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Issue 55

November 2010

Age UK’s latest campaign to ensure the well-being of older people

Age Concern England and Help the Aged have formed a new combined charity Age UK

In This Edition Still Hungry to be Heard Campaign Colchester Hospital runs Protected Meal Times Remembering the winter of 1947 Leave our cheques alone Flu jab - not all it seems? Fisherman’s Friend Are you being conned? Dear Father Christmas Noticeboard Living through the Blitz Winter events Please wear a poppy

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eglect by hospital staff which led to malnutrition was blamed for the death of 89-year-old Anne Irons. She broke her pelvis in a fall at her home in Craigleith, Edinburgh, in March 2005 and was taken to hospital. Her son, former Lord Provost of Edinburgh Norman Irons, said her weight plummeted because her nutrition and drink intake was not being properly monitored.. When his mother eventually died of broncho- He said her care was a 'disgrace in a pneumonia, her upper arms were 'thinner developed country. My mother's life was than a broompole'. extinguished by basic neglect.’ Mr Irons said he believed his mother was 'Her only fault apparently was that she was 'starved to death' at the Edinburgh Royal too old to be a matter of concern and, of Infirmary because no one was helping her at course, she was not part of any waiting list. mealtimes, attributing her death to 'basic Quite the opposite. She was a bed blocker neglect' which left her with bedsores and and her death cleared a space.' mouth and throat infections. Mr Irons later received an apology from the She received no bath and only two showers hospital and this case illustrates the research in 28 days, he alleged. She was not taken to that has been carried out by Age UK on care the toilet quickly enough and her nightclothes in hospitals where there are numerous cases were left soiled in her locker for relatives to of older people not being able to manage collect. Clinical waste was left at her bedside. their feeding and so become more and more Her self-esteem and welfare were neglected malnourished in hospital. to the point where she effectively lost the will Details of the Still Hungry to be Heard to live, he claimed.

campaign are on page 2.

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ACCol News

Frail elderly patients 'left to starve in hospitals' Nurses are not bothering to help frail patients eat their meals, according to a report which lays bare the scandal of the older people being starved on NHS wards. More than two thirds of nurses admit hospitals do not ensure vulnerable patients receive the help they need to prevent them falling victim to malnutrition, it revealed. The latest data shows that each year 175,000 are entering hospital malnourished, and 185,000 leave malnourished. It means at least 10,000 cases have been directly caused by the hospital stay - the highest number on record. An Age UK report has found that the NHS can be so Former Carry On star June Whitfield, ambassador for neglectful that relatives are routinely bringing their loved Age UK, said elderly patients 'should just be able to ones food concentrate on getting better, without worrying about Relatives routinely have to come in to hospital to ensure fundamental care needs such as food and nutrition'. their loved ones are being fed - while others bring in their A poll of 1,000 nurses by the charity found that almost own food to replace the inedible offerings of the Health 30 per cent would not trust their hospital to spot malnuService, the Age UK report found. And a third of nurses trition in one of their own relatives. Some 70 per cent admitted that they would not trust their hospital to tackle said the older people are not effectively screened for a relative's malnutrition. Families told the charity that malnutrition on the wards due to lack of time, other patients had been 'simply starved' by NHS staff who 'did issues take priority or staff not being trained properly. not have the time or will to be interested'. Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said: 'It's Many who require pureed food have been offered only extremely worrying that nurses don't feel confident that solid food, such as sausages and boiled potatoes. And a fundamental problem such as malnourishment will be those with arthritis or a broken wrist are not given help picked up. The Government must introduce compulsory to unwrap food, according to the report. monitoring.' In 2007, 239 patients were reported as having died of malnutrition during their stay - although the true figure is likely to be higher due to under-reporting. One relative, whose mother was in hospital, told Age UK: 'Plates were put in the serving area and left there, often untouched. Usually the patient could not pick up both a knife and a fork because they did not have the strength.

The charity says the financial impact of malnutrition on the NHS is ÂŁ7.3billion a year - due to longer or avoidable hospital stays, the need for more medication and the higher risk of infection. Recently nurses were having to be reminded by NHS bosses it is part of their job to feed frail patients and check for bedsores. The High Impact Actions for Nursing and Midwifery report said 70 per cent of patients with malnutrition are never identified.

'More importantly they could not cut up the meat etc into smaller sizes to get into their mouths.' Fewer than half of hospitals screen older patients for malnutrition on About 40 per cent of hospital food is wasted, but a admission, and only a third screen them during their stay, quarter of patients are malnourished, and almost four in the report also reveals. ten patients say they do not get enough help eating in hospital.

