kettle on, get our favourite mug out ready for a nice cup of tea, only to come back into the kitchen an hour later with the tea still unmade. Someone gives us directions and within seconds we can’t remember whether it is left or right at the post box.

The causes of forgetfulness are numerous. They run from being overwhelmed with responsibility and demands to not paying close enough attention – we simply didn’t “hear” the instructions in the first place. Other times we are so distracted by everything that is going on around us that we are on overload and have too much to remember and can’t. But when should we worry that it is becoming more serious?

Forgetfulness results from changes in the brain and can be a normal part of aging or a symptom of another condition or disease. When you experience forgetfulness, you may find it harder to recall information or events, learn new things, or form new memories. As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things, they don’t remember information as well as they did, or they lose things like their glasses. These usually are signs of mild forgetfulness, not serious memory problems. Abnormal forgetfulness isn’t only about failing to remember; it’s more complex than that.

Be concerned when you see a pattern of deteriorating functioning, not just correctable incidents of forgetting. Loss of previous abilities or negative changes in long-established, characteristic behaviour and personality patterns indicates a need to seek help. Understanding normal forgetfulness can help us adjust more gracefully to the challenges of healthy aging. We need to give ourselves and our loved ones more time to recall events, names, and words as we age, because “normal” recall can take longer. Knowing that can help us plan to build in extra time for certain events or tasks.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Memory-Loss-and-Dementia

http://www.ehow.com/about_5137621_causes-forgetfulness.html#ixzz32X7tjZtD

http://psychcentral.com/lib/when-to-worry-about-forgetfulness/00013100

Mr-Forgetful

Safety at Home

We all need to be aware of the potential dangers we can face while at home, and these dangers can be increased for those with limited mobility, sight or hearing.

Ensuring that smoke detectors are installed can save lives in the event of a fire. Most Fire and Rescue departments in the UK offer free Home Fire Safety Checks and you may also be eligible to have free smoke alarms fitted. The Fire Brigade has run a campaign over the past couple of years called ‘Time to Test’. When you change your clocks twice a year, you can use this as an opportunity to test your smoke detectors. It is important to check that your smoke detectors are working on a regular basis. There are also smoke detectors with visual alerts for those with a hearing impairment.

If the home uses gas, do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Carbon monoxide (CO) can be produced by faulty heaters and you cannot see, taste or smell it. There are a range of detectors available including those with alarms that are audible and/or visual.

Trips and falls can be a danger to all, but especially older people. You can reduce the danger of trips and falls by ensuring all rugs are secured to the floor and any hazards are removed from the floor areas and nothing is left lying on the stairs. In addition, using a pick-up stick or grabber to help pick things up from the floor and putting a letterbox cage over the letterbox on the inside of the door, to prevent post from falling onto the floor can also reduce the risks.

If you are particularly worried about the safety and wellbeing of an older person, there are a range of personal alarms available where the person can activate the alarm themselves, and sensor options for others to monitor activity, or inactivity. You can find further advice from a number of sources including: Which and Age UK.

If we spend just a couple of minutes thinking about Home Safety, we will be able to keep ourselves and others happy, reassured and safe in our own homes.

House

 

Age Action Alliance: Ageing and growing old are not the same thing

Old Age creeps up on you oh so stealthily then suddenly WHAM! – it hits you like a steam train.

At first, we just notice we groan a bit as we get up (or down) from the chair – so tend to sit for longer; then we might huff and puff walking up the stairs – so we take the escalator instead; carrying the shopping is hard work – so we wheel a trolley and park as close as we can to the supermarket door. Basically, we do less and try to make life easier.

Denial is a strong human trait, none of us likes to think we are getting older or admit to any decline in our abilities or levels of activity. Yet nature deals us a cruel triple whammy as every year our muscles waste, bone density reduces and our joints become stiffer.  Sounds gloomy, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

We have all seen photographs of centenarian marathon runners or body builders in their 90s – they are exceptional – but we don’t have to give into the ‘pipe and slippers’ just because the clock is ticking. Research has produced an overwhelming amount of evidence to show just how important it is to exercise – at any age. But just the word, exercise, is enough to put us off. So the new mantra should be to just MOVE MORE!

I have listened to, worked with and taught thousands of people who thought they were “past it” or “shouldn’t” or “couldn’t” – but they are not and they should and they can! With encouragement, persistence and a little knowledge, it is amazing what can be achieved. Once you start, just 10 minutes will suffice, the desire to do a little more comes naturally. The benefits can seem minor but they make a huge difference to our quality of life and are self-perpetuating.

MOVE IT

The question I get asked most often is, “What should I do…?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but we do know that to stop the clock we should do a combination of strengthening, aerobic and flexibility exercises. These form the basis of everything else and leads to better health, balance and quality of life. This is why I have put together a library of free exercises, guides and videos. They’re all simple, fun and easy-to-follow. Just 20 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise can help you to stay stronger and more mobile. Just go to http://www.moveitorloseit.co.uk/getmoving/ for advice on how to get started.

Professor Janet Lord, expert in active ageing, explains, “…it is never too late to start. Even if you are already beginning to struggle with daily tasks, these exercises will allow you to take control and turn back the clock!”

Click here for the full article

Acts of Kindness

The festive period is a time when we are encouraged to think about those near to us who may need a little extra support, those who struggle to heat their homes, those who do not see anyone, those who struggle to feed themselves and their family. It is put on our hearts to help those less fortunate with Act of Kindness.

This got me to thinking about acts of kindness that could we could practise throughout the year. With 2015 just around the corner, people will be setting New Year’s resolutions to get fit, lose weight, eat less, spend less, give more…. can we perhaps include in these resolutions some specific acts of kindness for those in the community who are lonely and isolated? This sounds daunting, and with our lives already so busy, can we really spare the time and effort?

