Are More Elderly Individuals Suffering From Mental Health Problems?

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Within the UK more and more people are being affected by problems surrounding mental health. It has been found that 1 in 4 people within the UK will experience some mental health problems throughout the course of a year. However it is important that if you feel that yourself or a loved one may be suffering from a mental health disorder the appropriate help should be sought. There are lots of organisations available that can provide help and advice to help you get through the condition.

Types Of Mental Health Disorder

Depression is a condition that causes an individual to have persistently low moods, and feelings of anxiety and tiredness. Depression is one of the most common forms of mental health disorders in the UK and it currently affects 1 in 5 older people. It is also more common for women to be affected by mental health disorders in comparison to men.

Anxiety is another common form of mental health disorder. The main symptom of this condition is constant or unrealistic worry about aspects of daily life. Anxiety can also cause a number of other symptoms including: restlessness, increased heart rate, sleeping problems, and feeling shaky. Anxiety is becoming more and more common in individuals within the UK.

There are a number of different mental health disorders that could affect an individual at any point in their lives. These conditions include: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Phobias, Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders.

If you feel that yourself or a loved one may be suffering from any mental health disorders, it is important that you seek advice from a doctor. You shouldn’t have to suffer in silence, and there is a wide variety of help that is available for dealing with mental health disorders. In the UK the NHS website has lot of information that help signpost you to the help you need. Some of the charities that are working with Mental Health issues are Mind, Sane and Rethink who are there to help you nationwide.

Mental Health And The Elderly

Mental health problems are not a certainty of ageing, however at present the rate of older individuals suffering from mental health disorders is increasing. Within the elderly population Dementia is one of the most common forms of mental health disorder. Dementia affects an individual’s memory, and can have a significant impact on the individual’s ability to complete daily living tasks unaided.

Depression is also an increasing common mental health disorder to affect the elderly. Currently it is estimated that between 10-16% of those over 65 are suffering with Depression, and 2-4% of those individuals are suffering with severe Depression. This may be a result of more and more elderly individuals living alone, as well as elderly individuals being moved into residential or nursing homes, where the surroundings are unfamiliar.

There a number of different types of mental health disorders that can affect the elderly and these can include: delirium, anxiety, and late on-set schizophrenia. Although these are similar to the common types of mental health disorders, the nature and course of the illness may be different in comparison to younger individuals and the treatment of the disorders may also be different.
As with many health issues, do not delay seeking advice as there are many sources of help that are not judgemental about your condition. People often seem to think that their situation is totally unique until they start talking to professionals that deal with mental health issues every day.

Home Care And Mental Illness

Implementing a home care package may be a viable option for those who are suffering with mental health disorders. This is because it will give them the opportunity to receive the help and support that they need. Care workers would be able to visit individuals within their own homes, and provide help with all aspects of daily living including: meal preparation, medication management, as well as providing assistance with domestic duties. A care worker can also provide support for going on outings.

A home care package may be extremely beneficial for an individual suffering with a mental health disorders, as it will give them the opportunity to take control, and start doing the things that they want to in order to make daily living more fulfilling. Care workers can, also, help in pointing people to other sources of help and advice.

How Dangerous Is The Hot Weather For The Elderly?

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In France in 2003 is was reported that a heat wave caused over 11,000 deaths mainly amongst the elderly. People should not under estimate the effect hot weather can have, the average death rate per annum is around 450 in the USA and around 250 in the UK. These deaths are generally avoidable with the right precautions and mainly effect the elderly. There is no statistics on the number of people that get ill from over exposure to the sun without it becoming fatal, but I am sure we are all aware of many people that have got ill from the effects of heat.

With the warm summer weather fast approaching many of us choose to spend lots of time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine. Others may choose to travel abroad and enjoy a warmer climate. However it is important to stay safe when out and about in the heat, particularly for the elderly. This is because the elderly can be at a greater risk of developing heat related illnesses such as: heat stroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Why are the elderly at a greater risk?

The elderly are at greater risk of developing heat stress in comparison to younger people for a number of reasons. This is because the elderly do not adjust as well to changes in the temperature as younger individuals. If an elderly individual has a chronic medical condition, it can upset the body’s normal responses to heat, making it difficult for the elderly to regulate temperature effectively. Medications can also have an impact on an individual’s ability to regulate temperature effectively as some medications can inhibit the ability to perspire.