The Age UK report concluded: 'It is a national disgrace that we are still becoming malnourished, and that this is not being detected. This must end, and it must end now.' Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, claimed nurses did not have time to ensure patients were well fed and called for protected mealtimes. He said: 'Patients can be interrupted by cleaning and ward rounds, undermining their appetites. 'It is vital that staff are able to focus solely at mealtimes on serving nutritional needs of patients and allowing them to eat in a conducive an atmosphere as possible.'

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Colchester Hospital runs Protected Meal Times The newly appointed Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University Trust, Dr Gordon Coutts, has written to Age Concern Colchester to inform us of the review of the meals service and the changes which have taken place in the last eighteen months on wards which are designated as `Care of the Elderly` in Colchester. Meal times are now considered a priority and drug rounds have been adjusted slightly so they do not coincide, freeing up staff to assist patients. Nurses involved in serving meals and assisting patients with their food wear green plastic aprons.

To assess patients` nutritional status on admission to the ward, the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) is used across the Trust to identify patients at risk. Information about this procedure is available on the ward.

The meal service itself has also been revised. Soup or juice are now served to all patients first followed afterwards by the serving of the main course to ensure that the main course is served hot. Patients requiring assistance are identified at the beginning of service and their food is served towards the end by a nurse who is able to assist them.

In terms of staffing, the post of Nurse Consultant for Older People has been established. She works closely with members of staff throughout the Trust to improve the delivery of patient care to older people. The Trust is also working to recruit more volunteers to support the meal service in the hospital. There are currently six volunteers working within Care of the Elderly and the Stroke Unit and this number is hoped to increase.

The use of red trays highlights those patients who require some assistance and their dietary intake to be monitored. The red trays also indicate that the food must not be taken away until the patient has eaten as much as they want. Red jug lids are used for those patients who require assistance and encouragement to take fluids.

Age Concern Colchester is pleased to hear that the Trust has instigated changes in the assessment of nutrition and in the service of meals to older people in hospital in Colchester.

Do you remember the winter of 1947? Age Concern Colchester and Colchester Recalled are going to work on a new joint project seeking out peoples memories of the late 1940s and the early 1950s. It was the time when thousands were being demobbed and seeking new employment. There were shortages of food, building materials and fuel and this was exacerbated by the very severe winter of 1947. Food was rationed and probably the only highlights during this era were the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Festival of Britain on the South Bank. If you would like to record your memories then please contact Peter Simpson at Age Concern Colchester on 01206 368420

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Leave our cheques alone! Almost 300,000 fewer cheques are written each day than a year ago, according to figures published this week by the Payments Council. That's a 10 per cent decline in a year, suggesting that plans by the banking industry to scrap cheques by 2018 are logical. The council is certainly keen to trumpet the decline, using emotive words like "plummets" in its announcement. But, age charities warn that doing away with cheques would penalise older people who struggle with the plastic cards which are the current alternatives pushed out by the banks.

For that reason it's essential that the banking industry doesn't rush to scrap the cheque system. It wants to do so because the administration involved with cheques is costly, as the pieces of paper The problem for some older folk is partly need to be taken from shops to a bank the need to remember a four-digit PIN, branch, and on to the issuing bank and so but also that they've used cheques all on. Electronic payments can all be done their lives and don't see a need to change. at the touch of a button, saving millions of In fact it's suggested that instead of pounds in costs. turning to plastic cards they will revert to But the banks shouldn't be solely driven using cash, which could mean keeping by cost savings. Giving customers what more money at home, or with them. The they want is important, and while there's net result of that, of course, would be that still a sizeable demand for cheques, the they would become a more attractive banks should meet it. target for sneak thieves and muggers.

Flu jab - not all it seems? Many people will now be receiving from their GP an invitation to have their annual flu jab - but did you know that this year your jab could contain a ‘bonus’ in the form of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine? The National Heath Service has decided that this year’s jab should be a cocktail of the normal flu and swine flu vaccines. Colchester PCT has confirmed that the vaccine will be a mixture of H1N1, the swine flu vaccine, and two other flu virus vaccines which are the common flu viruses identified by the World Health Organisation as causing Flu this winter.

vaccine, as they are different and new every year, therefore this why H1N1 the swine flu virus - has not been specifically mentioned in the GP invite letters that older and vulnerable would have received..

