5 Elderly Care Myths Dispelled

5 Elderly Care Myths Dispelled

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When the time comes to look into care for a loved one, you want to be sure that you’re doing it with their best interests in mind. However, if this is something you’ve never experienced before, it can be a nerve-wracking experience; especially with so many myths surrounding the elderly care sector.

It can be hard to know whether what you’re reading is reliable, which is why we’ve put together this blog, where we’ll be dispel some of these myths and giving you the facts you need to know, to give you some peace of mind.

Myth 1: Staff aren’t very well trained

Just like with any other job, there are requirements in terms of skills and training for care home and live-in staff. Your loved one’s care is paramount, and employers understand this too; it’s very unlikely that someone will be hired who isn’t qualified enough. Staff are required to undergo a range of training courses throughout the year and are also given regular opportunities to expand their training and knowledge, to make sure they’re providing the best care possible.

Myth 2: Care homes are the only option

Care homes are a popular route for many; however, there are alternatives. Live-in care for example is becoming increasingly popular and gives your loved one the ability to stay at home, while still being cared for on a 24/7 basis.

Myth 3: Care is too expensive

While care may not be free, there are certain schemes and laws which can help and protect you and your loved ones. Often you and/or your relative will be required to take a ‘means test’ which determines how financially stable you are. People who have a total capital of over £23,500 (this includes things such as savings, pensions and house valuations) are required to pay for care themselves; however, if you or your loved one has less than this you can apply for funding.

Myth 4: Care is not safe

There’s no denying that in recent years there has been quite a lot of negative press surrounding the elderly care sector; however, it’s important to remember that these cases of abuse and neglect are rare. The vast majority of care providers put your loved one’s well-being and safety at the forefront of everything they do.  As always, undertake some research, looking into the providers you have shortlisted. Look out for their CQC review.

Myth 5: I won’t be able to visit my loved one as much

One of the biggest concerns people have when putting a loved one into residential care is that they won’t be able to see them often enough; however, with proper planning, this needn’t be an issue. When looking at care homes, look for ones in the local area, which are easily accessible. This way you won’t have to worry about losing quality time with your family member or friend. Live-in care removes this concern entirely. Your loved one can remain in the familiarity and comfort of their own home and live a full and enjoyable life, free to accept visitors as and when they want.

Whilst it’s certainly not an easy experience, choosing care for your loved one doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. If you would like to have a chat to discuss your situation or would like to discover how our care services can help you and/or your loved one, give Everycare a call on 01962 842548.

 

Can I Reduce My Risk of Getting Dementia?

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Dementia is a disease that many of us worry about getting in old age because of the affect it can have, not only on the sufferer, but the whole family. Our other worry comes from the fact that is no known cure at the moment and often there is no clear diagnosis.

With no cure and difficult diagnosis we ask ourselves is there anything I can do to reduce my chances of getting Dementia. The good news is there is things we can do but the bad news is that for many of us we are too late in life to change what we have already done!

The risk of dementia, disability and frailty will sometimes be determined by factors that can’t be changed, such as inherited conditions, injury or our early life education. But changing specific risk factors and behaviours can reduce the risk of dementia, disability and frailty for many people. These changeable factors include smoking, lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, poor diet, being overweight and mental health.

Even if you think it is too late to change your lifestyle, think again because modifying our lifestyles at any stage can increase our chances of living healthier for longer.

Looking at the changeable factors where we can influence our health:

 Smoking

Smoking has an extremely harmful effect on the heart, lungs and blood vessels, including the blood vessels in the brain. Research shows that smokers have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing dementia than those who have never smoked, but this risk can be significantly reduced by quitting the habit.

Personally I do not get why people continue to smoke, how many times does it have to be said that it is really bad for your health and is anti-social. If you want to stop smoking it is a good idea to visit your GP. They can provide help and advice about quitting, and can refer you to an NHS Stop Smoking Service. The help is there, use it.

 Physical Activity

Being physically active is important for the health of both brain and heart, and should be something you do as part of a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that regular exercise in middle-aged or older adults can improve thinking and memory, and reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, with a moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking or cycling. To make a real difference you need get your heart rate up and break into a sweat.

Alcohol Consumption

The old guidance was not to drink more than the recommended levels of alcohol (those recommended levels are shown below) but this has changed in October 2015 to any alcohol consumption between the ages of 40 to 64 increases the risk of developing various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. It is not about being teetotal but keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum, drop the glass of wine at the end of every day just have it on special occasions.
The old NHS guidelines suggest that men should not regularly drink more than 3–4 units of alcohol a day, and women should not regularly drink more than 2–3 units a day. A pint of lower-strength lager and a standard 175ml glass of wine each contain around two units of alcohol. We have left this guidance in to help people below 40 keep their consumption below sensible levels.