Signs and Symptoms

There are a number of signs and symptoms that could be an indicator that an individual is struggling to cope with the heat.
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include: an extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin, lack of perspiration, rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, and nausea. Heat stroke is the most serious heat related illness. This occurs when the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature is lost. This leads to the body becoming unable to sweat, leaving the individual unable to cool down. Heat stoke can cause the body temperature to escalate to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41.1 degrees Centigrade) within 10 to 15 minutes. In cases of heat stroke it is essential that medical attention is sought.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of a heat related illnesses, and this can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures, and an inadequate replacement of fluid. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, breathlessness (fast or shallow breathing), variations in pulse rate, fainting, and skin may feel cool and moist to the touch.

What can be done to help?

If you suspect that either you or someone you know may be suffering from a heat related illness there are some steps that can be undertaken both to relieve the symptoms and to prevent the condition altogether. Visiting older individuals on a regular basis monitoring them for signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses can be the first step in preventing a condition from developing. Making sure that they have access to electric fans or air conditioned locations where possible can also prevent the onset of heat related illnesses.

If an individual is suffering from a heat related illness such as heat exhaustion there are a number of things that can be done to help to prevent it from becoming an emergency situation. These include: cooling the individual rapidly in whatever way you can, getting the individual into a shady area, monitoring an individual’s body temperature, and using cooling methods until their temperature reaches 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 38.9 degrees Centigrade), and seek medical attention if you feel that it is required.

There are a number of ways that heat related illnesses can be prevented and these include: drinking plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated), having plenty of rest, taking cool showers or baths, sitting in air conditioned areas where possible, wearing lightweight clothing, keeping warm areas well ventilated, remaining indoor during the heat of the day, not partaking in strenuous activities, and using sun blocks and sunscreens with a high SPF factor when out and about in direct sunlight.

It is important that the elderly stay cool in warmer weather because they body’s aren’t as well adapted for dealing with changes in temperature in comparison to younger people, increasing their chances of becoming ill. By using preventive methods such as keeping the individual cool, can keep elderly individual’s healthy, and this in turn can help them to maintain independence for as long as possible. Preventing heat related illness s also extremely important because these conditions can increase the likelihood of falls, which in turn can cause a number of problems such as decreased mobility, which may lead to loss of independence.

Are You Stressed And Exhausted from Caregiving? What Can Help?

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The number of elderly in America and the United Kingdom is rising at present and is set to do so for some time to come. The cost of looking after the elderly can be a problem for families and in addition there is a guilt factor about handing over the care of parents to third parties. The adult child then feels that they have to commit time to look after their parents and many give up their jobs to do caregiving. This is having a major impact on daily life for both the elderly and the caregiver. The extra responsibilities, stress and financial strain are causing caregiver burnout.

There are some startling facts about caregiving:

• 52% of caregivers have been treated for stress.
• Caregivers are twice as likely to become ill or develop a disability.
• Over 10 million adult children over the age of 50 are looking after aging parents in America.
• A University of Michigan study predicts that caring for elderly Americans with Dementia costs more than $18 billion a year.
• There are over 250,00 children in the UK looking after relatives.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout is a condition that is caused by too much long-term stress, which can be caused by solely caring for an elderly relative, or someone who is unable to take care of themselves for a prolonged period of time. They become physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, and this can cause them to feel overwhelmed.

There are many areas that could cause caregiver burnout, because caregivers tend to neglect their own health. This means that they may become overwhelmed at a faster rate than before. Other causes of caregiver burnout include: role confusion, unrealistic expectations, lack of control, unreasonable demands and financial strain.

Symptoms of caregiver burnout

There are many possible indicators that someone is suffering from caregiver burnout. However the caregiver may not notice there’s a problem, or they may ignore indicators that suggest they could be suffering, and this may be because they are too distracted by ensuring that their relative is comfortable and receiving the help and support that they need.

Symptoms of caregiver burnout may included: weakened immune system, exhaustion. irritability, impatience, decreased productivity at work, social isolation, appetite changes, sleep pattern changes, excessive use of alcohol and sleeping medications, lack of exhaustion, and feeling overwhelmed, helpless or hopeless.

What can be done to help the caregiver?

There are a number of different things that can be done to help the caregiver to reduce the stress that they may be experiencing. Seeking emotional support might be beneficial, and the caregiver could do this effectively by using support groups.

