Friday, 11 March 2016

Plan on getting older? D' Big Isssues

ALERT. This might not be the most uplifting post to date but it's time we talk. These are some things to consider and solutions that are available right now, that you ought to know about. 

So, what do you think it will it be - Dementia, Diabetes, Depression or some other Dignity Destroying Dependency or Disability that steps in before death will take all of us out? Tricky question, when we have no idea if we will get older, let alone how much old we will get.

That ratchets up the tension with every birthday.

In the meantime, the rising incidence of bodily changes as we age is indisputable. Disability is more likely to become a normal part of the human condition, as we reach greater ages. And if this is the new normal, realistic needs assessment, including the active involvement of older people in the design of products becomes more urgent - now.

So, what can be done to enhance the quality of life for those who are already living with disabilities? Thankfully, a number of companies are actively and creatively addressing the unpleasant but also realistic concept of living with disabilities.

Unforgettable is one of them, and it is focused on improving the lives of people living with and coping with cognitive deficits and dementia. James Ashwell, the founder has first hand knowledge of the limitations and complexities of dealing with dementia. This is because he cared for his mother during the last seven years of her total decline. His team at Unforgettable also go beyond the procurement of specialized products and services to include a supportive online community addressing issues surrounding caring for people with cognitive deficits.

And Spring Chicken is also just a click away. When Anna James father was diagnosed with Parkinson, the former Mothercare executive saw the gap in the market. Anna and her team uses their experience and expertise from catering for the early years to offer solutions for the other end of the age spectrum, selecting effective, quality products to help make life easier and brighter for older people.

Another option is MaxiAids. They offer products and new technologies for improving independent daily living for people with mobility issues, low vision or blindness and hearing loss.

Last but certainly not least, Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style has developed her online platform with a unique proposition; redefining disability with style. Jarvis, who has become progressively disabled over the past 20 years, makes recommendations for the less abled on style, accessibility and disabled facilities. She is creating a new standard for disabled people so that As Recommended by Blue Badge Style will become as recognizable as a Michelin star. All of these entreprenuerial efforts are welcomed. The significant numbers of individuals already affected at the same time that the scope and costs of care globally continue to escalate makes the market space for ageing hot and getting hotter.

Make no mistake, pathologies accumulate with age and the number of aged people with and without dementia is also accumulating. In the same way as the stigma surrounding mental illness is being challenged, the stigma about cognitive decline must also be acknowledged and addressed. Dementia is another mental health issue. With more people surviving to older ages, cognitive declines will escalate. It will do so unequally and this ageing population will continue to operate in normal society as ever increasing degrees of care are required.

Oldness is Demanding. While longer lives are neither guaranteed nor chosen, they will also demand better understanding, management and targeted attention to all those damn D's, D' Big Issues of our time.

3 comments:

  1. You're absolutely right, the stigma of not just cognitive decline but all the D's, needs to be addressed.

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  2. You are again correct in your assessment of our situation. As I age the reality of yearly decline is a constant concern. Any help to navigate this part of the journey is a bonus. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are again correct in your assessment of our situation. As I age the reality of yearly decline is a constant concern. Any help to navigate this part of the journey is a bonus. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete