Monday, 20 February 2017

Technology


While I was working, I had two computers on my desk.

One for general work, like estimates, health and safety, reports and electrical testing etc.

The other computer controlled every boiler room and ventialtion systems in the college, and if there was a fault, I could sort it out without leaving my chair.

These days I have lost a lot of this information,  and I am just hanging onto using a tablet computer for basic things.
But I think that it's all down to understand and processing the information, which is in front of me.
I struggle at times listening to what is being said, and hope that I have understood it properly,  before I answer .

I was horrified when  I started writing a blog, because I did not recognise certain obvious things, and even these days it's a struggle. I have noticed that when Google change things on the blog, I get confused and uncertain about what I need to do.

But it's all down to a lack of basic information processing, and it's becoming harder by the day.

It's also very  frustrating after being an engineer for 28 years

My brain does not process information the way it used to do it, and there days it has become a nightmare at times.

However these days we hear that everything should be done via a computer and the internet, and it's becoming alarming when I see so many things turning this way

It's all well and good if you were brought up with this technology and understand it
But  many people simply don't understand technology, and many find it overpowering or intimidating

I find things so much easier to cope with, when I am discussing  something face to face with a real person, rather than relying on the computer, or listening to ore recorded messages on the telephone

But it's not just transactions from  a bank or local council, it's everywhere we look.

After a diagnosis we are told about support lines, or support centres, where we can call and get support, but many people like myself, would prefer to be sat down, talking face to face with a person we can see.

Websites are becoming so complex these days, and it takes me a while to find out the correct section, I  need to look at.

It seems that many websites also change things round on a regular basis, just like supermarkets, which is fine to a certain extent, but when you have problems processing information as I do, it all becomes a nightmare.

While I can understand a website being changed to make it easier for customers to use I certainly don't think they are in anyway dementia friendly.

I do think that a lot if websites would benefit, if the companies involved  asked people for their  views rather than assuming that all is fine

They may well be fine for business people, but that's about it.

However more and more railway stations are converting to automatic ticket machines, rather than having people in kiosks selling you the tickets, and this is becoming a step too far for me.

Machines like computers don't understand that the person standing there has information processing problems, and some of these things cut you off, if you take too long.

As well as that, people standing waiting to use the machines usually get agitated and annoyed because you are causing a hold up,

Technology goes in other directions too these days, as many people expect us to have smart phones, so that we can get emails, and online tickets for trains etc.

But we must remember that there are thousands of people in this country who are unable to use technology for one reason or another, so we must never leave them behind.

Yes there are millions in the country who use a phone every moment of the day, and never go anywhere without one clamped to their ears, but other people don't understand or want to go there

So please don't expect everyone to enjoy able to use technology, because it cannot ever work.

I wonder if we are losing too much control these days, and machines are taking over.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Social care cuts

We are seeing cuts to our social care in many local areas of the  UK, and this problem will only get worse before it can be improved.

The NHS is struggling to cope, because people are not getting the social care they really need, and when this happens, hospitals get clogged up with patients who should be at home or in care homes etc.

This problem cannot be allowed to carry on, and if councils cannot or will not provide social care, it should be taken over and provided be the NHS, and then the councils should be charged for it.

As we know social care is funded locally from things like council tax.

But there is a major problem with this, and that is that the council tax raised in your area, is not used locally, but is sent to Whitehall where it is then spilt amongst other councils in the UK.

Many councils are facing savage cuts in funding, while at the same time they are seeing their council taxes being used by other county councils, who in many cases are much better off.

These councils cannot possibly carry on providing social care  when  they are faced with these savage cuts, and to be honest,  many people have no idea where their council taxes are spent.

While I understand some councils are very small, population wise, and possibly need extra money, our council tax from the North East subsidises places like Surrey which is very wealthy.

This leaves me feeling very annoyed at this Tory Government, because they have made many  savage cuts to the council subsides over the last 10 or so years, and this simply cannot go on.

A few years ago the councils in the North East  did not get their quota of Rock salt for the roads, because the government thought that it was more important to give it to the southern regions.

This was disgusting because the North gets a lot more snow and ice than the southern regions, so the roads here

Councils cannot go on having these savage cuts without loosing more services, which are already down to the minimum already

It seems wrong to me that money raised in local council taxes should be sent off to other councils in times like this, especially wealthy councils in the London Boroughs.

It's also very  wrong for a government to throw money at projects like "HS2" and Cross rail, glorified train sets for certain areas,  when the NHS and social care are in such a terrible state.

It's also fairly obvious that this government does not like Labour run councils, but they do not consider the fact that many millions of people actually voted Tory in the first place, no matter which political party  are ruling their council

However social care like the NHS,  is important to all, yet it's not being provided because of these these false cuts, especially when the government is wasting billions of pounds on unwanted schemes. 

Robots and care of the elderly

Academics turn to robots to solve aged care dilemma

Many of us remember being enthralled as kids by the future of robots. Remember the Jetsons with their robotic maid?
         

This could be the future of aged care.

