At Age UK we aim to help people in later life to have fun, keep well, participate and contribute. We are committed to services and activities that promote healthy ageing and wellbeing, and tackle loneliness and isolation.
Recent publications and resources
Here are a selection of recent and important documents. For related Age UK publications please use the search box below to carry out a more comprehensive search.
Improving Later Life: Understanding the Oldest Old
What was formerly a small group of exceptional individuals aged approximately 85+ is rapidly becoming a whole new generation, and the fastest growing one at that.
We're concerned that those of us who make the key decisions concerning their welfare need help to get up to date with their nature and needs.
We asked experts to summarise what’s known in their area of research about this ‘4th generation’ and set out their advice. We’ve collected these summaries into a readable, informative book.
There are chapters from over 30 leading academics such as Professor Alan Walker, Professor Tom Kirkwood and Dr John Beard, the director of ageing and the life course at the World Health Organization.
There's also an area of this site where we've collected facts and figures into a fact sheet, published case studies, and more. Visit these pages.
Social prescribing is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services often provided by the voluntary sector.
- Find out more and view our webinar showcasing a successful model of partnership working between the voluntary sector and GPs. See also:
Social Prescribing Presentations (PDF 1.5MB)
Social Prescribing Q&A session (PDF 58 KB)
Social Prescribing Report (PDF 792 KB)
This paper sets out some practical ways in which your local Age UK could help your Health and Wellbeing Board to address older people’s needs and aspirations; and to harness their contributions to the wellbeing of local communities.
Health and wellbeing, boards and ageing populations (PDF, 160KB)
Right Care, first time - Services supporting safe hospital discharge & preventing hospital admission & readmission (2012) (PDF 884KB)
Breaking Through: Building Better Falls and Fractures Services in England (PDF 387KB)
Cockermouth Centre for the Third Age report on working with GPs and VCS (PDF, 423KB)
Promoting mental health and wellbeing (PDF 1MB)
Prevention in practice (PDF 1MB)
Evidence review: tackling isolation and loneliness (PDF 1MB)
What Age UK does nationally and locally
Falls prevention resources
Age UK works on a wide range of areas around falls prevention. This includes supporting local Age UKs to deliver their falls services, policy and influencing as well as research.
You may be interested in some of our research and influencing reports on falls prevention including:
Falls Prevention Guide, June 2013 (PDF, 308KB)
This document explains the evidence base for falls prevention exercise and the benefits which can be expected, for older people and for health and care services, if programmes are put in place which follow the evidence. It includes case studies of current services which are delivering a reduction in falls through such programmes.
Don't Mention the F- word (PDF 232KB)
Stop Falling: Start Saving Lives and Money (PDF 2.57MB)
There are also many useful external resources such as:
ProFounND falls prevention intervention factsheets
ProFouND is an EU funded project on evidence-based best practice interventions to prevent falls in older people living in the community across Europe. It involves 21 partners in 12 countries. Its factsheets are now available, collated as a single pdf resource. The resource includes guidance on multifactorial interventions and factsheets on exercise, vision, bone health, vitamin D, home and environment, footwear and protective clothing, and falls detection and prevention technologies.
Download the ProFouND falls prevention factsheet (PDF, 1.49MB)
Falls and Fractures Alliance
Age UK and the National Osteoporosis Society have established a new Falls and Fractures Alliance in England. By working together, members of the Alliance are better placed to achieve the common goals of preventing falls and fractures and, specifically, reducing the rate of hospital admissions for hip fractures and for falls-related injuries among older people.
Members of the Alliance have all signed the Falls and Fractures Declaration. This is a series of commitments that all Alliance members with the aim of achieving these goals. Follow the link above to read the Falls and Fractures Declaration and to find out more.
Prevention Package for Older People, Department of Health
The Prevention Package for Older People includes a suite of key policy documents setting out a strategy for delivering effective falls and fracture services in England.
National Audit on Falls and Bone Health in Older People
The Royal College of Physicians has produced a number of useful reports as part of the audit including:
Older people's experiences of therapeutic exercise as part of a falls prevention service.
This report highlights a lack of evidence-based interventions as well as long term follow-on classes, and presents important recommendations for commissioners and service providers.
A lay summary of the 2010 falls and bone health audit report: A report highlighting the findings from the 2010 national audit of falls and bone health which has been written in plain language for older people at risk of falls, and their friends, relatives, carers and neighbours. It details the falls and fracture services available and the standards of care expected from these services.
ProFaNE is an online community supporting falls prevention professionals. There are many resources and research material available and it hosts online discussions between professionals.
For further information on our work on falls prevention, or sign up to our Preventing Falls e-bulletin, e-mail email@example.com.
Men in Sheds
Read about Age UK's innovative Men in Sheds project, using woodwork and other activities to support older men.
