Life

Sea Hero Quest: The Key To Dementia?

As part of the world’s largest dementia experiment, a virtual reality game has been designed to test one of the first symptoms; the loss of the ability to navigate.

As reported on the BBC News, with the support of Alzheimer’s Research UK and funding from Deutsche Telekom, the game has been developed from an app to virtual reality. This will not only allow for greater depth of research, but help in diagnosing the disease.

The game challenges you to find your way through a complex map of waterways, islands and oceans, testing your sense of direction and collecting anonymous data as you play.

The first game found that your sense of direction declines during your twenties and, that men have a better sense of direction than women.

Although it isn’t expected that many people will play the developed game, it will still provide more information than can be collated in a laboratory setting.

Max Scott-Slade who has worked with scientists from three universities (University College London, University of East Anglia, and ETH Zurich) has said:

“It’s interesting to try to make something that’s normally quite a boring subject matter and lab based and bring it to the public and make it as fun as possible. The value for us is to create a much richer dataset, we’re capturing 15 times more data from the virtual reality version because we’re separating out where the head looks and where the boat is moving.”

The ultimate aim of the test is to highlight dementia in its earliest stages.

With 850,000 people living with the disease in the UK, most will have suffered the disease for at least a decade before symptoms present.

Currently, there are no treatments that can prevent dementia, but it has been acknowledged that an early diagnosis, before irreversible brain damage, will help future treatments take effect.

Dr David Reynolds from Alzheimer’s Research UK told the BBC:

“What we really want to be doing is identifying people with dementia 10 or 15 years earlier than we do at the moment. A game like Sea Hero Quest and understanding how we navigate will help us get to a much earlier diagnosis.”

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Are These The Care Homes Of The Future?

What if care homes were no longer like a home, and more like a community with shops, salons, and cinemas? This could very well be the future for British care.

As reported in the Guardian, Paul Burstow, the chairman of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)wrote a report identifying what the government, Care Quality Commision (CQC), investors and providers need to do to change the current structure of our care homes.

Whilst researching for this report, Mr Burstow travelled to the Netherlands and visited a gated village called “De Hogeweyk”. This village is designed for people with dementia.

Mr Burstow reported that nobody wore a uniform, all staff are trained in hospitality, and the village is designed to mimic an actual village with shops, bars and homes.

WCS Care (WCS) has taken this approach, and is now running 12 homes, soon to be 13. The aim here is to encourage them to lead a “normal” life; going shopping, washing up, cooking, setting the table etc.

Their newest home has six households, each with fourteen residents, and their own kitchen. Their meals are laid out in their kitchens, and they’re encouraged to make their choice themselves.

In WCS, everything is run as close to the outside world as possible. The laundrette for example has staff, and they deal with the “customers”, allowing them to do as much or as little as they wish. They also have a Doctor’s surgery, and a dentist, all with waiting rooms and receptionists.

They also believe in residents spending as much time outside as possible and have built in cycle tracks, hairdressers, and cinemas.

These homes are designed around the philosophy that everything is driven by the residents. They only do what they want to do, which ensures they continue enjoying life?

Not only have WCS seemingly improved the quality of care, they’re also overhauling the technology surrounding caring for residents. They’ve introduced overnight acoustic monitoring which monitor the sounds residents make when they sleep. This helps staff assess whether they need to assist the resident, reducing the number of nightly checks, therefore reducing the disturbance for the residents.

This monitoring also offers peace of mind for family members as their loved one is monitored constantly.

This technology has already reduced the number of falls during the night, in one home by 30% as staff can instantly hear when a resident is moving around.

Similarly, using this technology helped staff recognise residents that were struggling to sleep. To change this, instead of ushering them back to bed, they formed a club; chatting, playing games, having their hair styled etc. Over a short space of time, their body clocks adjusted and they were able to sleep.

Due to their nature of keeping the residents quality of life at the forefront of everything, WCS have already received six outstanding CQC assessments.