 Poor Diet

Poor diet can affect a person’s risk of developing many types of illness, including dementia. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet and a normal body weight is likely to reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure or heart disease, both of which put a person at greater risk of developing dementia. Avoid those ready meals and many processed foods because they give you too much sugar, bad fats and salt in your diet.

Eating a diet with a high proportion of oily fish, fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals such as whole-grain bread and olive oil, and low levels of red meat and sweets may help to reduce the risk of dementia. Remember to cut-out the high sugar level drinks as well.

Being Overweight or Obese

Being Overweight or Obese increases someone’s chances of developing risk factors for dementia, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. This means people who are overweight or obese, especially in mid-life (40 to 64), are at an increased risk of developing dementia.

Noting what was said above about Poor Diet and Physical Activity and making those lifestyle changes will help people to avoid becoming overweight or obese and (in most cases) help you to lose weight.

 Mental Activity

Research suggests that people who continual stimulate their brains by reading, learning or doing puzzles are less likely to develop dementia, compared with those who do not engage in these activities. Some research in Sweden showed that early life achievers and those that handled complex data at work had reduced risk of dementia.

Mental activity appears to increase the brain’s ability to cope with, and compensate for, physical damage. By being mentally active your brain can tolerate more damage before symptoms of dementia are detected. Be a life-long learner and take up new hobbies are great ways to challenge your brain and keep it active.

Other areas of risk are:

Depression

Depression is a probable risk in developing dementia. Do not suffer in silence with depression, you should seek help from the GP early because it can be treated, either with drugs or talking therapies (or both).

High blood pressure

High blood pressure in mid-life significantly increases the likelihood of developing dementia in later life. Once you are over the age of 40 you should make sure your blood pressure is checked regularly and follow any medical advice to keep it under control.

Diabetes

The risk of developing dementia has a strong link with having type 2 diabetes. Reduce your chances of developing diabetes by staying at a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar. If you already have diabetes, it’s important to manage your condition correctly and follow medical advice.

Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels in mid-life have been shown to increase your risk of dementia later on. Cholesterol levels later in life do not seem to have the same effect, but advice seems to change all the time so I would still control it after 65.

If you are the over the age of 40 then get your cholesterol level checked to make sure that you are within a healthy range. Your GP will give you advice on how to reduce your cholesterol if it is too high.

At Everycare, even though we are here to look after people in later life, we want to you all to live as independently and healthily as possible. We recommend you review your lifestyle and adapt it to live a healthy life. We can help by taking on some of the chores you hate doing while you carry on engaging in healthy activities.

Care in your own Home

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Our Care Story.

George and Anna are husband and wife who have been together for 35 years. George met his wife Anna while working as a Headmaster at a primary school.

George and Anna have always been close and when 2 years ago Anna was diagnosed with MS, George did not hesitate in taking on the role of Anna’s full time carer. George had to to give up some of his interests to ensure that he was there for his wife.
George talks about caring for his wife. ‘ I look after my wife with love and compassion. Many families have loved ones with illness or disability and want to care for them in the best way possible . Caring for my wife doesn’t mean that I have to lose my sense of self or not be able to continue with my life.’

‘Anna’s condition has deteriorated with time, when we are together, on our own I give her my full support and care. Friends of the family have had carers visit their home for some time and had spoken highly of the company. I began to realise that I was becoming very tired and would appreciate assistance for morning and evening care. I contacted the company, who arranged to come to our home, speak to Anna about her care, assess her needs and put all the documents in place for the carers. Arrangements for care at home happened very quickly and efficiently which was ideal. Since that has happened, we have had support from carers coming in to our home which is wonderful and we have been very lucky. Anna sees the same carer each morning, in the evenings she sees a couple of carers through the week. I am now retired, but have taken on another position of Mayor which helps to keep me active and healthy for myself and Anna. Anna’s needs have increased , though due to the support from the carers and her husband, she has been able to maintain some independence’.

Anna talked about her care saying ‘ I would not be able to continue living at home if it wasn’t for my husband and the carers who come in on a daily basis. I believe my husband’s health would suffer if we did not have outside help from carers, I was seeing how tired he was getting when trying to cope on his own.’

You may have heard or experienced similar situation to George and Anna.

If you would like to know more about having care in your own home, whether it is for yourself, a friend or family member, contact Karen Whitmill at Everycare 01962 842548.