Many of us remember being enthralled as kids by the future of robots.
Remember the Jetsons with their robotic maid?

But how many of us actually thought we’d ever end up with a robotic helper of our own?
It could be a reality sooner than we think, but instead of helping us around the home, robots could find their home in a much more socially responsible role.

We’ve all heard about fears of a future shortage of aged care workers and a big increase in demand for aged care facilities and services, and now academics think they might have the answer.

According to reports in the BBC, a group of academics believe that robots could be the answer to the crisis facing the future of caring for the elderly.

That’s right, researchers from two British universities are working on a multi-million dollar project to develop robots that could help look after us when we get older.

The robots, named Pepper Robots by the researchers from Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire, could help with everyday tasks from helping you take your tablets to offering companionship.

While it’s hard to imagine having a social interaction with a robot, it could very well be a reality for aged care facilities that are struggling to maintain their staff to resident ratios.

Professor Irena Papadopoulos told the BBC that the robots wouldn’t be replacing nurses or aged care workers, they’d simply support them provide care.
“As people live longer, health systems are put under
increasing pressure,” she said.
“Assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressures in hospitals and care homes as well as improving care delivery at home and promoting independent living for the elderly.”

And the robots could expand beyond just caring for residents in nursing homes.

The researchers are hoping that robots could also become acceptable to help care for people in their own homes, keeping them in their own home for longer and reducing the demand for nursing homes and aged care.

So, just how smart are these robots?

Well, the Pepper Robots will apparently be able to speak and move hand gestures.

They’ll also be able to move around without any assistance and they’ll even be smart enough to identify when the person they’re caring for is unwell or in pain.

While some of you probably doubt you’ll ever see this technology, it’s well and truly on its way.

Robots like the Pepper Robots are already helping people in their homes and in hospitals in Japan, and they could be just three years away from being used in the UK.

While the technology has the researchers excited, it’s sure to bring up questions for many older people who are suspicious or doubtful about technology.

It raises the ultimate question, would you trust a robot to look after you or your elderly parents?

What do you think about this?

Three Nations Dementia Working Group


I was told two weeks ago,  that a new dementia Working group is being set up, and I had been invited to get involved with it

The members were drawn from England,  Wales and Northern Ireland.

It's been a while since I did anything on this front, due to the fact we were unsure about my diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia, and my recurring chest problems, which have made things so much worse too. While the LBD  diagnosis has been sorted out,   my chest problems are still going on.

However the thought of doing something positive, to get others with dementia  involved,  spurred me into  action.

Scotland has had its own Dementia Working group for quite a few years, but the original English working group was restricted in what it was allowed to do

So this is  a new start, with a new working group and new participants. 

However travelling to London these days is becoming quite expensive if you are unable to book in advance, even with a disabled rail card, which seems to have little effect on the ticket prices now.

Because this was going to be a very early start in London, we decided to go down the day before and stay over for the night, because I struggle with early mornings, and the  thought of trying to think clearly in a meeting after a very early start, does not appeal.

In all honestly I would have needed to get up at around 4-30, to get myself ready, and then wait for a service bus to Durham, in order to get the 6-30 train from Durham into London

The meeting was being held at the Alzheimer's Societies new  office in Crutched Friars in  London, but as we had not been to this office before,  I had no idea where I was going.

However we found that we had stayed in the same hotel as others, so it was easier to find out where we were going.

When we got to the  meeting we found that we were with some old friends, and one or two new people, who I had heard of but never met before.

The meeting was facilitated by Matt Murray Engagement and Participation Manager, and an Alzheimer's Society Director Brett Terry.

The idea of this meeting is to give people with dementia a voice in these three Countries.

Although this was a group of people with the various types of dementia at the event, we hope to encourage others with the illness,  to step up and get involved.

Many regions were represented

Chris Roberts,  North Wales,    Linda Willis,  and South Wales.
Danny Brown &  Liz Cunningham, Northern Ireland.
Ken Clasper,  North East England.     Joy Watson, North West England.
Wendy Mitchell, Yorkshire and Humberside
Shelagh Robinson, West Midlands.     Alex Preston, East Midlands
Peter White,  East England.     Hilary Doxford, South West England
Keith Oliver, South East England.   Dianne Campbell, London

It is hoped that we can encourage new members to come forward and take over from us, when our terms  of office are over. This  can be one, or two years which ever is the best for those taking part

But anyone who is interested can contact there nearest named  contact, and put their names forward
It must be remembered that this is a group of interesting people,  who want to help others, and they are all very friendly to be with 

If anyone in the North East of England would like to get involved, I would love to hear from them and, I will gladly go to any groups in this area to talk about the Working group.

This Working Group is not restricted to Alzheimer's Society groups, but also open to independent groups wanting more information.

I am struggling with my healtlh these days, but I  got  involved in the hope that sooner or later someone else from the North East will step up and get more involved

This is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to speak up for everyone with the illness, while  getting together and meeting new friends from around the UK.

So why not contact me if you live in this area.

Ken2clasper@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from people, from the Northumberland and Durham areas, who wish to be involved