So can we take their model, their aspirational and innovative model, and make it a reality for the future of British care?

Registration Fees for Lasting Powers of Attorney are Reducing.

All Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) must be registered before they can be used. This process is carried out at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and until recently, this cost £110 per LPA.

It has now been announced that as of 1st April 2017, the cost to register your LPA will now be £82 making a saving of £28!

Despite the registration service becoming more efficient, Ministers are hoping that reducing the fees will encourage more people to take out an LPA, protecting themselves and their future.

For those who have recently submitted an application which is to be paid after 1st April, the difference in price will be refunded and Solicitors have been instructed to return the difference to the person who paid the original fee.

LCS are currently offering a fantastic special offer of 2 for 1 on all LPAs which now makes this too good to miss.

To arrange your appointment, contact LCS now on 0345 017 8250 for peace of mind for you and your family.

London attack

London attack: Seven arrested overnight in light of London terror.

Yesterday, Wednesday 22nd March, marked one year since the horrific terror attack that took place in Brussels. Yesterday, London was also given a shocking reminder that terrorists are still at large, living amongst us and will strike when we least expect it.

The Metropolitan Police have stated their belief that the attacker acted alone, yet despite this, raided and successfully arrested seven others from addresses in London and Birmingham. What rings shockingly true, is that Teresa May has revealed not only was yesterday’s attacker British born, he was already known to the MI5 being investigated years ago in relation to extremist terrorism; however he was not considered to be part of the current intelligence picture.

The attacker has not yet been formally identified, however it has been confirmed that the car used in the attack was hired from Enterprise in Birmingham, and a neighbour has identified the attacker as living at one of the addresses raided there.

PC Keith Palmer, one of four confirmed deaths, has been hailed a hero with close friend MP James Cleverly calling for him to receive recognition for his courageous efforts. “He was a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him here again only a few months after being elected. Would Teresa May, in recognition of the work that he did and the other Police Officers and publice servants in the House, consider recognising his gallantry and sacrifice formally with a posthumous recognition?”

Teresa May replied that he had paid the “ultimate sacrifice by giving his life in the heart of democracy”. She also assured Mr Cleverly that it “will of course be considered in due course”.

Mr Palmer, one of the unarmed Policemen standing on the gate, is known to have tried to stop the attacker as he burst through the gates into New Palace Yard. He was stabbed multiple times before plain clothed Police shot the attacker three times in the chest.

Former Staff Sgt Tony Davis, and Captain Mike Crofts witnessed the attack and were first on the scene to administer CPR to Mr Palmer. The two men were leaving a Parliamentary meeting on boxing when they became embroiled in the attack. They ordered an air ambulance and fought desperately to save Mr Palmer until they were joined by Tobias Ellwood, the Tory Foreign Minister who took over from their efforts.

In haunting scenes, Mr Ellwood a former soldier himself, was pictured in his desperate attempts to resuscitate Mr Palmer. He was surrounded by Paramedics, Police Officers and Doctors as he administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and attempted to stem the blood flowing from the officer’s wounds. He is said to be devastated by the death, and stayed with Mr Palmer until the air ambulance arrived.

This horrific tragedy has called for a review of the well-known “weak spot” and the possibility of Police being armed at the gate, as they are around the perimeter of the building.

So far, there have been forty injured with four confirmed deaths; Mr Palmer, Aysha Frade, a man in his 50s and the terrorist himself. A minutes silence was held today to honour the casualties.

The attack as it happened

  1. Terrorist drives at high speed onto Westminster Bridge, mounts the pavement and mows down several pedestrians.
  2. The grey Hyundai i40 is crashed into the railings outside the Palace of Westminster and the attacker, brandishing two knives, bursts through the gates into New Palace Yard.
  3. He stabs Mr Palmer multiple times before being shot three times in the chest with a hand gun.
  4. Parliament is placed into lockdown with MPs being held in Chamber, and Teresa May is evacuated.
NI rise for the self-employed

What National Insurance rise?

