Nov 6th

Stay Well this Winter

By Mary B

We’re here to help you stay well this winter

Some important information from the NHS to help you stay well this winter


Stay well this winter


Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease. 

Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

Feeling unwell? Don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacist

At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Act quickly. 

The sooner you get advice from a pharmacist the better. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action. 

This can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal.

If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.

Make sure you get your flu jab

The flu virus strikes in winter and it can be far more serious than you think. Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly. That’s why the flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over, or if you have a long-term health condition. 

If you have young children or grandchildren they may also be eligible for a free flu vaccination. And if you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may also be eligible for the free flu jab. Just speak to your GP or pharmacist.

You can also find more information at 

Also, don’t forget that if you’re aged 65 or over, you are eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia. 

Ask your GP.


Keep warm 


It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.


Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). 

You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. 

Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights. Breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections. 

Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.

Wear several layers of light clothes. Several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer.

Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to. Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at

And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly. 



Check your medicine cabinet


Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to help get you and your family through the winter season. 

Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments, such as colds, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache).

So talk to your pharmacist for advice on getting the relief you need. 

To manage winter illness symptoms at home:

• Rest• Drink plenty of fluids• Have at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up• Use over-the-counter medications to help give relief. 




Make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or 

GP practice closes for Christmas. You can also order your repeat prescriptions online. To sign up to GP online services ask at your practice or to find out more 

visit, if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or any other medication, make sure you take them as directed.


Look out for other people 


Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help over the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people who are more frail than you.

Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery and cold weather can stop people from getting out and about. Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling under the weather.

Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out. If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.

And make sure they get any prescription medicines before the Christmas holidays start and if bad weather is forecast.

If they need help over the holiday period when the GP practice or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 and speak to a call adviser who will be able to direct you to a local service that is open. You can also find information at 


Five things we recommend you do:

Make sure you get your flu jab.

Keep your home at 18°C (65°F) or higher if you can.

Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.

Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell with the symptoms of a respiratory winter illness.

Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter.


Where to go for the right medical care

For more information and advice visit


For life threatening emergencies

If you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, call NHS 111 for clinical advice, assessment and for direction to the most appropriate services for treatment.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist. You can also access NHS advice at 


© Crown copyright 20173220113-17 2p 2m Aug 2017 (PAR)

This publication is available in alternative formats from the website or 

by emailing Public Health England at

Sep 21st

The Dementia Golden Ticket - An Emerging New Model of Care

By Christine B

Where we live in East Sussex, our local CCG has been working hard on developing a pathway of care for people who have dementia, in all it's forms.  This pilot project has been widely acclaimed, and has won awards including the National Primary Care Awards 2016 for "Pathway Innovation of the YearAward", and several other accolades.

The pilot was commissioned by the CCG in response to  a clinical review of dementia services which highlighted delays in receiving a diagnosis, limited access to services and limited choice, poor patient outcomes and the strain on carers.

Having heard so much about the project, I arranged a trip to the "Birthplace" of the Golden Ticket in Buxted, and took with me 7 other members of our local Patient Participation Groups - we arrived in a minibus, very ably driven by my husband, and we arrived on time despite getting lost due to my own stupidity!

We were blown away by what we heard and saw.  We had a talk from one of the GP surgery members (a Paramedic), who is leading on the project, and he told us that the Golden Ticket is transforming care for people with dementia, as they are being treated with a holisitic mix of services to address health and wellbeing in every aspect of their lives and that of their carers.  

Once diagnosis is confirmed, the person with dementia received their "Golden Ticket", which includes direct point of contact with the practice nurse; social activities including a "Memory" Cafe (which are open to all, including carers, giving the opportunity to chat and take part in activities), access to a "Dementia Guide" who is the main point of contact for support and advice and guidance not only for the person involved, but for the whole family.  Amongst things they do is to set up Advanced Care Plans.

"Blip" clinics are held for those moments of crisis and people are seen very quickly.

We were then taken in small groups to the Memory Cafe, which in this case is hosted in the local Pub!  It was a vibrant community - nobody looked or felt out of place or "different" - it was just a group of people enjoying a cuppa and activities - when we left the very noisy group, they were having a "musical" quiz (guessing the 2nd line of a song and then singing it).  Amongst one of the regulars was a little boy of about 3 years of age, who apparently had been a member since he was 4 months old!!

A happy and inspirational visit it was for us all.

