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Social networking can help dementia and other health issues among the elderly

Encouraging pensioners, especially those in the early stages of dementia, to meet a wider network of friends can ease a range of health issues.

On World Mental Health Day, Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton want elderly people to connect with a wider group of friends. Charity worker Lauren Jones says those who do spend less time at their GP and in hospital.

She runs a "speed befriending" event where pensioners can meet dozens of new people in a single day.

Singing, and ending pensioners' isolation, can help dementia patients

A choir session for dementia patients and their carers Credit: ITV

Singing can help people with dementia, according to experts from Merseyside.

On World Mental Health day, pensioner support groups and those who help dementia patients, suggests that joining-in activities like choirs can be beneficial.

Pensioners attending Credit: ITV

Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton also say that "speed befriending" groups can ease wider health issues.

They invite pensioners to meet up with an array of strangers in a hall, spend a few minutes talking to each other, then move to speak to someone else.

The process helps reduce isolation. Those who take part, say the charity, spend less time at their GP and in hospital.


Headteacher of school at centre of Ebola row criticises parents 'misguided hysteria'

Kofi Mason-Sesay Credit: MEN Syndication

The headteacher of a Stockport school at the centre of an Ebola row has criticised parents for their 'misguided hysteria'. Nine year old Kofi Mason-Sesay, from Sierra Leone, was due to join classes at St Simon's Catholic Primary School in Hazel Grove as part of an arrangement with an education charity. The placement was cancelled after mums and dads said they were worried their children could become infected with the disease, despite him being cleared by health officials.

Kofi’s mum Miriam, who works with the Sierra Leone charity and travels around schools in the UK as part of regular fundraising drives, was told she will also not be allowed to visit the school.

The following letter was sent to parents yesterday:

I understand that there is a lot of misinformation about how Ebola is spread.

“A significant number of parents have been in touch with me to express their fears. As you know, I always listen to parents. Ebola cannot be spread as some parents have suggested.

“There are many parents who believe that the visit should have gone ahead and that we are contributing to misunderstandings by cancelling it.

“In this instance, it has been very hard to juggle justice to Miriam and the views of parents. Of course I would never endanger any child or colleague and I have to put my trust in the professionals.

“It is with great sadness that we decided to cancel the visit; the misguided hysteria emerging is extremely disappointing, distracting us from our core purpose of educating your children and is not an environment that I would wish a visitor to experience.”

– Head teacher Elizabeth Inman


Special time for Alder Hey to look back - and forward to the future

It's a special time as Alder Hey Children's Hospital celebrates 100 years and looks forward to the future. As young people are key to everything they do the hospital wanted them to create artwork for the new site as Vicky Charnock, arts co-ordinator at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital explains.

Children help Alder Hey celebrate 100 years

Children celebrate Alder Hey Hospital in pictures Credit: Alder Hey

Alder Hey Children's hospital celebrates its 100th birthday this month.

Nursing through the ages - pictures of Alder Hey Credit: Alder Hey

Artwork from Liverpool children is being displayed outside the new hospital site to mark the milestone. The hospital moves to its new site next year.

Alder Hey founded in 1914 moves to new site next year Credit: Alder Hey

Alder Hey was originally a mansion set in 25 acres. It was sold in 1910 to be a workhouse for the poor to include an area for paupers' children. The doors were opened in 1914, but because of the First World War - it was never used in that way.

During the War, it was used as a military hospital, but the wards which had been designated to children were still retained for them. At the end of the war it became a children's hospital although in the Second World War it also took in casualties from the war.

It went on to become one of Europe's busiest children's hospitals now treating 270,000 children and caring for their families every year.

It was the first hospital to test Penicillin saving a child from Pneumonia in 1944 and was the first in the UK to have a neonatal unit.

It's now running a £30m appeal to raise money for life saving equipment and facilities for Alder Hey in the Park.

Mental health summit held in Greater Manchester

The police and NHS will meet in Greater Manchester today to discuss how to tackle mental health issues. It follows a pilot scheme in Oldham to help officers identify people who need support from professionals when they attend incidents. The scheme has since been extended across the whole area.

The mental health triage scheme gives police officers 24 hour telephone contact with specialist mental health teams to make sure the person involved gets the right care. Previously officers made a decision based on their own assessment. Following its launch in Oldham in December last year, the service has resulted in quicker assessments for people suffering a mental health crisis. Police say the the service means people suffering a mental health crisis are getting the support they need more quickly and are being looked after by a healthcare professional – not by a police officer and not in a police cell.

We need to make sure that the vulnerable people in our community get the care and support they need and this scheme is enabling that. It’s clear the scheme is having a positive impact, not just on reducing demands on policing, but more importantly improving how people suffering from a mental health crisis are treated. This is an example of genuine partnership working and it’s great to see it rolled out across Greater Manchester.”

– Tony Lloyd, Crime Commissioner

We have to work in partnership to ensure people suffering from mental health problems and their carers receive the most appropriate service when they need it.

“GMP has been working closely with mental health specialists across Greater Manchester to provide training to officers so they know how to deal with people suffering a mental health crisis, to support those individuals and treat them with respect. Officers also have access to mental health teams 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that people can get the help they need much quicker and the demands on police officer time is reduced.”

– David Wilkinson, Strategic Lead for Mental Health
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