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Are bed alarms for elderly people effective?



Agetech World explores how effective bed alarms are for preventing falls in elderly people.

While there is no proof that bed alarms prevent falls, they are an important part of digital tools used in home-care services.

People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling with around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, who fall at least once a year. 

Falling in older people is considered a cause of distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence and of independence. 

The Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) reported that from 2017 to 2018 there were around 220,160 emergency hospital admissions related to falls among patients aged 65 and over in the UK, with around 66.6 per cent of these patients aged 80 and over.

So, preventing fall in elderly people is essential for their safety and health. Bed alarms represent a possible option to overcome these difficulties, also if researchers showed its lack of effectiveness.

How do bed alarms work?

Bed and chair alarms are devices that contain sensors that trigger an alarm or warning light when they detect a change in pressure. The sensor pads are generally placed either under the shoulder area, or under the hip area or underneath the bed sheets on the mattress.

Working with changes of pressure, these devices may not be precise in the detection of falls as, for example, adding pillows could affect the accuracy of the alarm.

Can bed alarms prevent falls?

There is no definitive proof that bed alarms can prevent falls. While numerous carers and care homes use these devices as a daily tools, there is no current study that prove that they keep falls from happening.

Despite their unproven effectiveness, bed and chair alarms can work as wandering prevention for people with degenerative cognitive decline conditions. The devices can also be a peace of mind for caretakers and family members.


Agetech World podcast: Why it’s time to stop talking about generations



From post-war baby boomers to the current Generation Alphas, stage-of-life labels beloved of cultural commentators, researchers and marketers, will soon be a thing of the past, predicts the head of the globally influential UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing.

Researcher, teacher, writer and TEDx speaker, Professor Nic Palmarini, has told the latest Agetech World podcast he believes the arbitrary grouping of people born within a certain time frame and deemed to reflect the narrative of a particular period in world history, will no longer be a thing.

Click here to listen to the latest Agetech World podcast

Instead, the director of the NICA, said he expects to see a merging of the current peer groups to form one inter-generation, with no need for distinct categories.

“It is quite foolish to put cohorts who are born in very nearby years, but different years, different areas of the world, (and with) different experiences, to put them all together,” he said.

“We think that in the future there will be no more generations. We are literally thinking that there is a kind of fluidity on how we are interfacing our future society.

“My personal opinion, and again it is my opinion, but I think we are just going towards a sense of melting the generations one with the other and coming to one mega fluid generation where experiences are just more quickly flowing one to the other, not necessarily stopping at the station of each generation.

“And if you think, for example, what happened in the United States, where President Biden has been elected basically with the votes of the Gen Z, there is a sort of understanding of Gen Z and the Silent Generation (born up to the mid-1940s and including Joe Biden)…trusting each other, understanding each other, empowering each other, which I think is something we will see more and more often because, I guess, the only way to solve the main, or big issues, that we are seeing forward in our future…(is through) collaboration between the generations instead of framing the generations.”

He added there would always be some intergenerational conflict “which is good, because somehow it is making the generations in this case understand what could be the pain point that maybe others don’t see.”

The way to solve this discord he explained, was with collaboration.

The UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing is based at the Catalyst Newcastle Helix in the North East of England

“We know there is no other way. So I think that also this will probably lead us to a kind of inter-generation, as we call it.

“I keep on saying that the next generation won’t be called Alpha as they say. My point is it will be called ‘inter’ because it will be a generation made of many generations working together.”

Prof Palmarini was appointed director of the NICA in 2019. Headquartered in the North East of England, the NICA is jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and Newcastle University, and was set-up to work across academia, industry and the public to explore, test, and bring to market products which promote healthy ageing and wellbeing through life.

Prof Palmarini’s previous job was as head of AI for Healthy Ageing at IBM Research and AI Ethics Lead and Research Manager at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab in Massachusetts in the US.

He has a decade of experience in research in supporting older adults’ autonomy and independence, and his internationally-recognised career has demonstrated his commitment to exploring the impact of technologies and their applications in the life of the ageing population and people with disabilities.

With the longevity sphere potentially worth trillions of pounds in the UK and worldwide, a major part of the NICA’s work is to convince industries, such as the big technology players, the health sector, entertainment, fashion, and financial services, of the importance of targeting age discrimination through collaboration, innovation, exchange and interaction.

Prof Palmarini told the podcast that society also needs to rethink ‘age’ and the concept of retirement, especially as people are living longer thanks to medical and scientific advances.

He has no plans to retire, he said. “I’m very biased because on one side, not my research side, my father is 93 and is working. He is a doctor and he keeps on going to work, he drives, he lives his life like it was 20 or 30 years ago, which obviously teaches me one thing, that we all need a purpose to be that way.

“So, how do I see myself? I can’t think myself out of being engaged in things that matter to me, and I am very good in putting myself in things that matter to me. So that is my everyday job. I am curious. My job is to understand what are the dynamics happening now – and in the future.

“I am quite good in spotting what are the things that could be meaningful in the future, hence my future will probably be what I am doing today for the next whatever years until I die.

“I haven’t thought about retirement. Again, I don’t have examples in my day-to-day life of retirement. I have examples of people living their own life, being relevant to themselves and to others, which is something still I think we have to sustain and push, not for everybody. Do not misunderstand me. There are people that need to stop. People that need to slow down in certain stages of their life.