All - for those who are inspired to have a look at the Pilot Project, here is the link that will explain everything better than I can:

Good luck all

Jun 27th

In reply to today's news about waiting times for the NHS

By Maureen J

A Tale of Two Doctors

Two patients limp into two different doctors’ offices with the same complaint:

Both have trouble walking and may require hip surgery.

The first patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.

The second patient sees his family doctor after waiting three weeks for an appointment. He waits another eight weeks to see a specialist, when he gets an x-ray, which is not reviewed for another week. Finally he has his surgery scheduled for six months from that time, pending decisions regarding his age and remaining value to society.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?



The FIRST is a Golden Retriever taken to a vet. The SECOND is a Senior Citizen.

May 15th

Dementia Awareness Week

By Mary B

It seems that every week is an awareness week for something........


However this particular subject - dementia - is of particular concern to me, as I lead a local initiative to make our town dementia friendly. I know many of us have experience of this terrible affliction through family members.


Alzheimer's Society want us all to become more aware of the following facts and figures: 


       225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one person every three minutes 

     Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK live with a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia.     This will soar to two million people by 2051 

     Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia 

     Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them 

     Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 

     Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting  

   Anyone looking for confidential advice, information and support, can call Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22. You can also email enquiries to or visit

Alzheimer's Society report ‘Building Dementia Friendly Communities: A priority for everyone’ can be found here:



Feb 25th

Hands on for Reiki, Anyone? from Julie B

By Mary B

Hands on for Reiki, Anyone?

Everyone wants optimum health and well being these days. Many people turn to alternative medicine and holistic remedies.
One wonderful alternative is Reiki - a kind of hand's on healing method which has been around from the end of the 19th Century.
It was started by Dr Mikao Usui, priest of a small university in Kyoto, Japan, and brought to the west by several Reiki disciples who'd studied under Usui's tuition.
Reiki transfers healing energy to the participant with the use of certain symbols and mantra's and hand positions on or around the body. The word 'Reiki' (pronounced ray-key) means Universal Life Energy and it flows from the highest level to the Chakra's of your body and soul, working from within.
Reiki is:


  • Safe
  • Natural
  • Centering
  • Balancing
  • Harmonising
  • Stress Relieving
  • Heals at all levels.
A person may need several sessions depending on their problem. Most practitioners give their client's an hour for a full Reiki treatment. Sometimes, it is beneficial to only give half an hour and go direct to the problem, or ailment. To relax completely an hour is needed for this 'magic energy' to work, alongside soothing music, and I would use, if possible, a comforting blanket!
Sometimes Reiki will find other problems in the body and the client may feel pain in another part of their being, but that means that the Reiki is working - if not where it's meant to!
I have given healing to bad backs and arms and it has worked - on only one session. But sometimes, as mentioned, it can take longer.
If you love your body and want it to stop hurting Reiki can be the answer; it relieves stress and tension, can treat acute problems as it balances the body and chakra's as a whole thing. It supports personal growth, giving intuition, creativity and focus.
It is effective on animals as well, and can be used on yourself as well as others. It can help build energy and vitality. Reiki works at the causal level and helps 'unblock' any blockages, and it flows through your clothing without any need to undress. The receiver usually feels a deep warmth and relaxation.
I had one man with a very painful shoulder which couldn't be raised. After 20 minutes of reiki, (to which he remarked on the warmth from my hand), I asked him if he could try and raise his arm a little - his arm went straight up to the ceiling!
That is only one example. I used reiki on a pet gerbil of ours and it perked up no end, running around it's cage, free of pain. It did die some months later, as it had a lump in its chest, we discovered later, but I like to think I was instrumental in helping ease it's pain and distress in a peaceful way.
Using a certain symbol distant healing can be sent to someone through time and space - if you have that person's name. Ideally, it is best if they know the time of this healing for they can make themselves comfortable to receive it.
Through the seven chakras of the body Reiki can cover the upper brain, right eye and pineal gland, as well as the lower brain, left eye, nose, spine, ears and pituitary gland, throat, thyroid gland, upper lungs and arms and digestive track, heart, lungs, circulation and thymus gland, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas and solar plexus, reproductive organs, urogenital system, kidneys, gonads and legs, andrenal glands, bladder, genitals and spine. Reiki covers it all!
Each Chakra corresponds to certain hands on therapy when placed lightly on the body. This is not a massage technique, rather a unique energy transference from one trained being to another, and it can be used with other complimentary medicines. There are several hand positions that aid the healing process and each position can take up to ten minutes, which makes Reiki so gentle, refreshing and relaxing!
By Julie B.
Dec 8th

Happy Hygge!

