Trawling the deep

Trawling the depths of my Internet mind.

Digging around in the years far behind.

Unlocking the lost,

Expanding the new.

Remembering what I once knew.

Joining the dots of today,

To the clutter of yesterday’s

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Rambling Research Start

I am going in search of something.  I am not sure what?   But it will be fun and I will report on it here as it happens.

I am  looking for something to do and it has to do with older people, because that is what I know most about.    Surfing is a key to finding information and rambling around aimlessly is sure to get me somewhere.

Today I Googled “activities for older people’s groups” and stumbled into lots of card games, singing choirs, knitters and natterers, painters, poets  and craft activities.     Familiar territory, good things to do.  But nothing grabbed my attention.

Then I landed on “SARCOPENIA”.   It is a terrible disease that I had never heard of but I could easily get.   It affects lots of older people and is estimated to cost the NHS a massive £11.9 billion !    It leads to increased hospitalisation,  greater nursing home admissions and higher home care expenditure.   It is loss of muscle strength through sitting around all day.

I found out about it in an excellent report produced by the Royal Voluntary Service entitled ” Move it or lose it”.  You can find the full report by clicking on the link below.

It is a study of how resistance exercise with a small group of older people, whose average age was 81, improved their strength and balance; helped them look after themselves more independently; lifted their sense of well being and reduced their visits to GP’s and A&E.

It was first published in 2016 and deserves much more exposure.



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Where am I going 2 ?

A day’s gone by and I still don’t know

where I am going.

Time relentlessly driving me forward

to an unknown destination.



The day I was born,

I couldn’t know.

In my teens,

I thought I knew.

By my early working years,

I was sure I knew.




Now in my later years,

I know I don’t know.

I can only navigate

with the history of my life.



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Where am I going?

I have lost my focus,

so I am rambling.

All over they place,

at fast and slow pace.


But I am still rambling,

which maybe was always my way.

I didn’t know where I would end up  then

and I don’t know now.

I just knew I was born to go on this journey.

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When is a cateract not a cateract ?    The answer is when it is in the NHS.

Cateract surgery is the most common procedure carried out in the NHS.   The operation is not hugely expensive and can be life changing for many patients, most of whom are elderly.    300,000 operations are done each year, so it should be a good news storey all round.     Sadly that is not the case for many people.   Budget constraints mean that you have to be almost blind before you qualify for the operation.

A recent study showed that the condition which can severely impair a person’s vision, preventing people from carrying out daily tasks such as driving or going to the shops.   It can also lead to more falls which costs the NHS a lot more money to repair broken bones.    Not to mention the fact that if you have cateracts you are 40% more likely to die early if you don’t have the surgery.

If prevention is better than cure, you might think the NHS would be racing to do more operations.    After it would enable older people to remain independent for longer;  it would save money on falls treatment.    It would be a vote winner amongst older people.

But NHS think differently, they start from the fact that there is no money.  Even if there was more money they might want to spend it on something else.    And anyway there are not enough ophthalmic surgeons.    And keeping older people alive for longer may cost the NHS more money still.    And those who can afford it can always get it done privately.  Just cough up  £3,000 per eye but look out for the buy one get one free offers first.

With can’t do attitudes like this, it is no wonder that old people are at the back of the NHS queue.

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Elderly A and E ?

In anticipation of the usual winter crisis and shortage of beds, ideas for new ways of working are coming out of the NHS thick and fast.   Here are two pilots that could have real advantages for older people.

The first is a proposal in Norfolk, where there is a higher than average proportion of older people.   They are opening a separate emergency unit specifically for people over the age of 80.   An octogenarian speedy boarding kind of A & E, except the idea is you don’t board.   The hope is that they can assess and treat you quickly and get you straight back home.   If it works, it is a good idea, because many older people seem to get worse when they are admitted to hospital.  Apparently  14% of  Norfolks A&E admissions are over  80.

The second new approach being tried out in London is to use video phone consultations between patients and a call service to a doctor, which would give you access to a GP within 2 hours  — a sort of  now you see him now you don’t  virtual type of consultation.    That could certainly work for young people who don’t like getting out of bed.

Now if we tweak all that a bit.    Extend the age range for speedy non-boarding to include all people over 60.    Encourage/ require everyone else to use their mobiles rather than going to hospitals.   There would be very few people left who needed to go to A&E.

Another idea would be to send the doctors to visit the elderly in their own homes and maybe call them GP’s.


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Weather or not?

I have fallen into the habit of turning the iPad on as soon as I wake up and looking up the weather forecast.   Just like I used to do with the TV, except you usually had to wait a while until the forecast was on.

Often the national forecast was no use because it was too broad brush.    I needed more local information, so I then had to wait even longer for the regional news.    Sometimes I could be waiting for hours before I could get dressed and know if I could go out in the garden.

I didn’t want to know about Stornaway or the Isle of White, I just wanted to know about Kilsby.

Now with my trusty iPad I can get the precise weather for Kilsby instantly for every hour of the day.   Including wind speeds, exact temperatures and weather warnings.  And the pollen count although there is not much about in Autumn.     And UV levels just in case I need my shades and sun hat.

Today for instance, it forecasts rain all morning and there is a warning about floods.    So I had better put my waterproof gear on and find my wellies.   I will get the dingy out later.

Just one problem.   When I look out the window it’s not raining 😖

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