The World Health Organisation announced the influenza strains to be included in the 2010/11 seasonal influenza vaccine and this includes the H1N1 swine influenza virus.

All those in the 'at risk' group are invited to have the seasonal flu vaccine including those who may have had the H1N1 swine flu vaccine last year.

This years seasonal flu vaccine does not H1N1 is one of the viruses causing flu offer a choice, there is only one available this winter. There is no distinction made to identified patients, and it is a mix of between seasonal flu viruses in the H1N1 and two other flu viruses.

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Fisherman’s Friend


t was the first planned town of the Victorian era - landowner Sir Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood envisaged it as a seaside resort for the less well-off, but, by the second half of the 19 century Fleetwood in Lancashire had grown into one of the largest fishing ports in England. Life on board the fishing boats was tough, and although the fishermen were extremely hardy individuals accustomed to danger and discomfort, the icy conditions they endured at sea meant that coughs, colds and bronchial problems were frequent complaints. In 1865 a local pharmacist, James Lofthouse, created a strong liquid containing eucalyptus and menthol which, when administered to suffering fishermen, was so effective that he decided to make the liquid into small lozenges which the fishermen could take with them on their voyages. These proved to be very popular and the fishermen were soon referring to them as their "friends"... James passed the recipe to his son Charles who in due course handed it on to his own son, also called James, who ran the pharmacy business with his wife, Frances. For many years no one knew about the powerful, sinus-clearing lozenges beyond the fishermen of Fleetwood, but when the family started selling them in the seafront gift shops they owned, summer visitors to the town began buying them and liking them and the fame of the Fisherman's Friend, as the cough sweet was now known, gradually spread. People who had bought the lozenges while staying in the town, and others who had heard of them by Fleetwood. Incidentally, the trawler which is word of mouth, began writing to the Lofthouses depicted on the packet was a real fishing boat: the with orders. Frances sent the Fisherman's Friend Cevic. out with labels she typed herself: her original use of The factory in Fleetwood now employs 280 staff the black typewriter ribbon for some words and the and the Fisherman's Friend is exported to 120 red typewriter ribbon for others continues to be countries. They are particularly popular in Norway, reflected on the coloured lettering on the packets. Germany and the Far East, with 15 different At the helm of the company today are husband- varieties available {the Nordic one is a rather salty and-wife Tony and Doreen Lofthouse (Managing concoction called “salmiak") to suit local tastes. Director and Chairman respectively). Doreen's These include "cherry", “spicy -mandarin", "lemon" initiative was crucial to the swift expansion of the and "apple cinnamon". Doreen Lofthouse, who business during the 1970s. When orders came in based the size of their 1974 aniseed lozenge on the from people, Doreen would visit shops in the towns size of the buttons on the dress she was wearing at of these potential customers, show the the time (!), was awarded an OBE for her charity shopkeepers the letters, and promise that if they work, and the company is well-known in the town agreed to stock the lozenges she would encourage for its fine philanthropic activity: £1.6 million was the people to go to their shops. A major donated to renovate the local hospital. breakthrough came when Boots, the giant pharmaceutical company, asked if the Lofthouses could supply Fisherman's Friend to their branches all over Britain. Sales rocketed and to cope with demand a factory was built on the outskirts of

It is estimated that five billion of the small brown lozenges are sold each year. So it is highly likely that, while you are reading this, someone, somewhere, whether at sea or on dry land, will be sucking one and experiencing the invigorating effects ...

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ACCol News

Are you being O

lder and disabled people are being preyed on in their own homes by rogue salesmen flogging faulty mobility aids, such as stairlifts and scooters, at rip-off prices. The scam is thought to cost British pensioners and the disabled millions of pounds a year. Trading Standards has launched a nationwide crackdown on these firms, winning millions of pounds back for vulnerable residents over the past year. Complaints have soared by almost a fifth, with Consumer Direct reporting 5,300 complaints last year. Officers have found evidence of: n SALESPEOPLE posing as social care professionals. n HIGH-PRESSURE sales tactics,including cold calls and home visits. n ROGUE firms closing down and relaunching under new names. n FAULTY goods, or ones unsuitable for older people. n MOBILITY aids being sold for three times the recommended retail price. n OVERBLOWN medical claims, breaching industry guidelines.

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers have recovered £277,000 for vulnerable residents in the past year, while Bracknell Forest Borough Council has clawed back £125,000.