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Incontinence – What you need to know

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What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence causes you to pass urine unintentionally; the amount can vary from very little to a large amount.

How common is Urinary Incontinence?

It’s a topic most people don’t like to discuss, but there’s no need to be embarrassed. Urinary incontinence is more common than you might think! In the UK around three million people are regularly incontinent; this is around one in four adults. This form of incontinence can happen at any age and is especially common in women, affecting one in five over the age of forty.
Statistics for incontinence are likely to be higher in reality as many people do not inform their doctor because of embarrassment.

Stress Incontinence.

This is a common form of incontinence and is caused by pressure on the bladder through weakening pelvic floor muscles. Actions such as coughing, laughing, sneezing and exercises can cause urine to leak, as there is extra pressure on the bladder.
Child birth can cause weakening of pelvic floor muscles. Women who have had several children may experience stress incontinence.
Stress incontinence can also affect men who have had treatment for Prostate Cancer.

Urge Incontinence.

This is the second most common form of incontinence where one experiences the need to pass urine urgently.
Urine sometimes leaks before there is time to reach the toilet. This is caused because the bladder muscle contracts too early and some control is lost. The causes of urge incontinence is unknown.
In many cases, urinary incontinence can be improved or cured. Different types of urinary incontinence have different treatments. Knowing which type of incontinence and the amount of urine leaking will help your doctor to make the correct assessment. He or she may carry out tests or an examination to find out the cause of incontinence. You may be advised to keep a diary for several days, recording how often you go to the toilet, how much urine you pass each time and how often you leak urine.

Incontinence and caring for your skin.

Incontinence can mean that your skin is damp for short periods of time. You can care for your skin and prevent irritability by:

• Using a cotton cloth or wipes to wash. Flannels and sponges can be rough on the skin.

• Products are available that cleanse the skin without the need to dry. These usually come as foams, spray or wipes. Your doctor may also be able to advise on the best option to use.

• Avoid using baby wipes and soaps as this can cause the skin to become dry and irritable.

• After cleansing, always moisturise and use a barrier cream. This forms a protective layer to block out unwanted moisture.

If you’re suffering from this condition, here are some simple lifestyle changes to help:

• Reduce your caffeine intake – caffeine is found in tea, coffee and cola and can increase the amount of urine your body produces.

• Altering how much fluid you drink a day – drinking too much or too little can make incontinence worse.

• If you are overweight or obese – It is helpful to find out if you are a healthy weight for your height.

Further information, take a look at the links below.

Age UK Incontinence

Bladder and Bowel Foundation

Carers UK

What is Loneliness

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Loneliness happens when people’s need for contact with others is not being met. All of us require some level of interaction with other people, some need more than others.

Being alone is not classed as loneliness, people choose to live by themselves and not have much contact with others. One can still feel lonely when they have family or they are in a relationship.

What causes loneliness?

Different things can cause loneliness and it affects people in different ways.
The lifestyles that people lead, the levels of stress in life can cause people to be less sociable and more prone to becoming isolated or lonely.

• Some Personal Circumstances affecting people

• Loss of a loved one or someone that is close to you.

• Relationship or marriage breakdown

• Retirement- loss of daily contact with colleagues and some social contact

• Difficulty with going out in the community due to mobility.

Being lonely and isolated can affect mental health. Studies have proven that isolation can increase stress levels, cause sleep problems and lower a person’s self-esteem. The combination of all these has a negative impact on well-being. It may be helpful to talk to your GP if you have concerns about loneliness turning into a mental health problem.

Overcoming Loneliness

People can have many friends, but feel they have little connection with the world around them.
When this is the case, gradual social integration will help in becoming more connected with others.

A good first step is to make contact with people through making a call, sending a message through email or text. This can give comfort and reassurance that you do have people around you.

Something small like a walk in the street or garden gives opportunity to say hello to a neighbour or someone you know.

Working parents can connect with others through meeting their children from school.

Ways of meeting people to make friends.

Sharing common interests and experiences with others can be done through different social events.
Attending a church service or event may only be a once a week or monthly event, this is ideal if you are wanting to integrate back in to the community slowly.

Walking groups are likely to be well organised events where people will know each other well. Here you have the choice of talking to people as much or as little as you need.

Many people enjoy the great outdoors and for those gardening is a hobby which they enjoy. You may have a friend who you can spend time with.

These may be:
Campaign to End Loneliness

An Exercise or Walking group
Ramblers Association

Church Services and Events
A Church Near You

Gardening groups
Gardening Meetup

Voluntary Organisations

Royal Voluntary Service

The Royal Voluntary Services is a voluntary organisation which helps older people to enrich their lives. People can spend time together and share information.