By Mary B



Winter can be a tough time of year for everyone. The days get shorter and the nights get longer and colder.

This can drain you and leave you longing for summer, flicking back through your holiday photos or planning your next getaway. 


That’s why the Danish concept of Hygge, a form of self-care specifically in the winter months, has recently become popular in the UK. Hygge (pronounced “hooga” in case you were wondering) is one of those Nordic words which doesn’t have an exact literal translation in English. It actually comes from a Norwegian word which means “wellbeing” but has since been adapted by the Danes for a more specific context.


Hygge is designed to help you deal with the winter by seeking comfort, warmth and cosiness. Hygge revolves around being warm, cosy and happy, particularly with life’s simple pleasures. In essence, swapping the harsher edges of the colder months for roaring fires, mugs of gluhwein or cocoa, big jumpers and other such classic winter treats. 


Hygge is sitting beside a roaring fire, Hygge is being surrounded by your loved ones, Hygge is the domestic contentment you can only get from lounging on the sofa with a cup of tea. Hygge could come from spending time with family and friends at home, or getting wrapped up and heading to a Christmas market. It’s just about winter wellbeing.


When you put it all together like this, Hygge is probably the reason why Danish people are reported to be the happiest in the world.


In Denmark the traditional Christmas meal is very hearty and consists of any of a range of meats, plus potatoes, gravy and vegetables. For dessert everyone has a rice pudding, one of which has an almond inside. Whoever gets the rice pudding with the almond inside is given a very special “almond gift” to celebrate Christmas.


Hearty meals are a perfect way to enjoy winter, not only are you indoors while you’re cooking up a storm, but you get the satisfaction of dining out on the meal you have created afterwards. What could be more Hygge than that!?



With thanks to DFDS and Steph Fox.


Nov 4th

Views on the NHS

By Maureen J

Too many people and not enough money to go round. It has been like this for a very long time. Money will always be found for war, but there’s never enough for peace. Growing old is a curse that all must come to – if they survive long enough. Being valued for what you have contributed throughout your lifetime is no longer relevant. If you’re old – you’re a nuisance as soon as you need those regular visits to the GP or hospital.

About ten years ago there was a vibrant older people’s movement holding enthusiastic annual rallies at Blackpool that engendered little or no coverage by the national media. Neither the much publicised Joan Bakewell, Tony Blair’s appointed Older People’s Champion, nor Ruth Marks, the Older People’s Champion appointed by the newly devolved Welsh Assembly Government, considered it worth making the effort to do more than send representatives rather than appear in person when invited to attend.

As for the NHS, it’s been a gradual descent for a once great concept into the current chaos since Barbara Castle was Health Minister and started tinkering with a system that was working reasonably well. Sadly, successive ‘Health Ministers’ have considered it their duty to add their own five-pennyworth of tinkering ever since – until we are now faced with a mire of bureaucratic paperwork, mismanagement, and wasted money that probably began with the catastrophic mistake of getting rid of matrons, deputy matrons, almoners and the chairman of the board of governors who oversaw the day to day running of every hospital and then replacing them with a plethora of clerks, secretaries, receptionists, administrators, managers and chief executives; all of whom have to be paid – some with exorbitant salaries – instead of providing the necessary number of nurses and doctors so vital to an effective service.

Nurses used to be trained in their own hospitals – and were excellent at their job – they had to be or matron would have descended on them like a battle-ship in full sail. Nowadays, too many new nurses have degrees first, then start nursing. They are adept at pressing the right computer buttons, but appear to be sparing with the actual caring-for-patients that might involve menial tasks like washing and tending to the very personal, but basic side of nursing as we knew it. This might of course be because numbers are too few, or because those with degrees consider themselves too well qualified for such demeaning tasks; either way, patients suffer – with often fatal results.

Oct 22nd

Why Warmth Matters - at all times

By Mary B

Why warmth matters

I don't normally share this sort of information on DropBy as it is only of relevance in Surrey. However, after reading about a member's mother who has been poorly, I thought it might be helpful to post this news item.....     I am sure most counties will be running similar programmes, even if they are not funded by Scottish Power!

