Older Mind Matters

Reading, and reading about reading

It looks as though the theme this month is reading (and reading about reading!) So here are some of the things I've read:

1. The new NICE guideline on Dementia was published in June 2018: Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers. It is likely to lead to more use of combined cholinesterase inhibitor with memantine for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as it recommends “considering” adding memantine if someone has “moderate disease”. It also recommends “offering” memantine if someone has “severe disease”. Everyone working in memory clinic services needs to familiarise themselves with it.

2. The National LGBT Survey Summary Report was published in July 2018 after the survey ran online for a period of 12 weeks – the full research report runs to 304 pages and there is a chapter on health and another on gender identity services.

The survey itself attracted over 100,000 responses. Of particular interest in connection with recent work for Age UK Cheshire, 13% of respondents were trans. Some points of note are particularly sobering:

  • LGBT respondents as a group are less satisfied with their life than the general UK population (rating satisfaction 6.5 on average out of 10 compared with 7.7).
  • Trans respondents had particularly low scores for satisfaction with life (around 5.4 out of 10).
  • Of all trans respondents who had accessed or tried to access gender identity services, 80% said that access had not been easy (rating 1, 2 or 3 out of 5 for ease of access), and 68% said that waiting lists had been too long. (This fits with comments in a recent BMJ article and also the feedback we had from participants in the service improvement project).
  • 16% of trans respondents who had started or completed transitioning had gone outside the UK to pay for healthcare or medical treatment.

We've still got a way to go by the looks of this report - it's uncomfortable reading.

3. Here is a link to paper by Bavishi et al on the beneficial effect of reading on survival in older adults. The authors found that reading books provided a 23 month survival advantage in people aged over 65. In fact ANY level of book reading gave a significantly stronger survival advantage than reading periodicals and the authors argue that if over 65 year olds were to redirect their time away from television to reading it would have a beneficial effect on survival! So long as scandi-noir counts this is fine by me and don’t say I didn't warn you.

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