In one case, a man in his late 80s was bullied into buying a £5,000 scooter when he already had one. An 80-yearold lady was cold-called and pressured into signing two contracts worth about £13,000. Leicestershire County Council issued a warning to locals after a spate of complaints from residents who’d been missold mobility aids. Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of Local Government Regulation, says: ‘These heartless criminals are leaving people extremely worried and in a great deal of debt. They must realise they will be caught, dealt with by the courts and punished severely. People who target vulnerable members of society have no morals and will not think twice about piling on the pressure to ensure they get as much money as possible.

‘The equipment sold is rarely suitable, severely overpriced and will no doubt come with a cancellation policy that is extremely hard to get out of.’ Sharp practices revolve around sales of all mobility aids — from bath aids to orthopaedic furniture. Inevitably, most customers are elderly — many are housebound, living alone and vulnerable. Typically, these firms will cold-call customers. An appointment will be arranged and a salesman will make a home visit.

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served? The victim will then be subject to a hard sell, often being told they are being given a fantastic deal which will expire if they don’t buy on the spot. Some salesmen are even luring potential customers into a false sense of security by posing as social care professionals working for the Government. Andrew Barker, managing director of Mangar International — a manufacturer of mobility aids — says: ‘The private market in mobility aids has been left to the backstreet salesmen. We’ve had many cases where these firms are posing as customers, buying products off our website and selling them on at vastly inflated prices — often to people completely unsuited to them. It’s despicable.’ Michele Shambrook, operations manager for Consumer Direct, says: ‘Prospective buyers need to guard against the tactics of some rogue operators.

Earlier this year, BBC’s Rogue Traders highlighted the case of an elderly woman with dementia sold a rise-and-recliner chair for £1,700 — a lot more than it could be bought for elsewhere — by Nottinghambased ABM Mobility. An undercover investigation revealed the highpressure techniques used its salesmen, who can earn hundreds of pounds in commission for each sale. The firm, which generated more than 300 complaints to Derbyshire Trading Standards last year, stopped taking calls from angry customers and became Virgo Healthcare Ltd, operating from the same office in Nottingham. The firm is no longer trading.

‘Many of these products are sold to people in their own homes where they can be vulnerable to high-pressure selling techniques.’ Disability and pensioners’ charities are dismayed. Liz Sayce, chief executive of disability charity RADAR, says: ‘This is very concerning. There is a lack of information out there making these people even more vulnerable to exploitation.’

John Inman from the 1970s BBC television series ‘Are you being served ?’

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Dear Father Christmas Dear Father Christmas Dear Father Christmas My friends are telling me that my television, which is now getting quite old, will not be suitable for the new digital programmes and I will have to purchase another TV. I’m an oldie and I don’t know if this is this true?

I am finding it more and more difficult to get VHS tapes for my video recorder and I understand that I will not be able to record when we go digital. Margaret

Kath Dear Margaret Dear Kath Your friends are telling you porkies! Yes, the television programmes that you receive will change to digital next summer but there is no need to change your television unless you want to get one that is smaller and slimmer. Being an ‘oldie’ you will benefit from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme for those of us over 75 and you will be offered a fitted ‘digibox’ for £40. If you are on Pension Credit or another benefit then you will not have to pay anything at all and the engineer will make certain you are quite happy with your new ‘digibox’ before they leave. You won’t need to do anything because the Pension Service will advise the Help Scheme people as to will be eligible for a ‘digibox’ Father Christmas

You are quite right in that VHS video recorders and their tapes are becoming obsolete and it will very difficult for them to record programmes when we go digital next year. I would suggest that you consider purchasing a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) and, although I do not yet have digital television here in Lapland, I understand that Age Concern Colchester has done a very good deal for people such as yourselves with Anglian Electrics. They will supply and install a Humax PVR in your home for £135. That’s less than some of the ‘big boys’ but, not only will they set it up and provide the extra leads required, they will also show you how it all works so that you are absolutely happy. They will even take away your old VHS recorder if you want them to. So, why not tell the children and the grandchildren that you would like the ‘£135 Age Concern Colchester Special PVR Deal’ from Anglian Electrics in Magdalen Street, Colchester for your Christmas stocking! Father Christmas

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Our Big Knit Update Age Concern Colchester is very happy to announce that we have just reached the 5,000 mark for woolly hats and they`re still coming in! It has been a truly wonderful effort this year and our greatest thanks go out to all who have contributed their efforts, whether great or small. Every single hat is appreciated. We have been surrounded in the office by hats in the shape of cats, bumble bees, teddy bears, punks, swans and chickens to name but a few. We`re sorry to see them go! However we will be receiving money from Innocent at the rate of 25 pence per hat and this is to be spent on our Winter Warmth Campaign this year which includes a Blanket Testing Day on 22 October and two `Glow into Winter` information sessions in Colchester and Tiptree in November and the establishment of emergency food packs for those in need. We look forward to seeing hats appear in the shops. It`s a shame that we probably won`t see our own locally but that`s probably too much to ask. We also look forward to next year`s campaign so watch this space!

