Why people are scared of growing older

Worried-old-man-profile-BLOGOur elderly population is on the rise, and increasingly depends on the charity sector for support – so the government needs to stop taking us for granted.

So much for peace of mind and tranquillity in one’s twilight years.

A major new study, commissioned by 75 organisations (including the British Red Cross), shows that one person in four is worried about receiving proper care in their old age.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why. News bulletins show elder abuse in care homes, bed-blocking, MRSA, over-stretched A&E departments – all against a backdrop of government cuts. More

‘I saved my lovely baby’s life’

Baby-lifesaver-Lucy-Smith-BLOGMum really does know best, it seems. Lucy Smith resolved to learn baby first aid while she was pregnant, and it turned out to be the best decision she ever made.

I’d always planned to make learning first aid part of my preparation for motherhood. It just seemed to make sense.

So when I was 14 weeks pregnant, my husband and I attended a Mothercare event for expectant parents.

We were both really eager to go along since the event featured a British Red Cross baby first aid session. More

Ten blogs you shouldn’t miss

We’re looking back at the blogs that touched us most in 2014. Some put a smile on our face, while others just knocked us for six. These people aren’t household names and many of the issues weren’t headline news – but they’re all powerful stories. Have a read and see what you think.  



“How far is it to the hospital?”, we ask the boy’s father. He replies: “Four days by footing (walking).”

South Sudan. A nine-year old boy has a broken leg with an open wound. He’s in unbearable pain.

However, all the rain means that people can’t travel by road. More

Ebola outbreak: “I don’t let patients give up”



“My nickname is Happy Shower,” smiles Jestina Boyle, a Red Cross volunteer at the Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone.

Jestina provides psychological and emotional support, particularly to patients at the centre.

Through Jestina’s encouragement and counselling skills, more patients are going through the so-called ‘happy shower’.


Home alone: the real story

Old-woman-home-alone-BlogMany older people find a hospital stay traumatic and unsettling. But for those who live alone, the real problems often start once they’re discharged.

Christmas was coming, but Sylvia Darby was feeling anything but festive.

After six long weeks in hospital being treated for double pneumonia, the Ipswich pensioner was finally ready to be discharged – but there was a big problem. More

Testament of Youth: one volunteer’s memoir of a lost generation

Man and woman embrace in the main publicity shot for the film Testament of YouthA film documenting the First World War experiences of Red Cross VAD Vera Brittain is released in cinemas this week. Rebecca McIlhone delves into her memoir, Testament of Youth, to read about love, loss and humanity in desperate times.

Life as a First World War volunteer (or VAD) was tough. Volunteers fulfilled a range of roles from ambulance drivers to cooks but most of the 90,000 were women who signed up as novice nurses.

Early starts, long hours and poor living conditions were just the tip of the iceberg for these raw recruits. Their on-the-job training Vera Brittain describes, in Testament of Youth, as “a baptism of blood and pus”. More

Why first aid belongs on the school curriculum

School first aid BLOGThis morning’s call by politicians for schools to teach CPR skills is welcome – but only goes part of the way to addressing a thorny issue.

First, the good news.

Earlier today, the Labour Party announced its intention to teach all school pupils how to provide CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) for someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

So far, so good. Cardiac arrest can kill in minutes, so the more young people trained to help the better.

But suppose one of those CPR-trained pupils came across someone with a nasty cut or burn injury, or having an asthma attack. What would they be expected to do then? More