Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lazy Days

Usually, I can't stand being lazy. I get upset if I stay in bed til after 10, even though I have nothing better to do til  3pm. i am personally affronted if I have left my room in a state (this means rough around the edges to every normal human being). I get annoyed at peple who don't take bins out, or don't wash up straight after they've eaten, or don't pick up dirty clothes off the floor. God only knows what will happen when I move in with my boyfriend.. he is rather prone to being lazy. We may need a rotor.

Yes, I'm serious.

I also enjoy making lists so that I remember what I'm meant to be doing with my time, just in case I forget. In fact, I love lists. And useful space saving techniques, like putting all your pens in a pot on your desk so they're easier to find. I once noticed my sister didn't have one, so I made her one. Let's just call me an obsessive cleaner and organiser.

So yes, I do not like lazy. And yet today I am finding that lazy is a good thing.

I haven't gone so far as to stay in my PJ's all day, but I have put on tracksuit bottoms and a cosy jumper, instead of my usual jeans and top combo.

Instead of sitting at my overladen desk, I have opted not to bother cleaning it and to snuggle up on my bed with the laptop instead.

I haven't been outside, even though yesterday I was determined to go into uni to do work.

 Some things will never change. The list is still right next to me and I have actually done work today. But today I learnt a valuable lesson:

You don't have to be active to be proactive.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Feel the Happy

Recently it seems like everyone around me is a grumpy old sod. 

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and while I know we brits don't celebrate it anywhere near as fervently as the Americans do, I was sad to see so many people calling it 'just another day on the calendar' or 'another excuse for the shops to get money out of us'. My first thought is that they all must be resentful of the couples who are celebrating it, but shockingly quiet a few were happily coupled up. So then I had to wonder why exactly they couldn't just celebrate Valentine's day as the one day in the year where you will find people walking around with giant heart-shaped balloons or have a stack of roses anonymously delivered to your door. It's not like romance is dead or anything.

Personally, I think this severe lack of joy is a serious problem. And it got me into thinking of a few ways to combat the hate and hostility towards what I see as a perfectly innocent little day that would never purposefully try to hurt anyone.

As of now, ladies and gentlemen of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you all should adhere to the following rules to ensure the love is spread evenly across the surface of our little spot on earth:

1. Smile. All the time. At people who you dont' know. At people who look particularly grumpy. Because when you smile at them it will guarantee to brighten up their day a little bit.

2. Be nice to everyone. Open doors, say your pleases and thank yous and if you're in no hurry, why not let that poor, ruffled young man slip before you in the queue, because you can bet he'll be really grateful.

3. Do a good deed once a day (at least). Yes, even if it's quickly running to the shops for your sister because she has a stomach ache.

4. Play happy music quietly. Let it seep into their consciousness. Before they know it they'll be whistling 'Singin' in the Rain' and feel happier.

5. Tell your loved ones you care. Nothing says happy like a few words and a cuddle.

With any luck your entire community will be grinning like fools by the end of the week, and you'll feel good about yourself too. Let this guy be your guide:

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Dementia and the NHS

All over the world, Dementia sufferer numbers are rising at a worryingly fast rate. Kyra O’Reilly investigates how this could affect the NHS and the public’s future.

According to a recent report from Dementia UK, there are currently 750,000 people in the UK with dementia, two thirds of which are women. And this number is rising.

 It has been estimated that by 2021 that number will increase to 940,000 and by 2051 that number will have escalated to a staggering 1.7 million.

By that time, many people who are currently in their 20s could be at huge risk of this incurable condition.

With these figures, the question is; how will this affect our healthcare system?

Dementia is a psychiatric syndrome that causes severe memory loss, as well as causing a decline in normal brain functions like language, judgement and understanding.

The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which 62% of dementia sufferers have. However, there are several other kinds, including vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Fears for the future

Experts are concerned the NHS and care homes alike will not be able to cope with the rising number of cases due to recent figures released by Dementia UK.

Currently, there are many jobs at risk in the NHS, including doctors and nurses. With the NHS in danger of being the next to face monumental spending cuts, this number of frontline staff could drop perilously low.

The NHS has taken a hit in the past year already, with staff having a pay freeze and wards closing in several areas.

Mary*, a senior staff nurse, said: “The pay freeze is the government yet again kicking us nurses [when we’re down].

‘We always take a low [pay] raise anyway and they feel they are safe to do this as nurses very rarely strike- we are humane.

There are not enough staff in the wards and nursing homes at the moment and experts feel that this urgently needs to be addressed by the NHS and the public, as dementia can be dangerous in certain circumstances.

For example, if a sufferer spills a drink and then forgets it, they could slip over and injure themselves. If there are too few staff, something this simple can easily be missed.

In the future, experts foresee the decline of dementia wards and care homes, with relatives replacing the carers who were properly trained because the ratio of staff to patients is too low.

They also predict the deterioration of dementia healthcare in the NHS simply because there is not enough nursing staff or people willing to study for these positions.

Richard Sharples, a specialist doctor in older persons mental health, said: “There is an urgent need for better care of patients who are in hospitals. There needs to be urgent thinking and research into better ways of providing social care.”
It appears that it is up to the public need to get involved in order to make sure that their care is in safe hands as the outlook is currently not a positive one.

Plans for improvement

Mary had many ideas on how NHS care could be improved. She said: “With Dementia care in particular I would set up homes that really do care and treat people as if it was their home.”

She talked about a recent documentary that showed such a home, where the staff did everything with the dementia sufferers that they would do in a normal home. For example, they would help them do the washing, cooking and cleaning.
The staff loved their jobs, so they didn’t leave and had great morale. However, there was a waiting list to get in.

“I believe all homes should be like this in the future. Also, I feel more money could go into dementia research and see if we can detect early and find earlier treatments that are effective,” Mary said.

“[In the future], capital investment into the provision of wards that are ‘fit for purpose’ is likely to drop. The number of staff to patient ratio may not be adequately maintained. Medical cover is being stretched more thinly and will continue to do so,” said Richard.

“Treatment and suitable help for those with dementia is possible for the future. But this needs to be thought about now, rather than later, if it is to be done all over the UK and funded adequately.”