In a spectacular humiliating U-turn, Philip Hammond has scrapped plans to increase National Insurance (NI) for the self-employed.

As this announcement came just days after Teresa May pushed this back for review to the Autumn Budget, there’s been speculation over whether this was a joint decision or one taken solely by Mrs May. Despite it leaving a £2 billion hole in the Budget, it is believed Mrs May is concerned that breaking the party’s manifesto pledge of “no increases in VAT, NI contributions or Income Tax” would do significant damage to the Conservative’s reputation.

As more people are turning to self-employment, Mr Hammond could be forgiven for attempting to reduce the tax gap between the employed and self-employed. He has strongly defended his policy claiming it would’ve evened out the playing field as the self-employed receive many of the same benefits, including a state pension.

Despite his efforts, Mr Hammond has come up against criticism with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell urging him to apologise. Mr McDonnell expressed that he found it “shocking and humiliating” that Mr Hammond had been forced to withdraw a decision announced one week ago. He also felt that if the Chancellor had spent “less time writing stale jokes for his speech, they may not have been in this mess”.

It seems the Conservatives were split over this decision as some felt the policy was beneficial as it would not only reduce the gap between the employed and self-employed, but provide money that could be focused into Britain’s lowest earners. Ryan Shorthouse, Director of BrightBlue felt “the focus of the Government should be on softening the cuts to in-work benefits, not reversing the Class 4 NI rise”.

Mr Hammond has promised not to increase NI for the rest of this Parliament, and expressed that the Government will be reviewing other self-employed benefits such as paternity rights.

Budget 2017

“We Are the Party of the NHS”.

Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced the Spring Budget.

Mr Hammond spoke very highly of Social care, stating that he “paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of carers” currently in the system. Although Nursing wasn’t specifically mentioned, an extra £2 billion of funding was declared for Social Care services in England over the next three years, with £1 billion made available in 2017-18.

He also declared another £100 million for triage systems in emergency departments, with the aim to release pressure and help manage the “inappropriate A+E attendances”.

In a bid that received a somewhat mixed reception, self-employed Nurses are now to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions from April 2018. As both sets of workers can claim similar benefits, Mr Hammond believes the age gap in NI can no longer be justified.

Despite this announcement meaning an additional £145 million, he did receive criticism for not discussing a raise in pay for Nurses. It has recently been discussed that a more attractive salary would help retain vital Nurses and attracts people to the profession. Jeremy Corbyn MP stated that “Mr Hammond had a duty to end the pay cap and award a pay rise to the 5 million public servants whom we rely on day in day out”.

There were also substantial changes for working families, as the free childcare entitlement is also set to double to 30 hours per week.

The Budget at a Glance

Tax and NI

  • It will be reviewed in the Autumn Budget whether the self-employed earning more than £16,200 will pay increased NI contributions.
  • The tax free allowance will rise to £12,500 by 2020.

Health

  • £325 million to be made available for the first Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) ahead of the Autumn Budget.
  • Extra funding for STPs to be announced in the Autumn Budget.
  • £100 million for triage systems in emergency departments.

Social Care

  • £2 billion grant for Social Care in England over the next three years, with £1 billion available in 2017-18.
  • Green Paper to be produced on future funding.

Childcare

  • £2,000 a year for working families towards the cost of childcare (under 12) to be made available for all eligible families by December 2017.
  • Free childcare entitlement to double to 30 hours per week.
lasagne app

Would You Buy Next Door’s Lasagne?

Do you think you’re the next Jamie Oliver? Does your lasagne make you feel like Nigella? A new app has been developed that allows busy people the opportunity to purchase food from nearby home cooks.

Finnish duo Leo Wuoristo and Ilkka Salo are the brains behind the food app “Trybe” and believe it is about to take the market by storm. The app connects domestic cooks to a local network, to enable busy professionals the opportunity to buy home cooked food from the area.