Please note: Age UK no longer runs the Men in Sheds project at a national level. However, a number of our partners run it at a local level.
About Men in Sheds
Men in Sheds was a pilot project that supported older men who want to get together, share and learn new skills - all in the welcoming space of a ‘Shed’.
Age UK provided the ‘Shed’ (a workshop), tools, and equipment and a paid co-ordinator for support - but the day-to-day management of the Shed was up to each Shed member, with ‘Shedders’ deciding on activities they wanted to follow. This gave ‘Shedders’ control and ownership of their Sheds.
- inter-generational skills sharing
There were 3 Sheds managed by Age UK in:
- Kendal (Age UK South Lakeland)
- Blidworth (Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire)
- South London (Age UK Bromley and Greenwich)
These were run as part of a 2-year-long pilot programme funded by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust (April 2010 - June 2012).
Several other groundbreaking Sheds were also run separately by Age UKs Cheshire and Cheshire East, Age UK Exeter and Age UK Stafford & District. There are also a number of other ‘Men in Sheds’ (or Men’s Sheds) that have been set up independently of Age UK. From Camden to Stroud and the Isle of Man, these sheds are starting to form part of a growing grass roots movement of Men’s Sheds worldwide.
Men in Sheds has also featured heavily in the national and local media including Newsnight, the BBC One's Show and regular stories in the national press. An article on the health benefits of Shedding has also recently appeared in the British Medical Journal.
Case study - a Men in Sheds participant shares his thoughts
'I worked for 34 years at a desk job in London and came up to Kendal to spend my retirement years here 15 years ago. My wife had heard about Men in Sheds, and suggested I give it a try.
'On my first day at Men in Sheds, John Standing showed me the 'tools of the trade' and taught me how to use them. Under his expert guidance I have already learned several new skills after just four sessions. The atmosphere and camaraderie in the place are also very pleasant.
'Speaking for myself, as a practitioner of Buddhism I found that the stillness of mind that is experienced when working with my hands with full attention is something that I never experienced working in an office.
'My only regret is that a vehicle such as Men in Sheds had not been available in Kendal to retirees like myself years ago.'
You can also watch a video of Men in Sheds featured on Newsnight.
Reference guide to the NHS
An updated guide on the structure and function of the NHS, which reflects changes introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
What is this guide for?
The Health and Social Care Act 2012, which came into effect in April 2013, significantly changed the NHS landscape in England. New organisations were created, existing ones abolished and functions moved from one organisation to another. It remains a complex and evolving picture.
This guide sets out in brief the main elements of the changed structure and the funding, commissioning and accountability arrangements of the NHS in England and provides links to further information as required.
Who is it for?
Local voluntary and community organisations and patient and public representative groups have important strategic and commissioning relationships with local NHS bodies, many of which changed as a result of the reforms.
In order to maintain existing relationships and build new ones, it is important for these groups to have a good understanding of the NHS in all its forms and how it operates at a local, regional and national level.
The information in the guide is correct as at March 2015. The guide will be updated in response to any major changes and otherwise on an annual basis. As such, we cannot guarantee this is always up-to-date.
Get the full guide
You can read the guide in full (PDF, 641KB).
However, this is quite a long document so you may want to download individual sections, details of which are below.
Skip to relevant section
The key players of the NHS (PDF, 174KB)
This section outlines the main decision-making bodies involved in planning and delivering healthcare. This ranges from the people in government responsible for setting the priorities for the NHS down to the local organisations that plan and purchase care.
Objectives, plans and frameworks (PDF, 104KB)
In this section we outline the mechanisms used by the NHS and government to set national and local level objectives for care and to measure how well the health service is performing. These mechanisms also allow the public to see what the NHS should be achieving. There should usually be scope to involve the public in their development.
Funding and accountability (PDF, 117KB)
This section provides a brief overview of the funding and accountability mechanisms in the NHS. This includes information on where the funding for NHS care comes from and the process used to allocate it to services, and details on accountability relationships.
Commissioning responsibilities (PDF, 153KB)
Commissioning typically refers to the process of planning and buying health services, as well as ensuring that the quality of services is maintained. This section provides more detail on where commissioning responsibilities lie across different parts of the system.
Procurement, levers and incentives (PDF, 105KB)
This section highlights the main mechanisms through which NHS organisations may be contracted to supply services, and incentivised to transform local services and improve the quality of care and/or health outcomes.
Engagement, regulation and inspection (PDF, 104KB)
The NHS has a number of national and local organisations responsible for ensuring services are safe and effective. This section outlines who these organisations are as well as organisations that are responsible for engaging the public.