Community support groups can provide many benefits, as it gives caregivers the opportunity to receive support and advice from those with similar situations within the community. This can be particularly beneficial because it allows caregivers the opportunity to partake in social interaction, which in turn could provide them with the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy themselves.

Internet support groups could also provide benefits to caregivers, particularly in cases where they are unable to leave their homes. They also provide caregivers with the opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world who have similar interests, and this can also be helpful in cases where the individual has a rare condition or disease. These support groups can be more convenient for caregivers, as they can be accessed at any time, providing them with help when it is most needed.

Home Care

Home care can be beneficial to both the individual and caregiver. Care workers can provide extra support to the reative, as they can visit regularly, and this would ensure that all of their needs are being met, and they also receive the extra care and support they need. The implementation of a home care package can also be beneficial for the caregiver because it provides them with the opportunity to have some respite, and do things they enjoy.

Home Care Preferable to Hospital Care for the Elderly

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Working in Home Care in Hampshire we get to meet patients that have been discharged from the local NHS Hospital with mixed views on how they have been cared for.

Hospitals have been found by the CQC to be failing in delivering basic care in the areas of nutrition and dignity. It may only be 20 out of 100 that were not meeting standards, but 20% is a big failing when you are talking about basic needs. Worse still, is that 50% of hospitals gave cause for concern. On the plus side, 78% of hospitals accept the findings and this, we hope, will lead to improved care.

The report tells us that the inspections were just carried out on one day of the year and were only in two wards of a hospital. In addition the observations were made between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. This concerns us because there was no observation of what happens in the night when supervision is likely to be less nor at weekends when staff shortages can be more acute. The report states that this is a cost issue, yet people working in care are expected to work unsocial hours for no extra pay, what exempts higher paid inspection staff from working the unsocial hours for the same pay? This is a poor excuse for not doing these unsocial hour checks.

Why is it that inspection routines still seem only able to work 9am to 4pm? Care happens 24 hours a day 365 days of the year any inspections should take this into account. It would have been helpful to ask some preliminary questions with patients on when the most problems were being encountered. Just concentrating on the day and just Lunch delivery has probably meant that some even bigger issues have been missed.

Another potential flaw in the inspections is that the question of dignity being observed was based mainly on asking patients, the elderly do not always complain especially when they think that by complaining they may be treated in a different way. We would have liked to have seen questions asked of the family and other visitors to see if they felt that dignity was being observed.

Subsequently the government have announced further visits to hospitals and care homes; we do hope that the times of visits are more varied this time.

While hospitals and care homes strive to give a good service they should be seen as the back stop. We believe that you are still better off remaining at home receiving home care and being more in control of your own privacy and dignity.

Home Care Smart Gadgets for Savvy Elders

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Working in Home Care, delivering services in Winchester and surrounding areas in Hampshire, we can see that the need for more gadgets is needed, particularly in the UK where there is an increase in the number of elderly people without there being on-going funding available. Relatives of the elderly can be time constrained but still need to be reassured that their loved ones are safe, turning to technology may be one way of keeping relatives informed about what is going on or being assured that the elderly are living comfortably.

There are now products from amplified telephones and listening systems for televisions to devices for fall detection and remote monitoring. The technology industry is said to be responding to a growing demand for products specifically designed for today’s aging population.

Innovative gadgets and modern technology are helping people to deal with daily living. There are, also, some low tech devices around to help make daily tasks easier, including soft-handled or large-grip cooking and eating utensils, swivel cushions that make getting in and out of a car easier, and various assistive devices that eliminate the need to bend over when putting on socks, stockings or any other garment that you need to pull up over your feet.

We are hearing from America that high-tech assistive technology for aging adults is “nearing science fiction territory”. Examples being reported include shoes that help you keep your balance, a scanner that “reads” text aloud, and a voice-activated wheelchair knows its way around your home.

Other products are wearable devices that can automatically detect falls and send alerts to loved ones over the internet, there are devices that monitor heart-rate and body-temperature changes with the information being sent real time to centres where clinicians are based to monitor the data. To detect falls there are motion and floor-vibration sensors, devices that detect abnormal walking and pressure pads to put in beds to detect whether someone has got out of bed.

In reality, as we know with technology, it is expensive to be an early adopter so we expect that the more “science fiction” the products are the harder they are to find and the more expensive they are.