Help Prevent Elderly Falls In Winter

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Winter is here and snow has recently affected many areas of England. Hospitals have been under immense pressure in all departments, with Accident and Emergency experiencing high levels of elderly admissions.

The smallest fall for an elderly person can have serious consequences, so it is important at this time of year, when the risk of falling is higher, to be proactive in ensuring that the elderly are safe when out in the garden and community.

As the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. With falls the biggest cause of hip fractures and accidental death amongst the elderly, we share some simple steps below to help prevent you or your loved one falling this winter.

• Minimise the amount of time outside and keep a close eye on pavements which may become slippery.
• If your elderly relative lives alone, arrange for someone to carefully shovel their steps and walkways.
• If taking a trip outside is vital, make sure you or your family member wear boots with non-skid soles and if they use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it is worn smooth.
• With snow and heavy rain likely during the winter months, water can easily enter the home from shoes, umbrellas and leaks. Therefore, make sure you use slip mats on any surfaces that might become slippery and clean up any spills straight way.

Making sure those really comfortable old slippers are still safe to wear and any carpet or rug edges are not going to cause injury will also help to remain safe at home.

If a fall does occur, it is essential to remain calm. As long as you or your loved one are not hurt, you can get up slowly by getting on to your hands and knees and using steady furniture or a chair to assist you. It is a good idea to rest for a short time afterwards before continuing with the day.

If you’re in a situation where you cannot get up or you are hurt, call for help, bang on the wall or the floor if you’re inside. If you have a life line, you can use this or reach for a phone nearby to call for assistance.

And finally, if you or a loved one needs extra care and support during the winter months, do not hesitate to contact the team here at Evercare on 01962 842548.

Companionship-Think about a Pet

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For many people companionship can come from a pet and here we look at the benefits pet ownership can bring while remembering the responsibility of owning a pet

How a pet can be the perfect companion

Due to people living longer, health care costs are rising through the treatment of long-term conditions which can affect the older generation. To help tackle this issue, a number of reports, including the ‘Companion Animals and Health of Older Persons’ have looked at the way a cat or dog can help improve physical, mental and social well-being amongst the elderly.

Why a pet is your best companion?

A pet is a companion who is with their owner constantly, being loyal, providing comfort, affection and protection from feelings of loneliness and despair. A cat or dog is the ideal companion as they can help to maintain routine, which is important for people as they get older. Their personality and sense of fun can enhance a person’s routine, bringing laughter and happiness.

Here are just some of the reasons why companionship from a pet can be beneficial to our health:

Physical benefits

Caring for a pet can motivate older people to increase mobility. You can enjoy walks with your dog, play in the garden or simply spend time grooming a cat or dog in your home.

Reduce blood pressure

The physical contact between pets and their owners can have a positive impact on reducing high blood pressure and regulating the heart rate during stressful situations.

Therapy and recovery time

Research has shown that recovery after a hospital visit or illness is often shorter for pet owners. In addition to this, dogs can be trained to detect seizures, as well as help with occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical rehabilitation.

Feeling loved

Pets such as a dog or cat can give owners company and much affection, making them feel needed and loved, which helps boost their sense of well being.

With all the benefits that having a pet at home can bring, it is important to remember that they need your commitment in providing a home where they will be cared for correctly. Consideration must be made if you are going to be away from home to ensure that your pet is cared for in your absence. And finally, pets can be costly, especially if you have an unexpected visit to the vet. However, with the right planning, care and attention, a pet can make the perfect companion.

Caring for an elderly parent – your 2015 resolutions

Caring for an elderly parent – your 2015 resolutions

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One of the most difficult things a person can experience is taking care of an elderly parent or relative. Juggling 24-hour care and the needs of your family can place a huge strain on your life. Therefore, to help your elderly relative receive the support they need and provide you with a much-needed break, we have put together a few New Year’s resolutions for you to follow in 2015.

Look after yourself

It is important to remember to look after yourself when you are caring for a relative. They say that prevention is better than cure, so if you feel you are prone to becoming poorly, make appointments for vaccinations, take time to exercise, relax and eat well.

These simple steps will ensure you are not only caring for your well-being but the well-being of your relative.

Attend a Support Group

Caring for a parent can be stressful and cause frustration and worry.
Support groups for carers are held locally and provide you with the opportunity to socialise and share experiences with others who are in similar situations.

www.carers.org
www.carersuk.org
Help at home.
There is nothing wrong with admitting you need support or some respite when caring for a relative. Support with care at home can include assistance with personal care, household tasks or company for your loved one whilst you have a break.