Appendix A - Sources and further information (PDF, 124KB)
Appendix B - Table of local structures (PDF, 73KB)
Appendix C - Glossary of terms (PDF, 172KB)
Making Age UK services dementia-friendly
The message is simple: 'If we are for all older people - then we have to be dementia-friendly'.
In March 2012, the Prime Minister outlined his 'Challenge on Dementia', setting out how, building on the work of the National Dementia Strategy, we should go ‘further and faster’ to ensure that people living with dementia, their carers and their families get the best support, treatment, access to research, and quality of life possible.
There are 3 themes developed in the Challenge against which progress will be measured up to 2015:
- Driving improvements in health and care
- Creating dementia-friendly communities
- Better research
‘Including people with dementia - shaping generic services’ project 2012-2013
The purpose of this project was to support local Age UKs to test ways in which they can adapt all their services to be more inclusive for people living with dementia.
Local Age UKs provide a range of specific services (often delivered in partnership with other organisations) to enable people living with dementia and their carers to live well. This project showed local Age UKs ways to assess how dementia-friendly their generic services are currently, and what can be done to make these services more accessible. These approaches involved consulting people living with dementia and carers.
An experienced consultant – Innovations in Dementia – led the project offering specialist, practical advice, working closely with local Age UKs to involve people with dementia and carers, agree an action plan with implementation timelines, and share good practice.
Another leader in the field - Dementia Adventure - joined us in 2013 in order to focus on physical activity and the wellbeing of people living with dementia.
Following the conclusion of the project in 2015, the following guides and webinars were produced to support Local Age UK's and other organisations become more dementia friendly.
Resources and guides
Living life with dementia
Local Age UK contributions to quality outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers.
Living life with dementia (PDF 1.2 MB)
This webinar showcases successful examples of how you can make your generic services dementia-friendly.
View the project webinar
You can download the presentation slides:
Poject webinar (PPT 22 MB)
Other dementia guides
We have a number of guides, produced by Innovations in Dementia and Dementia Adventure, which you can use to help make your generic services more dementia-friendly:
Guidance notes to accompany SCIE Open Dementia Programme for managers (PDF 6.7 MB)
Dementia Friendly resources guide (PDF 190 KB)
How to make your Age UK Dementia Friendly (PDF 1 MB)
Winter Health Campaign
Each winter, one older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold. Find out how the cold can affect health, what you can do to spot an older person at risk of the cold and how to support them to keep warm and well this winter.
Identifying those at risk
Healthcare professionals and other practitioners can support older people by learning to spot those who might be at risk both in terms of their health and fuel poverty.
- If you are visiting an older person at home, does their house feel cold or damp?
- Is the older person wearing multiple layers of clothing?
- Is the older person struggling to pay their energy bills?
- Does the older person have prescriptions for lung or heart conditions?
- Have they been admitted to hospital for a fall?
If you have identified an older person at risk, encourage them to:
- Keep their bedroom temperature to at least 64°F (18°C) and their living room at 70°F (21°C).
- Keep their bedroom window closed at night and wrap up well when leaving the house.
- Contact Age UK to find out what services exist and find out what financial and practical support is available to them through the winter.
NICE provide detailed recommendations for those working in the health and housing sectors.
Help us to get the word out to older people. Download and display posters at your office or clinic or distribute our winter warmer recipe booklet.
- 70°F (21°C) is the ideal temperature for your living room
- 64°F (18°C) is the ideal temperature for your bedroom
- Keep your bedroom window shut at night
Download our winter health posters:
Ideal bedroom temperature (PDF 88 KB)
Ideal living room temperature (PDF 87 KB)
Shut the bedroom window (PDF 138 KB)
Download our recipes for a warmer winter:
Recipes for a warmer winter (PDF 491 KB)
Local Age UKs offer a range of services and support to help older people throughout the winter. Contact your local Age UK to find out what services are available in your area 0800 169 65 65.
Winter health services
Exposure to the cold can have devastating impacts on the health of older people. Each winter, Age UK provides a programme of support to enable older people to keep warm and well in their homes.
- Helping older people to claim benefits in order to maximise their income so they can afford to heat their homes.
- Providing home energy checks to enable older people to understand their heating system and energy bills and take steps to save energy.
In winter 2015-16, Age UK were able to:
- Support around 70,000 older people to stay warm and well.
- Deliver 26,000 benefit entitlement sessions.
- Identify over £53 million extra income for older people, an average of £3,500 per person.
- Deliver 5,000 energy checks to vulnerable older people.
- Install over 30,500 energy efficiency equipment items in older people’s homes.
- Save £200,000 on older people’s fuel bills, an average of £34.50 per person.
Winter warmth services impact report (PDF 255 KB)
Watch the video below to find out how to carry out a home energy check.
How to find the right people when carrying out a home energy check
How to give effective advice to older people on home energy use