Yes, we can.  It can be an easy and fulfilling act if we put our minds to it. It can be as simple as donating to charity those clothes we never wear, offering to get some shopping for a neighbour when we do our own weekly shop, or picking up a little something extra for the local food bank – even easier now if you can get it delivered. What about picking up an extra newspaper when we go to the newsagent, mowing an older person’s lawn when we have the mower out anyway, taking someone’s dog for a walk or doing a jigsaw with an elderly housebound person. Let’s surprise ourselves and others with some acts of kindness in 2015.

http://www.puzzledimensions.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/puzzles-for-elderly.jpg

 

The Royal Voluntary Service: You’re invited for Christmas

Community ChristmasNo older person should spend Christmas Day alone if they don’t want to and that’s why this year The Royal Voluntary Service has joined forces with Community Christmas to help older people who’d otherwise be on their own to find a local event where they can share a celebration.

Community Christmas is a one-stop-shop for older people, their families, friends and carers to search for options to join in on Christmas Day close to home.

Do you or someone you know not have any plans for Christmas Day?

To find a warm Christmas welcome for yourself or a friend, neighbour or loved one, go to communitychristmas.org.uk or call 0844 4430662.

Just search by town or postcode for events and activities happening up and down the country for Christmas 2014 that have their doors open and welcome older people on Christmas Day. Things to do include social events at local community centres, social clubs and pubs offering a hearty Christmas Day lunch and many can even help you get there by providing transport.

Click here to see The Royal Voluntary Service Website

Do you want to share your Christmas this year?

Do you have an event, activity or able to offer support to older people on Christmas Day? Visit the Community Christmas website to register your details and help to make Christmas happier for an older person near you.

Visbuzz shares a recent blog from Age UK: Older, not colder

By on 11 24, 2014 in elderlyHealth and Wellbeing

Age UK Blog: Older, not colder

The weather may still be relatively mild, but there’s no doubt that winter is just around the corner and for many older people, this is a huge worry. Age UK’s new research has found that 1 in 3 older people are concerned about keeping their home adequately warm this coming winter, and 70 per cent of older people are concerned about the high cost of energy.

THE OLDEST HOUSES IN THE EU

Sadly, it’s the same story every year: rising energy bills, winter health problems and excess winter deaths. Every winter, 25,000 older people in England and Wales don’t survive the cold weather – that’s 206 deaths a day, or one death every seven minutes.  Why is this? Because we live in cold homes.

The UK has the oldest houses in the EU, which over half built before 1960. On average, older UK homes require at least twice the energy to stay warm compared with many much colder European countries.

So what can we do about it?

Age UK has today (November 12th 2014) launched its campaign for warm homes, which is calling on the Government to make millions of homes much more energy efficient. We believe that an ambitious energy efficiency programme to bring all our housing up to standard is the only sensible and long-term solution to fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE SOLUTION

This means upgrading 2 million low income households with an energy performance rating of D, E, F or G to Band C by 2020, and upgrading all houses to an A or B rating (like today’s newly built housing) by 2030, starting with the poorest and most energy inefficient homes.

We’re calling on the Government to drive forward a major energy efficiency programme, which should be area-based and locally driven, targeting the poorest and most energy inefficient homes first.

We also want local authorities and Health and Wellbeing Boards to take action to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home

To find out more and read our new report, Older, not colder, visit our website now.

lizzie-lindsay-2

 

Feeling under the weather campaign from the NHS

By on 11 10, 2014 in elderlyHealth and Wellbeing

Today we share a post from The NHS: Top doctors urge people not to store up health problems if “feeling under the weather”

Feeling-under-the-weather

The NHS has launched its national public awareness campaign in a bid to persuade people to seek advice early from their local pharmacist if they are ‘feeling under the weather’.

The campaign, ‘feeling under the weather’ has been launched to encourage people, particularly older people and those with existing respiratory conditions, to nip health problems in the bud by seeking early advice from their local pharmacist.

Every year the NHS sees a huge increase in numbers of emergency admissions to hospital over the colder months. Those with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis are particularly vulnerable, and for frailer and older people, even the common cold can become more serious.

Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s clinical director for acute care, said:

“As a doctor who has spent some 30 years working in A&E, I know we have to do better at helping people stay well, not just picking up the pieces when they fall seriously ill. The NHS has not spent enough time broadcasting that message in the past.”

“Every winter, doctors and nurses see a big increase in the number of older and frail people who are admitted to hospital because of respiratory or other chronic conditions usually worsened by immobility, the cold and viral illnesses.”

“People often don’t seek advice for wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste their pharmacist’s time. But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.”

Building on the success of last winter’s campaign and the evidence base for the urgent and emergency care review, ‘feeling under the weather’ aims to relieve pressure on A&E departments by promoting earlier access to health advice and self-care information from community pharmacy services or NHS Choices.

NHS winter planning started earlier than ever before this year, with hospitals, GPs, social services and other health professionals coming together to identify local pressures and respond in every area of the country.   The NHS is determined to protect the good standards of service that patients deserve, despite the very considerable pressures we anticipate over the winter months.

Dr Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHS England, said:

“Pharmacists and their teams are well trained and well placed to be able to offer advice to people seeking help. They can provide medicines advice and support for minor ailments, advise you about how to manage a long term condition and tell you if something needs more urgent medical attention from your GP, or even your local hospital.”

“You don’t need an appointment and many have consultation areas so your local pharmacy is a good place to start when you’re feeling unwell.”

“We would encourage people to seek help from their pharmacist when they first feel unwell rather than waiting until it becomes more serious.”