"Thanks to funding from Scottish Power, Surrey Community Action is launching a new ‘Warmth Matters’ project, which will give practical advice and support to families on tight budgets to help make their homes warmer and healthier.

The project aims to help people living in fuel poverty, particularly young families, by providing free impartial advice and practical ideas to keep their homes warm and healthy and save them money.

Fuel poverty is the result of high fuel prices, low incomes and high fuel bills due to energy inefficient homes. Families and older people who are on low incomes and who live in older properties which are hard to insulate often have to choose between heating their home or paying for food.

Living in a cold house can cause a variety of health problems. Being cold for long periods can increase blood pressure, putting people at risk of a heart attack, stroke or hypothermia.  For people with chronic illness being cold can make conditions worse, particularly breathing or cardiovascular problems. There is also evidence that children who live in colder homes find it harder to concentrate at school. Living in a cold home can also cause mental health issues as well as making it harder to recover from illness and hospital treatments.

Claire Dawson from the ‘Warmth Matters’ project is running free group sessions at centres across Surrey to help people find the best fuel deals, get their homes warm even on a tight budget and help keep families as healthy as possible over the winter. There will also be opportunities after the group session to meet Claire to discuss individual concerns such as bills, grants and any specific problems about heating.

For more information or to book a Warmth Matters advice session for a group of your beneficiaries please contact Claire Dawson via email or on 01483 566072." 



Sep 16th

Five Alzheimer’s Resource every Caregiver Needs to Know

By Mary B

A guest blog from Max Gottlieb at Senior Planning based in the USA.


Although the exact number is unknown, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly eleven million Americans are providing care for a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They also estimate that this voluntary group contributes around eighteen billion hours of care per year, totaling $220 billion of unpaid labor. That doesn’t even include the foregone wages they could be making if they weren’t caregiving. All of these numbers are expected to rise with the coming tide of baby boomers.


With no cure and no real means of prevention yet, Alzheimer’s will continue to place a heavy load not only on those who are directly suffering, but on friends and relatives as well. Anyone who is familiar with Alzheimer’s knows that caregiving is not even the hardest part. Caregivers are forced to see those they love become entirely different people, sometimes losing their very essence. Although this sounds extremely bleak, there are many people going through the same thing, and as a result, there are resources available. Below are five resources that every caregiver should be aware of:


1. AgingCare describes itself as “your partner in caregiving.” This site is for caregivers of all types. It ranges from people dealing with diabetes, to Parkinson’s, to Alzheimer’s. It’s a rich resource that can answer most caregiving questions, whether the questions are financial or emotional in nature.


2. This is the homepage of the United Kingdom’s Alzheimer’s Society. It has tons of helpful articles as well as ways to get involved with finding a cure. It also has very active forums which allow anyone who is affected by dementia to participate, whether you’re a friend, caregiver, or suffering from it yourself.


3. The Alzheimer’s Association in the United States runs this site and it has forums dedicated to caregivers or those suffering from dementia. The community is very active and incredibly friendly.


4. This site was founded by a woman named Joan Gershman whose husband died in June 2015 after a twelve-year battle with the disease. Self described as “a place of comfort for spouses who are trying to cope with the Alzheimer’s/dementia of their husband/wife,” this site specifically focuses on the issues of dealing with the disease as spouse. Since these issues are unique, this is an incredibly helpful website in finding likeminded people who are going through the same thing.


5. HealthUnlocked is one of the largest social networks for people with health concerns. It supplies answers to all of your health questions, latest news, and support from people in similar situations. Since it’s not specifically devoted to Alzheimer’s, it’s beneficial for those who want to discuss the disease in the context of other health issues that may be present. Caregivers will find support and answers to any questions they may have.


September is world Alzheimer’s Month, but for those dealing with the disease, the concern exists year round. With Alzheimer’s prevalence, those dealing with it need not feel isolated or alone. There are many resources available beyond the five I mentioned so if you have any favorites don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments.


Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors or the disabled and specializes in long-term care; including memory care, at-home care services, and applying for state and federal benefits.

Jul 24th


By Phyl G
Elders may not feel thirst as keenly. 
Scientists warn that the ability to be aware of and respond to thirst is slowly blunted as we age. As a result, older people do not feel thirst as readily as younger people do. This increases the chances of them consuming less water and consequently suffering dehydration.
One sign of proper hydration is the color of the urine—it should be clear or a pale yellow.
 Copied and pasted this from an article I was reading
Phyl G
© DropBy 2010-2017