Salo himself thought up the concept, by accident it seems, when his neighbour offered him a home cooked curry to save him going to buy his dinner in the pouring rain. He gave her £5 and she gave him the best curry he’d ever had.

After meeting up with his friend Wuoristo, they realised there must be thousands of people who find themselves not only with no time to cook a decent, healthy meal, but who go back to an empty home and eat alone.

The duo individually meet every potential cook to try their dishes, check out their kitchen and photograph their food. They also insist that every cook is visited by the council, and once they’re approved, they’re ready to cook!

Each cook has the option to take pre-orders, or cook on demand. They are supplied with Trybe boxes to put their food in, and the food is then delivered by courier, or the buyer can collect directly from the cook. The money is transferred via the app and the cooks’ can also be rated and given feedback. The system is already proving very popular in London.

The duo are thrilled as they believe it has already exceeded their expectations, and appears to have been adopted by people from all backgrounds. They have stay at home parents, professional chefs, and people that just love to cook.

Although they wholly admit people will never become millionaires, their vision was always to improve people’s diets, and they actively encourage their cooks to use authentic, healthy, tasty dishes that are cooked fresh on the day.

As more people are succombing to their careers and spending less time at home, this app could be a concept for the future and shape the way we view our social life.

Proposed Probate Increases.

The Government have proposed a new “flat rate” Probate fee increase which they are hoping to bring in in May 2017.

Under the new system, estates under £50,000 will be exempt from Probate fees, otherwise every other deceased estate will be charged as per the chart below.

table

This rise is set to financially cripple a lot of bereaved families who must pay the fees prior to being able to access money from the deceased’s bank accounts.

The increase has been widely criticised as another stealth tax being brought in to help pay for the Social care deficits.

Families will lose out, likewise so will Charities who will lose a sizeable chunk of any money left to them.

With all the additional costs, and at a time when families are distraught at losing a loved one, LCS provide a very cost effective and efficient service to deal with all the estate administration, taking some of the pain away.

Call LCS now on 0345 017 8250 for peace of mind and a professional service.

Fruit and Veg

Eat 10 Fruit and Veg a Day: The Secret To A Longer Life.

“An apple a day keeps the Doctor away.” How many times do you remember your parents telling you this?

It has come to light today, that the “five a day” we’ve grown up believing to be healthy, isn’t enough.

Based on findings from 95 studies, researchers are proposing that we need 800g (ten portions) of fruit and vegetables per day to dramatically decrease the risk of disease. Increasing our daily intake to this amoung may reduce your chance of having a stroke by a third and reduce the risk of heart disease by roughly 25%. It has also been suggested that it can delay the onset of heart disease and cancer which, overall, would equate to saving 8 million premature deaths worldwide.

The results found that although eating five portions per day reduced risk, the greatest benefit came from eating ten portions in comparison to those who ate none.

The team also found that to protect against heart disease and stroke, eating foods such as apples, pears, citrus fruit, salad, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Kale, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts showed the greatest benefits.

To reduce your risk of cancer, you’re advised to eat a variety of different types and colours of vegetables.

Whilst nutritionists are warning that informing people to eat more portions could potentially add pressure and create “unrealistic expectations”, the study did suggest that even small intakes reduced the associated risks somewhat.

New coins

Are You Ready For The Change Coming In For The £1 Coin?

This is the new 12 sided £1 coin which is due to come into circulation at the end of March 2017.

New £1 coin

The old £1 coin (pictured below) will still be in circulation until October 2017.

old £1 coin

If you are one of our clients who saves £1 coins in a jar or tin for Christmas or other special occasions, please take your old coins to a bank before they go out of circulation to exchange them for the new coins.

Call LCS NOW on 0345 017 8250 to use your old coins to pay for some of our SPECIAL OFFERS.