This year’s awareness campaign targets people aged over 60 years old, as well as the carers of older people. It encourages more use of the self-care information about minor ailments and illnesses on the website NHS Choices, as well as more use of the services and advice available in community pharmacies.

The public will see posters on bill boards, phone kiosks, shopping centres and supermarkets, including sites near pharmacies. Adverts will also be run in national newspapers, magazines and a range of websites, as well as on commercial radio stations. Posters are being sent to pharmacy services for display.

Many people are not aware that they can get advice on minor ailments from their local community pharmacy service. Expert help can be provided to people for them to manage their long-term conditions or for ailments such as a bad cough, wheezing, a cold or sore throat. Many pharmacies have longer opening hours than the average GP practice, and most have a private consultation area. If people need to see a doctor, they will be advised accordingly.

 

The British Red Cross

The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. You may be aware of the work they do abroad, but did you know that they offer a range of services across Britain?

A crisis can happen to anyone. The British Red Cross helps more than a million people in the UK every year, supporting them in emergencies, providing care in the home, and teaching life-saving first aid skills, among other services.

Independent Living:

  • Support at home
  • Mobility aids
  • Transport Services
  • Hand, arm and shoulder massage

Support in UK emergencies:

When emergencies occur, the Red Cross supports the police, ambulance and fire services, local and health authorities and utility companies. They also provide advice on preparing for emergencies, and information on Emergency response volunteering.

First Aid:

The Red Cross offers First aid training courses throughout the UK, and online, They provide teaching resources for teachers to build a generation of life-savers, and have a team of trained first aiders to provide support at public events across the UK.

Refugee Support:

The Red Cross has a long tradition of providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. As a leading humanitarian organisation, they often need to respond quickly and effectively to crises. For example, they can support large-scale arrivals or give emergency provisions to those facing severe hardship.

Teaching Resources:

Looking for imaginative teaching tools that are simple to use? You’ll find them here – free resources, ideal for citizenship and PSHE teaching, tutor time and across the curriculum. With topics ranging from severe weather and flooding to Child soldiers and War the resources cover important topics using a variety of activities.

For more information please visit: British Red Cross

BRC

Age UK: An older worker, but just as productive.

By on 06 09, 2014 in elderly

This week we share a blog post from Age UK:

If you want to raise a few eyebrows, there’s nothing like busting a stereotype.

Older workers are perceived in many (usually negative) ways, and such stereotypes are often deeply ingrained with the nation’s psyche. However it’s often unfair to apply them to the majority of people, which is why it’s important we challenge them.

This blog dissects just one: that as people age, their health gets worse and cognitive ability declines making them less productive in the workplace.

Our new briefing, which draws its conclusions based on a wide range of research evidence, explains in detail why this view in incorrect.

Out-of-date assumptions
Many studies that find older workers are less productive date from the last century, and simply assume that ageing leads to a noticeable decline in physical and mental health.

Many of these – unsurprisingly, given the assumption – find that ageing reduces productivity!

However recent improvements in the medical evidence show clearly that while peoples’ capabilities do change as they age – there may be slight declines in some areas and improvements in others – this leads to a neutral or even a positive overall effect, both of which are contrary to the stereotype.

Occupational differences?
It’s easy to recognise arguments rebutting the stereotype as being correct in service-based occupations. But perhaps more surprisingly it also holds true in many manual jobs.

Studies from German car-production lines again show that older workers can be at least as productive as their younger colleagues.

Ultimately there are very few jobs that require people to fully exert themselves physically or mentally, meaning people don’t need to perform at their peak over long periods of time.

Age is just a number
As the briefing shows, someone’s chronological age bears no relation to their ability or capability. And the vast majority of jobs can be done by people regardless of age – as long as the job-holder has the right skills and attributes, of course.

Someone’s age should not be a barrier to a fulfilling career.

The briefing also considers another question – what would happen if we had more age-friendly working practices (such as genuinely flexible working or proper reasonable adjustments)?

Surely this would help boost productivity among older workers even further.

And there may even be a few employers who would agree.

AgeUKBlog

 

The Importance of a Cuppa

The idea of Afternoon Tea seems more popular than ever. There is traditional afternoon tea, gluten free afternoon tea, savoury afternoon tea, champagne afternoon tea or if you prefer, a simple cream tea. The common thread is a nice cup of tea to complete the experience.

Tea consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. At the time it was usual for people to take only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot a tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.

The only difference now is that a cup of tea has come to be seen as a very good excuse to meet up and have a natter, put the world to rights, console and commiserate over.  Not feeling too well? I’ll just put the kettle on. Daughter gone off to university? Come round and have a cuppa – I might even have some cakes in the cupboard……

For those who feel lonely, or have mobility restrictions, organisations both locally and nationally are making sure that arrangements are in place so no one has to miss out. One of these is Contact the elderly. They organise regular Sunday afternoon tea parties for people over 75, who live with little or no social support.

That cup of tea is equally important to keep us going throughout the day. The Royal Voluntary Service highlights that the humble tea round is a tradition that is slowly becoming extinct in today’s fast-paced busy workplace. 2.5 million workers in Great Britain say they don’t have the time to put the kettle on for their colleagues. We jumped on board their campaign and got the boss to make the tea!

Tea

Visbuzz and The British Red Cross

Visbuzz has been working with The British Red Cross in Halton. Here’s what they had to say about the project:

Partnership work in Cheshire helps beneficiaries combat isolation and loneliness in Halton.

The Cheshire health and social care team are hard at work to ensure that the roll-out and implementation of Visbuzz goes as smoothly as possible.

The Visbuzz device is being used to reduce isolation and loneliness. It offers a single task mobile touch screen that enables beneficiaries to connect face-to-face to those who matter most to them.