The more down to earth products that can be found today, bearing in mind that we are not recommending or endorsing any of these products because there are others on the market, are:

  • Amplicom ring flash 100 phone call amplifier, can be switched to ‘T’ mode for hearing aid wearers around £20.
  • Glow flow temperature controlled basin light, fits most taps with an adapter, illuminates the water with blue for cool and red for hot (over 32 degrees C) around £15.
  • Light switch illuminator for standard single gang light switches to enable to be found easier in the dark around £7.
  • Doro big button cordless phone around £40.
  • Powertel 49 plus home desk phone with large buttons around £40.
  • Powertel V 100 vibration pillow to put under a pillow or cushion to alert you to calls around £20.
  • Lutall big button mobile phone with SOS button, works on all networks except 3, around £35.
  • Sen Cit fall monitor that detects when a person has stopped moving and sends a message to someone remote to take action £198.
  • Geemarc wireless TV listening device, basically a wireless headset and a base station that plugs into the TV around £150.

Just some of the products available.

Future of Home Care

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The Dillnot Commission reports on Monday 4th July 2011 with, hopefully, recommendations on the future funding of care including Home Care (Care in the Community). The previous Labour government did nothing because the ageing population problem was not imminent and, unfortunately, governments tend not to want to deal with difficult issues when it could affect their votes!

The population of people 75 and over was 4.8 million in 2008, this is forecast to increase to 7.0 million by 2023 and 8.7 million by 2033 an 81% increase over 25 years. For people over 85 the population was 1.3 million in 2008 and is forecast to increase to 2.2 million by 2023 and 3.3 million by 2033 an 154% increase over 25 years. It is the people over 85 that are most likely to require care so the increases in numbers is alarming in terms of the cost of care to the nation.

The other way of looking at the population is the number of people available to support the elderly, the ratio of people of working age to those of pensionable age was 3.23 in 2008 dropping to 2.78 by 2033. More pensioners less people able to support them and this includes the effects of increasing the pension age to make people work longer.

As can be seen from the population information, there is a big Social Care funding issue going to hit the country. Action needs to be taken now to put a Social Care funding system in that will deal with this issue.

It is unfortunate that dealing with Social Care funding comes at a time when the government is trying to cut spending. Any increase in Social Care funding is going to be tricky to fund we are either going to have to pay ourselves for care directly or indirectly through increased taxation for the government to be able to pay the extra cost.

Social Care funding has the same problem as many government pensions where we are trying to pay out of current government spending rather than building funds that can be used to pay for the costs in the future.

I fear that the government will back away from taking the bull by the horns and putting a proper funding system in, because,  what is needed to be done is likely to hit the pocket of the individual at a time when we are all feeling the pinch. What makes matters worse is that the government, being in coalition, is even less likely to do something bold.

As a Care provider we believe that substantially more needs to be put into care funding because the number of care staff needed in the future will be much higher and to attract good people in to the sector would need pay rates to go up. We believe that care staff are undervalued and their role in society needs to get greater recognition.

We implore the government to be bold and not just kick all the recommendations of the Dillnot commission into the long grass.

We aim to run an excellent Home Care service in Winchester and the surrounding areas in Hampshire and want to support the Local Authority and the NHS in delivering first rate care to the people of Hampshire.


Free Seminar – Who will pay for long term care?

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With an ageing population, Long Term Care provision is becoming a more prevalent issue.  One in four people are likely to need Long Term Care in the future, and provision for this eventuality is very often dismissed until there is an immediate need.  Indeed, for those receiving care or wishing to increase that care, there is the constant worry of how they can continue to afford it. Government provision is limited and more and more people will be faced with ‘self-funding’ their nursing/homecare fees, potentially depleting their assets.

We have compiled a panel of experts to present in clear English all the options currently available. The topics to be covered will include:

  • what is homecare and how will it be paid for?
  • how can you protect your assets, what are the options and what of future provision?
  • look at the use of wills and powers of attorney
  • how Domiciliary Care Providers deliver their services
  • how a relationship with a team of trusted advisers can protect the recipients of homecare

The seminar will be hosted by Everycare and with guest speakers Brian Fisher of Life, Simon Whipple of The Cares’ Legal Centre Solicitors and Sarah Quirk (SOLLA Accredited) from SarahQuirk Associates. The venue for this FREE 90 minute presentation is at British Red Cross Centre, Red Cross House, Winnall Close, Winnall Manor Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 0LB on Tuesday 5th July 2011.