“I am saying in general we tend to think of this idea of retirement, like stopping being part of a society because that is how retirement, from a narrative perspective, has been designed.

“I think we have to go against the stigma of retirement; you just watch birds and take long walks every day, which is absolutely wonderful and must be done by whoever wants to do it, but also I think this idea of giving back permanently to others in the process of life, is something that we should have to start thinking more consistently, and understand that working in later life could be a blessing, not a bad thing.”

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Global research partnership will tackle challenge of healthy ageing



A new UK-led research consortium has been formed to tackle one of the biggest challenges currently facing the world: healthy ageing.

The global partnership will bring together six UK organisations and 14 US and Canadian institutions to explore how humans age, with the aim of developing new interventions to support healthy ageing.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded funding from its Securing Better Health, Ageing and Wellbeing Strategic theme to the muscle resilience network, MyAge, which is leading on the initiative.

Together with five other UK Ageing Networks (UKAN) – the independent health advisory and delivery organisation, ATTAIN; Building Links in Ageing Science and Translation (BLAST); the Cognitive Frailty Interdisciplinary Network (CFIN); the interdisciplinary research collective, Extracellular Matrix Ageing (ECMage); and the Food4Years Ageing Network – it is hoped the award will not only strengthen existing partnerships but encourage collaborative, multidisciplinary research with the aim of alleviating the development of many of the illnesses and conditions often suffered by older people.

It is hoped this will ultimately lead to healthier ageing.

Common health conditions associated with an older population can include everything from hearing loss to cataracts, osteoarthritis, diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia, depression, cancer, and stroke.

As people age, it is not uncommon for them to be living with more than one condition at a time.

With people living longer across the globe, all countries are now facing major age-related health, societal and economic challenges.

The number of people aged 60 and over has tripled since the 1950s, and according to the United Nations, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups.

The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, one in six people will be aged over 60, with the share of the population in this age group expected to have risen from one billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion by the end of the decade.

There are projected to be more than two billion over-60s by 2050.

Dr Kambiz Alavian

Whilst an ageing population can bring many positive opportunities, not just for older people themselves, but their families, and society, it can also be associated with a host of potential problems.

These can include increased pressure on already over-stretched health services, to lack of economic growth, differing work and retirement patterns, a decline in the ability of communities and governments to provide adequate resources, and even a change in how families function.

Age-related opportunities, or otherwise, depend heavily on one factor, however. Health.

According to WHO, evidence suggests the proportion of life lived in good health has remained broadly constant, implying that additional years are in poor health.

Testimony from the UK suggests that adults, particularly women, often spend their last decade in poor health.

Dr Kambiz Alavian is a Neuroscience reader in the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London, Deputy Director of UKAN, and co-lead for MyAge.

He explained: “This global consortium brings together a group of world-leading institutions and experts in ageing research. Through the exchange of ideas, expertise and capacity building, the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary partnerships will focus on transformative ideas that can generate scientific, interventional, and societal impact.”

The UK-North American project will focus on two broad areas of research.

One will explore the mechanics of ageing to foster the development of biological, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical, behavioural, lifestyle, clinical and societal interventions to promote healthy ageing and improve lifespan.

The second will be to develop novel interventions on topics ranging from biomedical to environmental and social factors that play a part in ageing.

Dr Alavian said: “True societal impact in this area requires a comprehensive understanding of the problem at all levels and a global effort to bring together solutions from a range of scientific disciplines.”

He continued: “We’re collectively very well placed to reach out overseas and are very excited about this collaboration. We are keen to hear from potential US and Canadian collaborators in industry and the academic sector and will be keeping the UKAN networks informed of future collaboration opportunities.”





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World-leading experts address quest for longevity in Africa



The International Longevity Summit Africa 2023 (ILS Africa) brought together world-leading experts to explore opportunities and challenges on the continent’s path towards longevity and healthy ageing.

Held from 23-24 August, experts in the fields of longevity, biotechnology, transhumanism and policy met for ILS Africa which shone a spotlight on the continent’s potential in the global longevity and biotech landscape.

Hosted by Afrolongevity, a non-profit organisation that promotes research, education and advocacy for healthy ageing and longevity, the event welcomed participants from 33 countries around the world, with representatives from organisations such as LEV Foundation,, GlycanAge, Humanity Plus, SENS Research Foundation and AISA Therapeutics.

Keynote speeches, panel discussions and presentations included topics such as ageing biology, regenerative medicine, biomarkers, AI, ethics, social impact and entrepreneurship, with speakers including HRH Prince Itumeleng Shole of the Batloung Ba Ga Shole, Mr Danny Molefi Thupane the Mayo of Mogale City, Ms Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, the MEC for Health and Wellness Gauteng Province of South Africa, alongside a number of past presidents of The American Aging Association. 

As well as showcasing some of the projects and initiatives currently being developed to foster longevity and biotech in Africa, the summit addressed the challenges and the gaps which must be filled in order for citizens to benefit from advances in these fields.

The event was deemed to be a success, making a milestone in the history of Afrolongevity and parent company, TAFFDs.

Osinakachi Akuma Kalu, founder and board of directors chair of TAFFDs closed the summit, emphasising the need for the longevity community to be ‘united and supportive’ of each other without selective aids. He also stressed the need to make opportunities and programs accessible and available for everyone interested in healthy longevity and biotechnology in Africa.

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