British Red Cross support worker David Warrener along with co-ordinator Joan Carter have completed training enabling them to install the equipment and assist beneficiaries to log-on and benefit from the Visbuzz experience.

Red Cross health and social care senior service manager John Morris explains “Halton’s loneliness strategy has acknowledged that loneliness impacts on an individual’s health and quality of life. Some estimates put the health impact of loneliness as equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes each day, of greater severity than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity. The Visbuzz project will be piloted with a small number of local older people and will enable the Visbuzz users to keep in contact with family, friends and carers. The British Red Cross support at home team have been working hard with Halton Borough Council, Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and Visbuzz, to develop this interesting project.”

This photo shows David Warrener assisting beneficiary Ruth Barrow to contact her son Clive in Scotland through Visbuzz.

BRC

 

 

 

 

Useful Websites

By on 05 12, 2014 in elderlyloneliness

In March we posted some useful links to organisations working towards reducing and ending loneliness as well as working towards the rights of older people. Here are some others which you may find useful:

http://www.thesilverline.org.uk: The Silver line is a free, 24 hour, confidential helpline for older people. The helpline is open every day and night of the year to offer information, friendship and advice, link callers to local groups and services, offer regular befriending calls and protect and support callers suffering abuse and neglect.  The website gives you information on the service and ways to get involved.

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk: Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Their local services include day care and home care for people with dementia, as well as support and befriending services to help partners and families cope with the demands of caring.

http://www.helpage.org/tags/uk: HelpAge International helps older people worldwide claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.

http://www.whentheygetolder.co.uk: When They Get Older is an independent site for anyone with ageing and elderly family and friends, offering advice, guides and information.

http://www.mind.org.uk: Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

http://www.independentage.org: Independent Age is a charity that is an established voice for older people. They address three types of poverty older people can be subject to; Financial, Social and Information through advice, befriending and campaigning.

http://www.redcross.org.uk: British Red Cross are a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis. This includes providing support at home, transport, mobility aids and services for people with disabilities.

Blog Internet

 

Safety at Home

We all need to be aware of the potential dangers we can face while at home, however these dangers can be increased for these with limited mobility, sight or hearing.

Ensuring that smoke detectors are installed can save lives in the event of a fire. Most Fire and Rescue departments in the UK offer free Home Fire Safety Checks and you may also be eligible to have free smoke alarms fitted. The Fire Brigade has run a campaign over the past couple of years called ‘Time to Test’. When you change your clocks twice a year, you can use this as an opportunity to test your smoke detectors. It is important to check that your smoke detectors are working on a regular basis. There are also smoke detectors with visual alerts for those with a hearing impairment.

If the home uses gas, do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Carbon monoxide (CO) can be produced by faulty heaters and you cannot see, taste or smell it. There are a range of detectors available including those with alarms that are audible and/or visual.

Trips and falls can be a danger to all, but especially older people. You can reduce the danger of trips and falls by ensuring all rugs are secured to the floor and any hazards are removed from the floor areas and nothing is left lying on the stairs. In addition, using a pick-up stick or grabber to help pick things up from the floor and putting a letterbox cage over the letterbox on the inside of the door, to prevent post from falling onto the floor can also reduce the risks.

If you are particularly worried about the safety and wellbeing of an older person, there are a range of personal alarms available where the person can activate the alarm themselves, and sensor options for others to monitor activity, or inactivity. You can find further advice from a number of sources including: Which and Age UK.

If we spend just a couple of minutes thinking about Home Safety, we will be able to keep ourselves and others happy, reassured and safe in our own homes.

 

House

Two Senior Women Playing Dominoes At Day Care Centre

Keeping Active

Keeping active into older age is the key to staying fit, mobile, healthy and independent. Being active does not necessary mean getting down to the gym or attending your local keep fit class, although for some this is ideal. Being active can increase well-being and reduce social isolation.

Here are some ideas for keeping active:

Social Clubs – these can include lunch clubs, computer clubs and book clubs. People with a similar interest can get together and spend time on that shared interest. It could be as specific as dominoes or Scrabble, or as wide as tea and cake!

Art and Craft – learning a new skill, or continuing with a craft you already enjoy is a great way to keep active. There are art and craft groups ranging from knitting to drawing or card making. Arts and crafts are a  great way to spend time with people or just to enjoy in your own home. The joy of making things is that you can give them to others as presents and keep sakes, which boosts feelings of well-being.

Crosswords and Quizzes – these can be enjoyed as part of a group, or by yourself. It is always beneficial to keep challenging yourself intellectually, and  it’s fun to have a bit of a competition with those you know. Challenge yourself to see how many answers can you get without resorting to the dictionary or encyclopaedia!

Singing – there is nothing better than a good sing along. Music can help to motivate you, reduce stress and stimulate memories. There is also the benefit of being able to enjoy music when you are alone, making you feel less lonely. Why not put on a favourite song and have a sing along in the front room?

Some useful links in relation to keeping active:

http://www.elderlyactivities.co.uk/

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/keeping-fit/getting-moving-/

And for those who want to get physically active for the first time, the NHS offers a useful guide to getting started for older people: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Exercises-for-older-people.aspx 

Two Senior Women Playing Dominoes At Day Care Centre

 

Tackling Loneliness

In the first project of its kind in the UK, Visbuzz is working with Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and Halton Borough Council to install Visbuzz units in the homes of some of the area’s most isolated and vulnerable residents. The project also involves training volunteers from the CCG, local authority and local community groups such as The British Red Cross and Wellbeing Enterprises in how to use Visbuzz effectively in the users’ homes.