Colc hes Bus ter Sho ines ses ps and Th e Quiz Ans 1. S we w

2. B ag Shop o 3. S ots avers 4. P a 5. C st Times orals 6. S im 7. K on Says athle en’s 8. B K a 9. R kers Ove itchen ed L n ion 10. N ation Books wide


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ACCol News

Living through the Blitz


ome of the members of Tiptree Day Centre were living in London during the Blitz so we asked them to tell us of their memories of this difficult time. Edith has memories of the Anderson shelter in the garden of her home in Walthamstow and she remembers the night raids going on for week after week. Edith


were told they could either get off or stay on the train. Joyce’s husband decided to stay on the train and it continued it’s journey past bombed and burning buildings on both sides of Reg lived in Hornsey at the time and the track. Joyce said it had been a remembers the terrible noise and very frightening experience for him. destruction of the bombs. He used to Terry lived in Walworth during the blitz shelter in the Turnpike Lane and was bombed out so had to move Underground Station and he said that to another address. This was also there were hundreds, perhaps bombed, and on this occasion, he thousands, sleeping on the station also lost both his parents and a platforms night after night. brother in the raid. He remembers the ARP wardens and the rest centres Joyce remembers an incident when her husband was due home on leave which provided cups of tea. and he was on the train. Near Winnie lived in Ingatestone during the Dagenham the train stopped because war and remembers the bombers of the destruction and passengers going over night after night.




The iconic image of St Paul's Cathedral after the very heavy raid of 29 December 1940

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Electric Blanket Testing Friday 22 October

To book your appointment ring 01206 368420 Information, advice and support to get you through the worst of the winter weather

Tuesday 9 November 2.00 to 4.00 hosted by The Windmill Green Club at St Luke`s Church Hall, Tiptree Details on (01206) 368420

Winter Warmth Day At Lion Walk Activity Centre Friday 19 November 10am to 2 pm

Information and Benefits Advice Home Insulation Changing Energy Suppliers Home Safety Keeping Healthy Helpline • Free Gifts Winter Warmth Packs Ready-prepared Meals and much, much more ...

Globe House 6 George Street Colchester CO1 1TP Phone: 01206 368420 Fax: 01206 500984 Email: Web: Working for all older people in the Borough of Colchester

"He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile, But he'd seemed with us such a little while When war broke out and he went away. I still remember his face that day When he smiled at me and said, Goodbye, I'll be back soon, Mom, so please don't cry. "Please wear a poppy," the lady said And held one forth, but I shook my head. Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there, And her face was old and lined with care; But beneath the scars the years had made There remained a smile that refused to fade. A boy came whistling down the street, Bouncing along on care-free feet. His smile was full of joy and fun, "Lady," said he, "may I have one?" When she's pinned it on he turned to say, "Why do we wear a poppy today?"

"But the war went on and he had to stay, And all I could do was wait and pray. His letters told of the awful fight, (I can see it still in my dreams at night), With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire, And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire. "Till at last, at last, the war was won And that's why we wear a poppy son." The small boy turned as if to go, Then said, "Thanks, lady, I'm glad to know. That sure did sound like an awful fight, But your son - did he come back all right?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way And answered, "This is Remembrance Day, And the poppy there is the symbol for The gallant men who died in war. And because they did, you and I are free That's why we wear a poppy, you see.

A tear rolled down each faded check; She shook her head, but didn't speak. I slunk away in a sort of shame, And if you were me you'd have done the same; For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed, Though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!

"I had a boy about your size, With golden hair and big blue eyes. He loved to play and jump and shout, Free as a bird he would race about. As the years went by he learned and grew and became a man - as you will, too.

And so when we see a poppy worn, Let us reflect on the burden borne, By those who gave their very all When asked to answer their country's call That we at home in peace might live. Then wear a poppy! Remember - and give!

~~By Don Crawford.~~

ACCol News 55  

The Age Concern Colchester Newsletter for November 2010