Time is valuable

Being responsible for the care of elderly parents takes time. Be aware of how much time you are spending looking after them. Prioritise tasks so that you don’t find yourself running around in circles, instead of achieving your desired tasks and goals.

Share moments

And finally, have fun with your parents and share moments such as looking at old photographs, sharing old stories and maybe listening to or singing their favorite songs.

Support Available In Winchester For Dementia Sufferers

Support Available In Winchester For Dementia Sufferers

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There are currently 800,000 people suffering from Dementia, and it most commonly affect those who are over the age of 65. The main symptoms of Dementia include: confusion, memory loss, and difficulties with thinking, problem solving and language. Dementia can affect anyone at any point in their lives, and there is a high likelihood that you or someone you know is affected by Dementia.

The Dementia Advice Service has recently opened an office in Winchester. They offer a wide range of services to help support those experiencing Dementia, and these include: dealing with questions that you may have regarding the subject, identifying what information you need and how to find it, provide tailored information for you, informing you of local services, and supporting you to make plans for the future.

The Alzheimer’s Society also offers a wide range of services in the Winchester area. The services on offer include: activity clubs, support groups, Dementia information drop-ins, musical activities, outings, support and outreach lunch clubs and an outreach services. These services are on offer to help to provide support to those who are affected by Dementia within the local community.

Andover Mind has also reached an agreement with Solent Mind to run a well-being centre in Winchester. This centre is based on Parchment Street, and provides a wide range of support and advice to those who are affected by Dementia. This includes activities: creative writing, career building, , healthy eating, art and self-help groups. Solent Mind also offers Dementia reablement, to assist those who have experience deterioration in health. This is because they may need to relearn the skills essential to keep them safe and independent at home.

The Dementia reablement provided by Solent Mind concentrates primarily on restoring the individual’s ability to function independently as opposed to treating the health-related problems directly. This project also aims to raise awareness about Dementia, through the use of services within the local community aiming to create more Dementia-friendly communities. This is done through supporting relatives, carers and hospital staff to make sure that individuals are being treated well enough during any hospital stays, and by making sure that any individuals referred to Solent Mind are visited daily by a member of staff who will spend plenty of time with them during their stay. They will be able to listen and provided any additional support that is needed to make sure that your voice is heard, promote an understanding of the individual’s needs, and upon hospital discharge they can also make sure that you are referred to Dementia and home support services that are appropriate for you.

There is a wide variety of support options available for those who are affected by Dementia in any way. These services can be beneficial to both the person suffering from Dementia, and anyone who is providing support to them.

Day Centres And Clubs To Help Elderly To Stay Independent

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In Bishops Waltham a new Age Concern building is being built. This will not only create new local jobs but it will also help to provide somewhere for elderly people to go and socialise with one and other.

This is because half of the building will serve as a day centre, providing a place to meet with other people in similar situations to themselves, and receive the support that they need. The centre will also offer Dementia services.

The other half of the building will serve as a wellbeing centre. The wellbeing centre is designed for providing services, information and assistance. This would be staffed by trained customer advisors that will have a wide range of knowledge, and have access to a wide variety of information surrounding all aspects of daily living for the elderly.

There are a number of benefits that this new building will have on the local community. For example it will give elderly people the opportunity to get out and socialise with others, which is something that they may not have had the opportunity to do previously.

There are also a wide variety of other services available for the elderly. For example Brendoncare offer a variety of clubs within the local community. At the cost of £1 you can visit one of their drop in clubs, which give you the opportunity to meet and get to know new people within your local community. Companions clubs offer a wide range of activities such as: quizzes, kurling and tea and coffee mornings. This club costs £2.50 to attend. Brendoncare also offers an activity club which features an organised activity. These activities can range from interesting speakers, and music sessions, to going out on outings. Refreshments are provided at this club, and the cost to attend is £4.

Age UK also offers a befriending service, and this is where a volunteer can visit you at home. It gives you the opportunity to meet new people, broadening interests and it also gives those who are unable to get out and about very often the opportunity to experience the outside world. This can be extremely beneficial as it can help to boost confidence and self-esteem, and it may also help people to stay independent and at home for longer.

Lunch Clubs are also held by Age UK, and there are a number of locations for this club in the Winchester area including: St Barnabas Church in Weeke, The Baptist Hall on Swan Lane, The Salvation Army Hall on Parchment Street and the Winnall Community Centre. The lunch club costs £3.50 and you get a cup of coffee and a warm two course meal. This provides you with the opportunity to get out and socialise with others, whilst receiving a warm cooked meal, which some individuals may struggle to do themselves at home.