This is an amazing opportunity to influence positively the lives of isolated and lonely individuals. In previous posts I have discussed the importance of social interaction, meaningful contact and face to face communication and this project brings together all of these aspects, with a view to collecting and collating evidence to further support work in this field.

Loneliness is not simply a matter of connecting with people, it is about connecting with the people that matter.

For those of you who are new to Visbuzz, our vision is a world in which loneliness does not exist. Visbuzz connects you face to face easily and simply with those who are important to you; just by touching their picture. We have used the most up to date technology, making Visbuzz as simple to use as possible. Visbuzz allows you to connect to your loved ones through a computer tablet with one touch, reducing loneliness and increasing wellbeing.

Not only can Visbuzz help those who are isolated, vulnerable and lonely, but Visbuzz can also give their carers, family and friends, peace of mind and reduce their worry levels.

Loneliness can affect all of us at one time or another, and is not just someone else’s problem. Together, we can go further towards a world in which loneliness does not exist.

Is loneliness affecting you or someone you love? What ways have you found to combat loneliness? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.   

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Improving your Mental Health

By on 02 17, 2014 in elderlymental health

There are many negative consequences of loneliness and isolation and one of these can be deterioration in our mental health and mental processes. A lack of social interaction and activity, and not taking an interest in our diet, can mean a decline in mood and mental wellness.

Foods which negatively affect mood and can increase feelings of anxiety include sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate, while drinking water, eating vegetables, fruit and oil-rich fish can reduce stressful feelings and increase positive mood. I get it, we enjoy some of the things that aren’t good for us, but for how long? Alcohol is a depressant and the morning after we feel it, chocolate is great for the first hit, but how often do you wish you hadn’t finished the bar, layer, box? Getting more of the good stuff in your diet makes you feel good.

In addition to eating the right things, there is more and more research showing how exercise improves mental health and cognition. Exercise makes you feel better; you get a sense of achievement over getting started and proving you have the will power. And for most people exercise releases some nice helpful hormones which make you happy. It also increases blood flow to the brain, helping mental functioning. With some types of exercise you can also get to meet others and build relationships. Physical exercise has been found to ease depression, slow age-related memory loss and prevent Parkinson-like symptoms.

Anyone can do some form of exercise and feel the benefits. Actor Christopher Reeve made sure he exercised whenever he could even though he was a paraplegic. Twelve years after his fight with Chris Eubank resulting in six brain operations, boxer Michael Watson completed the London Marathon in 6 days, 2 hours, 27 minutes and 17 seconds. No one thought he would walk, write or talk again but he defied those expectations.

You don’t need to run a marathon to feel the benefits – just get moving.

Mental Health

 

 

Steve writes for myageingparent.com

Steve has written an article for www.myageingparent.com where he discusses the creation and benefits of Visbuzz. See the article below, and at http://www.myageingparent.com/keep-touch-using-technology/

Keep in touch using technology with Visbuzz.

  • Many of us worry about older relatives and ageing parents, especially if we live far from them and can’t easily pop in for a cup of tea or a quick chat. I felt just this way about my mum. I also felt guilty because I knew my mum’s loneliness was causing health problems, but I couldn’t see how things could change.Visbuzz 4
  • Loneliness has a real impact, not only on those concerned about ageing parents, but also the organisations and people who provide care and services to them. I am learning what many health professionals already accept; loneliness often leads to depression and physical illness, particularly in older people who may be less able to sustain their mental or physical wellbeing. If they are frail or have other conditions, it makes it harder for them to socialise, or be active
  • Some estimates suggest that 30% of GP call-outs are to elderly people, whose real need is for company. They need not live in a remote location; loneliness can be just as acute in our inner cities, where an older person may not know the people across the landing or next door
  • Since my Dad died a few years ago, my mum had become less mobile, less interested in travelling, or doing anything which interrupted her usual routine. Our family is spread around the country and, although we all did our best, no one could be with her all of the time. She is fiercely independent, wanting to stay in her own home, but the combination of isolation from her family and living alone meant she became lonely and her emotional and mental health began to suffer
  • Faced with the prospect of years of trying to balance the needs of my family, my business and my independent mother, I tried many ways to help her and also to reduce my guilt at not being able to be with her all the time. Carers and ccommunity workers cater for her physical needs, but it was her psychological and emotional needs I wanted to provide for. She wanted to be included and connected to those who mattered most to her. But how?
  • I noticed that regular visits from family resulted in great peaks of happiness, but then, once the family departed, deep troughs of unhappiness and depression. In reality, no visits at all may have been an appropriate way to keep her health stable. But we could not contemplate not seeing our mum, so we continued to visit regularly and my mum’s health deteriorated. She fell more often and her general health was wors,e which meant more hospital visits. She was often short tempered, especially with my brother, whom she saw most often, because she felt unwell much of the time. She became increasingly cantankerous . As this was happening, so my sense of guilt and worry deepened.  My two siblings felt the same. How could we make our mum happy AND keep her emotional and mental health stable?
  • It was obvious that finding a way to reduce her isolation would improve her general health, so I looked at several possibilities. These included Skype and Facetime. However, signing on to both of these is complex for people who are not used to working with computers and they were difficult for my mum to use. She found it hard to remember the processes to follow and was easily confused and frustrated
  • There was another problem too. My mum has arthritis in her hands and so using a keyboard, mouse or electronic keypad is difficult for her. That meant that none of the existing phone or PC programmes for video calls really met her needs. I tried setting up Skype on a computer in her home, which I controlled remotely. However, she disliked this arrangement, as she felt it interfered with her independence, as she had no control over accepting the video call or not. That was when I realised that it was up to me to find a solution as part of the package of support that was already available to her
  • The solution had to increase contact with my mum without taking away her independence. Also, it had to make sense for the whole family. I invented a way that my siblings and I could connect to my mum using a tablet computer. For my mum, using it is as simple as touching the screen. It has really enhanced my mum’s life, increasing her happiness and reducing her susceptibility to illness and bouts of depression
  • For my mum, the tablet computer is just like a picture frame, a part of the furniture and not a scary piece of technology
  • Research suggests that it takes 3 to 4 weeks to create a new habit, so I made sure I went to see my mum regularly for the first month, and we used the device together to speak to my sister and brother. This way she became accustomed to using the one touch device (I call it Visbuzz) and I was always there to help if she needed me
  • She soon became confident with Visbuzz. She could see that she controlled the technology, not the other way round, and that there was nothing to be worried about.  During this time my mum commented that she was having a little trouble with the arthritis in her hands and wasn’t always able to touch the screen with accuracy or firmly enough to use it comfortably, so I introduced a stylus to make the touch screen as accessible as possible
  • Now we can see her daily, we can include her in family gatherings, she can join us at mealtimes without travelling and without having any complex technology to worry about
  • Sometimes the things we need to solve problems are not out there. If they exist at all, they might not be available in our area, for example, voluntary organisations offering befriending services are not nationwide and statutory services may recognise the problems associated with loneliness, but simply don’t have the capacity to offer older people the company and support they want
  • So it’s up to us to think of ways around challenges like this. I have looked at how to address the challenges of modern living through the technology we now have. If you think of something that can help your ageing parent, the likelihood is it will help others as well, so don’t be afraid to come up with your own solutions
  • Many people are in the same situation with their parents as my siblings and me. We would love to hear about your experience. so please share them with us on our forum