Timing of meeting:

  • Lunch: 11:45 am for 12:00 noon commencing with buffet lunch

To book a space on the seminar call Mike on 01962 842548 or email .


Home Care And The Benefits Of Exercise

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It is often said that exercise brings health benefits to people of all ages, I can personally attest to feeling good after taking exercise not only does it improve your health but it is a chance for your brain to concentrate on something else, a relief away from the normal routine or pressures of life.

Anyone that has been immobilised, for example, having a leg put in plaster knows what happens to your muscles when you are not using them. The recovery time to get your muscles fully functioning after coming out of plaster can be quite long. Why do we not take exercise and run the risk of our muscles becoming weak? It is a vicious circle as the muscles get weaker we seem less inclined to take exercise.

Our Home Care Agency will always encourage people to stay active and do as much as possible for themselves. Keeping fit, also, helps to avoid trips and falls which are a real problem for people as they get older.

Researchers at Duke University found that exercise serves as a natural antidepressant and other studies suggest it may improve brain function and even protect against dementia. During exercise, the body releases endorphins which are natural opiates and relieve pain. Activity in the brain’s frontal lobes and the hippocampus is also boosted. Levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are increased and these neurotransmitters help to improve mood. Exercise also increases levels of brain-delivered neurotrophic factor or BDNF, which not only improves mood but also helps brain cells to last longer.

In fact, a recent study of people suffering from dementia showed daily exercise over a 12-month period improved mental ability by 30 percent. The subjects of the study also showed an improvement in their ability to feed, dress and bathe themselves. This is because activity keeps the body flexible and strong, and also improves balance and spatial control which has been proven to reduce the likelihood of falls. It’s also good for the heart and for blood pressure, both of which have been linked to dementia.

In another study, anxiety symptoms were reduced by 20 percent by adding daily exercise to subjects’ lifestyles. Even light exercise tires the body, which helps with achieving a full night’s sleep and maybe even developing a better sleep routine. One of the most important benefits of exercise is that it’s enjoyable and helps to pass time.

If you are in the position of being a carer yourself do not neglect your own health. Being a carer can be quite stressful and exercise can act as a natural stress reliever. It is even better if can exercise with the person you are caring for because you both improve your moods at the same time. It is important that you do not treat it as competition when you are getting someone to exercise who has not done it for a long time.

When beginning on an exercise regimen, start easy. Don’t push. The point isn’t to train for a marathon, it’s to gradually get the body moving more and increase mental health. What might seem like nothing to you, could be physically taxing for someone else.

There are many ways to include easy and fun exercise in your daily routine:

  • Take walks around the garden, your neighbourhood or a shopping centre
  • Perform light household chores.
  • Participate in water exercises at your local leisure centre for resistance on every part of the body.
  • Exercise using light weights, these can be purchased for a small amount or alternatively use objects from around the house.
  • Choose a relaxing Tai Chi routine on DVD.
  • Go cycling on a nice, easy path.
  • Integrate Wii Fit’s several light exercise options into your routine, it is fun way of keeping fit and can be done with others as well.

Doing exercise should not be seen as a chore that has to be done every day. It should be fun and socially interactive.

Precautions Prior to Exercise when Older

If you have not exercised for sometime it is worth taking some precautions before doing any exercise that will exert you more than you are used to.

  • Get a check up from the family doctor. Start training gradually and slowly increase physical exercise each day to build stamina and conditioning.
  • Warm up. It is important to do plenty of stretching and to warm up properly. Failing to warm up could lead to injuries and be counter-productive.
  • Consume liquids. Taking a bottle of water to the gym is important in terms of keeping the body hydrated and flushing toxins. Take regular sips of water during training.
  • Focus on form and not the amount of weight lifted. Trying to lift too much can only serve to cause serious injury.

Mike Frizzell

Breast Cancer Screening Essential For Those Over 50

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Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK. Just because you are older and maybe having Home Care or are in a Care Home it is never too late to be checking for the signs of breast cancer.

Here are facts from Cancer Research UK:

  • In 2007 in the UK almost 45,700 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, that is around 125 women a day.
  • 277 men in the UK were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.
  • Female breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around 50% over the last twenty-five years.
  • In the last ten years, female breast cancer incidence rates in the UK have increased by 5%.
  • Important to note for older people is that 8 in 10 breast cancers are diagnosed in women aged 50 and over.
  • In the UK in 2007/2008 the NHS breast screening programme detected more than 16,000 cases of breast cancer.
  • It is estimated that the NHS  breast screening programme saves over 1,000 lives each year.