Steve is the founder of Visbuzz. He has been a company CEO/MD for over 20 years and is an experienced coach and facilitator.  He works with senior team members in growing businesses to help them become better leaders making better decisions and achieving better results. Steve supports a number of charitable organisations and is also actively working towards ending loneliness If you’d like to know more about Visbuzz, either visit www.visbuzz.com, or call us on 03337 729637

Solutions to Loneliness

Last week, the Cardiff Blues Rugby Team donated 30 tickets to the Royal Voluntary Service (http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/), for volunteers and older people to go to the game. For lonely people, it is not, as the Royal Voluntary Service highlighted, solutions to loneliness are not always about a cup of tea.

For some people, the solution to loneliness is tea and cake, just look at the work by Contact the Elderly (http://www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/), but for others this isn’t going to cut it. The solution needs to fit the individual otherwise the help being offered can lead to increasing loneliness rather than eradicating it.

In west London, they have numerous solutions to end loneliness, including Men’s Sheds (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T8RTis6JGI) where it is easy to build relationships as those involved get to know each other through the DIY projects and work they do together. Age UK Milton Keynes (http://www.ageuk.org.uk/miltonkeynes/) offer coach trips for those over 55, and local churches can be found to offer a range of community services from mother and baby clubs to creative threads (knitting & needle work clubs).

There is also always the opportunity to learn new skills. Age UK highlight that there are now more than 600,000 learners over 60 in England alone. There are local computer clubs, evening courses, and courses available on line or through the internet. Future Learn (https://www.futurelearn.com/) offer a range of on-line courses from a range of universities free of charge. Sometimes, the support of a befriender, volunteer or family member may be required initially but people are never too old to learn!

The key to solving loneliness is building up meaningful relationships. As Kim Culbertson puts it: ‘People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world’.

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Loneliness

Loneliness is being talked about more and more within the media, among policy makers and by society as a whole. Has there been an increase in loneliness, or are we understanding and talking about the concept more? Maybe it’s a little of both.

Loneliness can affect the new mother who has no adult contact, the isolated grandmother whose last conversation was 4 days ago, the recently widowed husband who isn’t sure what routine means anymore, or the working professional who goes home to an empty house. No one is immune. Some people value their solitude, but when does solitude turn to loneliness? Families used to live in the same house, same street – at most a couple of streets away in the same village. Now we have cousins in Australia, sons and daughters in Scotland, brothers and sisters in America.

Popping round seems to no longer be an option, and individuals are turning to other avenues of support and contact where family once was. Even if you do have people around you, unless you feel in control and view these contacts as meaningful, you can still be lonely. Who wants to be talked at, made to feel inadequate or made to participate with an activity just because someone thinks it’s what you should do, what you need.

The key lies with being able to connect with those you want to, when you want to, how you want to. A coffee with Frank, a game of cards with Joyce, a film with Jenny, a chat with Aunty Catherine….

There are some fantastic options out there to reduce loneliness, with businesses, charities and communities becoming more focused on making sure the hard to reach, isolated and lonely are reached, and in ways that make them want to engage.

What would you like in place to make you less lonely? What ideas do you have to help others?

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Our Big Society

 In 2010, the Government promoted the Big Society as a way of putting power in people’s hands. The launch of The Big Society was to encourage and enable people to play a more active role in society and come together to improve their own lives and the lives of others.   Irrespective of political stance, the idea of supporting people who care about their community and want to get involved in improving the community around them cannot be a bad thing and comes in many guises.  

Ultimately, people care for, and want to help, other people. There are already a range of community based services, including those working towards reducing loneliness and increasing inclusion within society, and within these, volunteers play a key part. Volunteers have always been integral to delivering services on the ground. They are now taking a more central role within community services, with some organisations being made up of between as many as 50% and 100% volunteers. Through volunteering, people can gain a sense of civic responsibility, get the chance to realise and develop their skills and at the same time see the difference they make within their own community. 

As Lynne Berry, chair of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing says, ‘Charities and voluntary organisations are in the business of hope, of changing the world for the better. They are also committed to challenging injustice and righting wrongs; they are about creating an inspiring future’. 

Without volunteers giving their time, energy, and resources, the Big Society would not be able to exist, and community care would look like a very different landscape.  

So, thank you to the volunteers out there, keep going. 

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Visbuzz moves forward

We moved further forward with our vision of a world in which loneliness doesn’t exist on Monday, when we spent a fantastic day with some of our Visbuzz Champions in Halton. The day was focussed on ensuring that the best possible service is delivered to the lonely and isolated in the community, enabling them to connect with those that matter most in their lives. At the touch of a picture, they can chat with their loved ones face to face and so communicate more frequently with ease.

We demonstrated that with one touch, Visbuzz can make individuals feel included and connected – a simple way to help end loneliness.

The testimonials from the day were heart-warming and encouraging, with Visbuzz being recognised as a vital tool to increase inclusion for the lonely, vulnerable and distressed in our communities. Watch this space!

Bringing healthcare home

Mobile health (mhealth) is the key word meaning to deliver healthcare through mobile communication devices. Using personal wireless technology, medical care and information can be brought to the home of the patient. Visbuzz has created a platform that turns a smart device into a communication portal to connect you with those who matter most. It allows friends, family, doctors and therapists to engage with those who find it difficult to make frequent journeys.

A big challenge for carers is making high-quality healthcare accessible and available to everyone. With an ageing population the key is to put the care back in the hands of the patient through preventative measures. Visbuzz gives patients the control and power to connect to those they need and want to, without the feeling of intrusion. With extra functionalities of leaving “text messages,” patients can schedule meetings with family members with a simple touch screen method. Giving friends and family of patients the key to unlocking the difficulties in staying in touch with relatives that live far away could be the answer to improving wellbeing, healthcare and life satisfaction.

The economic driver in using Visbuzz is the reduction of hospital visits, bed space and doctors time as well as long journeys from family and friends to stay in contact. Using the portable device to connect and stay connected to those who are most important will reduce these factors and improve the lives of patients and their families.

Get in contact today to find out more about how Visbuzz can change your relationship with your family today. Connect to those who are most important to you.

How can mHealth actually help me?

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“mHealth” is a key word that has been flying around cyber space for some time now with large corporations outlining how it will increase profits and decrease government expenditures, but what I really want to know is how can it benefit me and my family?

Indeed, the Federal Communications Commission’s mHealth Task Force has found that wireless and remote access to health records and electronic prescriptions alone could make $29 billion over the next decade. Undoubtably, on an enormous scale, mHealth is going to help healthcare systems worldwide improve the service to millions of people, but what about in my home and for my loved ones? What difference can be made?

Visbuzz has created a unique device that personalises communication that can be applied to improving healthcare. The mobile software system connects the primary user to the people that matter most to the, including, perhaps, their doctor. At her bedside the primary user has her complete support system; friends, family, doctor, nurse and therapist, all of whom can provide care and love any time of the day. This innovative method of communications is a well-needed replacement to the current and traditional care-home environment. Visbuzz identified unmet needs in the market where isolated individuals needed easy access to their loved ones without the difficulties of using complex technology. Results have been positive from the pilot studies that healthcare organisations across the UK are embracing the solution, as well as individuals with personal needs of their own.

Personalised mHealth looks at each person in their own right with their needs as the foremost important factor in their care. Visbuzz creates an environment where the primary user can connect to those who matter the most, in a place they are comfortable and without the stressors of technology as a burden. These traits have the potential for doctors to implement continuous monitoring, lending insights to lifestyle habits and dynamic physiological changes to improve the health of the primary user. Of course Visbuzz is not just a medical advantage with the use of doctors, research continually finds that recovery is much more likely when the patient is happy and connected to friends and family.

Get back in touch with your loved ones today, talk to Visbuzz.

mHealth: a new vision for healthcare

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Whilst new reports say UK economic growth revised up to 0.7%, the long road to recovery still remains a critical challenge. One area where there is certain room for improvement in within the healthcare market. The 2013/2014 budget for healthcare is £95 billion, and increasing each year, calculating 18% of the total government spending. It is therefore imperative that we look at ways in which we can cut healthcare costs. We are in a spiral of healthcare costs as expectations of patient’s are high and financial resources are tight. However there is help at hand in the form of mobile applications and technology.

The modest costs of implementing mHealth applications could significantly lower healthcare costs across the UK and the world, resulting in happier healthier patients and more financial leeway to look at preventative medicine. Currently only a small amount of government funding has been allocated to mHealth and social health where patients can access healthcare advice and information from their phone and tablets. Being connected to ones doctor using an electronic device and reducing the need for face to face interaction for simple check ups or questions will inevitably reduce the time and costs for the patient and also for the healthcare organisation. A report by The Boston Consulting Group and Telenor Group found that costs relating to data collection in healthcare organisations could be reduced by 24% when using mHealth. They found that mobile devices could be used for remote diagnosis, speeding up of processes, avoiding duplication and saving between 20-30% in administrative fees.

However, there are the cynics about introducing mHealth as a primary method of communication between a patient and their doctor. Willa Field, Chair of the HIMSS Board of Directors, pointed out that elderly people are unlikely to adopt new technology without incentive and there are privacy and security concerns that go on alongside. It is important to recognise these limitations and find a way that will improve the service for all users.

Visbuzz is a mobile technology device built onto a portable tablet with a primary aim to connect people with those who matter most to them. It leaps over the hurdle of questions about incentives, understanding technology, costs and security through being built for one purpose only: to connect to your loved ones. Steve McNulty originally built Visbuzz to speak to his mother on a more regular basis without the complexities of explaining technology and having a high premium price to go with. This unique combination of factors that Visbuzz has to offer will largely contribute to reducing healthcare costs, improving communication and overall wellbeing of the primary user.