As with all cancers early detection is paramount in ensuring the best chance of survival from breast cancer. More women are surviving breast cancer than ever before; in the 1970s around 5 out of 10 women survived the disease beyond five years this is now increased to 8 out of 10 and in fact now more than three-quarters of women survive at least 10 years or more.

Modern medicine has brought cancer treatment forward in leaps and bounds with better detection, therapy, research, drugs and symptom management. As an individual you are in the best place to manage the monitoring of your breast because early detection is the best way to be cured.

How do you I check my breasts?

There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts and you should never feel embarrassed in anyway about looking after your own health. Try to get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly. You can do this in the bath or shower, when you use body lotion, or when you get dressed. There’s really no need to change your everyday routine. Just decide what you are comfortable with and what suits you best.

Remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone.

The breast awareness 5-point code

1.      Know what is normal for you, you know your own body best.

2.      Know what changes to look and feel for (see list below).

3.      Look and feel on a regular basis.

4.      Report any changes to your GP without delay, better to be safe than sorry.

5.      Attend routine breast screening if you are aged 50 or over, obtain advice from your GP on the regularity of this. You should insist on more screening if you are at higher risk, see later on what causes breast cancer.

What changes to look and feel for

  • A change in size or shape of the breast.
  • A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange).
  • A lump or thickening that feels different to the rest of the tissue in your breast.
  • Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple.
  • If your nipple becomes inverted (pulled in) or changes its shape or position.
  • A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.
  • Discharge (liquid) from one or both of your nipples.
  • Constant pain in your breast or armpit.

Sometimes your GP may ask you to come for a check outside of your menstrual cycle to rule out any hormonal changes.

Causes of Breast Cancer

  • Women with a mother, sister or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer have almost double the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer themselves.
  • Risk increases with the number of first-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer, but even so, eight of nine breast cancers occur in women without a family history of breast cancer.
  • Obesity increases risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by up to 30%.
  • Women currently using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have a 66% increased risk of breast cancer.
  • The risk of breast cancer in current users of oral contraceptives is increased by around a quarter.
  • Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer – as little as one alcoholic drink per day increases breast cancer risk by around 12%.
  • A more active lifestyle reduces breast cancer risk.

In conclusion

As with all things to do with cancer living a healthy lifestyle will always reduce your risks and being aware of changes in your own body will give a greater chance of an early life saving diagnosis.

Home Care – Cuts Already Coming

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The Government had promised to protect Health Care Services but of course there was no direct mention of Social Care, which includes Home Care for the elderly and other people with social needs. There is always talk of protecting front line services but the definition of front line services is never made clear.

There are announcements being made already about cuts to service, this is a worrying trend which directly affects the vulnerable people in our society.

Bolton Council has announced that the eligibility criteria would be changing for people in the future. This means that it will not affect people currently receiving services for the time being.

The Bolton Council are very sad that they are having to take away services for people with moderate needs. This trend has been happening for several years with many councils now only supplying services for those with severe needs.

Gareth Evans, chief officer for Age Concern in Bolton said he was “very concerned” about the level of the cutbacks. “These cutbacks follow reductions made in recent years. They are not cutbacks in isolation”.  He added “Clearly a very serious attempt is being made to protect the most vulnerable which is obviously heartening”.

Bolton Council are cutting the budgets for Adult and Children’s services by a total of £9.5million.

A second announcement has been made by West Sussex Council who are cutting £2.5million from its £28million budget for home care by reviewing contracts with more than 100 organisations.

The service which operates 24 hours a day every day of the year, provides care for the elderly and disabled as well as those recovering from operations or suffering from dementia.

Councillor Graham Tyler said “I would like to reassure residents that the quality and level of service will not be affected by these changes”.

As these services are people driven, savings in costs usually mean a reduction in the number of people or a reduction in the wages being paid, either way, it is difficult to see how the service will not be affected in some way.

It can be expected that there will be more announcements of cuts for the year commencing April 2011. If this drives people out of the Home Care market, where there is already a struggle to find enough carers, then this will not be good for the stated aim to treat more people in their own homes.

Everycare (Central Hants) offer Care in your own Home and want to support people in living longer and healthier lives.

By Mike Frizzell  Everycare (Central Hants) Ltd