Please get in contact today to find out more about Visbuzz and how it can help you and your loved ones.

The Impact of Technology on Healthcare

Mobile communications and multimedia technology are playing significant roles in giving patients responsibility to their own healthcare, which in turn improves adherence to prescribed medications. With regards to mHealth and adherence trends, Aunia Grogan, CEO of Atlantis Healthcare said, “Technology is at the heart of what we do,” in developing treatment adherence. “The strategic use of technology is critical to effectively deliver mass personalisation, ensuring the right patient receives the right message at the right time, in the right way.”

Research has found that non-adherence is an individualised belief of the patient about their illness and their prescribed medications. The first step in changing the behaviour of the patient is to initially reframe the beliefs. Grogan says, “mHealth is increasingly important to channel and deliver relevant and meaningful interventions that can drive long-term behaviour change.” However, she emphasised that for the treatment to be successful, the patient needs to be actively engaged with his or her own recovery. For many patients it can be difficult to access their doctor on a regular basis, increasing the likelihood of their noncompliance due to not being properly informed about their medications. It is important that we use the technological devices we have available for the benefit of patients who have difficulty in accessing healthcare.

A new technological device available on the market now is Visbuzz, a game changer within the communications space. Visbuzz is a tablet application that gives people the opportunity to connect with those who matter most to them without the fuss of technology. Whilst multimedia technology is the driving force behind Visbuzz, the primary user does not need to be competent in technology at all. In fact, to call someone it is as easy as pressing the contacts picture on the screen. This ties in extremely well this improving adherence in those who are reliant upon medication but find it difficult to travel to healthcare organisations. Using Visbuzz, patients can communicate with their doctors to manage their healthcare program and improve their happiness and wellbeing.

To make the difference for one of your family members, contact Visbuzz to understand more about how easy it can be for them to connect to those who matter most.

The Healthcare Revolution – Will you ride the wave?

The healthcare system is undergoing a serious and well needed re-vamp and update using digital and mobile technology. Will you ride the wave of the revolution?

When emails came to our attention in around 1993 I was quick to adopt the new technology, although somewhat alien I could see the potential long-term usage of connecting to people through electronic letters rather than picking up the phone for a quick question. Now, two decades on, there are over 3 billion email accounts and it has quickly become one of the most efficient methods of communication. In 2013 we are continually developing new technological applications to help our everyday lives, and the new big area of development is healthcare. Adopting this new and seemingly alien technology may seem difficult now, but those who do will reap the rewards in the years to come, healthcare professionals and patients alike.

Traditional healthcare organisations use pen and paper to record notes, long waiting lists for simple tests and home visits for check ups. The medical staff are overworked and underpaid, tired and angry at the governments, and are looking at new innovative ways to improve patient care. Leading healthcare organisations are guiding the sector into the future of care through technology and transformation to create a more effective, efficient and reliable healthcare service.

mHealth, as defined by Professor Istepanian as the use of “emerging mobile communications and network technologies for healthcare”, is a common word found amongst healthcare blogs and magazines. People are looking up and smelling the roses about the new advances in healthcare to see how it can benefit themselves and those they love, but it can be difficult to choose out of the hundreds available.

Visbuzz can provide you with a unique approach to personalised care that meets the needs of you and those who are most important. Visbuzz is a simple interface device that brings communication to life through video calling tailored to those that are technologically hesitant. I know the feeling of heavy guilt when I can’t pick up the call from my Mum when I am busy through the day. I know there has to be a balance between your own life and those you care about. Giving freedom and simultaneous control to her through scheduled calling and messaging applications takes away the chance of interruptions in my busy day but also gives her the promise of talking soon.

Take advantage of the hundreds of new devices and technological developments in healthcare and consider using Visbuzz to connect with those who matter most.

The story of Visbuzz


My story begins, as many do, with a vision for a better place for those I love.

The heat of the midday sun shone through the window, burning me crimson as the traffic slowly ploughed on. The radio blared out some old rock hits from the 70’s intermitted between reports of a roadblock on the motorway. I lost count of how many hours I had been sitting there and I daren’t think about the journey home. How I envied those on the other side of the road, blistering along with their roofs down and hair blowing. ‘Perhaps I’ll have next weekend off’ I ruminated. But even as the thought entered my mind, guilt crept over my shoulder and sat heavily in my chest for the remainder of the crawling journey.

Once I had arrived at the house I grew up in, my Mum could see the stress in my face, my body language. Immediately she apologised and said that I shouldn’t have come all this way just to see her. For the rest of the short visit there was an uncomfortable knowing that this was less than ideal for both of us. We both carried guilt. For my Mum it was the thought of dragging me down the motorway most weekends, and for me, the thought of not doing that.

The story’s knight in white armour is Visbuzz, a product I invented initially to connect with my Mum in a way that was straightforward to understand and effective to use. Visbuzz is a tablet with an integrated application for the user, like my mum, to connect with those who matter most. The simplicity of the interface means that for even technology novices this device is easy to use, by simply pressing a picture to call!

Visbuzz dams a hole in the market where there is increasing demand and decreasing support; personalised care in homes for those who need connectivity. With studies carried out all over Britain, results have come back pretty glum. Half of over 65 year-olds do not see their families more than once a month and 1/10 elderly people in the UK suffer from “intense loneliness”. This common finding is both shocking and moving – moving me into action to help my mum and those in her position. Visbuzz is a single-task device that connects people with those who matter most to them.

The story of Visbuzz continues to give everyone the opportunity to have a device that can connect them to the people they love, the communities they know and the professionals that can help.

A world in which loneliness doesn’t exist – can it happen?

We have a vision…


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