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.

Exercise Classes To Boost Elderly Fitness

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Winchester has recently started to offer two new exercise classes for the elderly. The Exercise Plus sessions are being run by the Winchester Live At Home Scheme. The new sessions will be held at the Weeke and Colden Common Community Centres.

The Weeke class takes place every Thursday, at 11:00 and lasts for an hour, and the Colden Common sessions are every Saturday at 11:00. You can visit either of these locations on their allotted day and time, and try the first class for free to discover if it is right for you.

There are also a number of other locations that offer this class. The United Church on Jewry Street, on Tuesdays at 10:30. Makins Court in Alresford and St Mark’s Church Hall in Oliver’s Battery also have Exercise Plus classes that run on a Tuesday at 2:30. This gives everyone living in the Winchester area the opportunity to take up an exercise class if they are interested.

The sessions are run by qualified instructors and are designed to help you to improve balance, posture and strength. This can have a number of benefits for older individuals including: maintaining independence, improving overall well-being, and reducing isolation.

If you or someone you know may be interested in joining one of these classes, you can contact the Winchester Live At Home Scheme on 01962 890 995 or email office@wlahs.org

There are a number of other classes and activities that are available in the Winchester area for elderly individuals. The Winchester Live At Home Scheme offers a wide variety of clubs and activities for individuals and these include: a walking group, a seated exercise group and a lunch club. All of the groups and activities available can be extremely beneficial as they give everyone the opportunity to get out and socialise with others, as well as maintaining independence, overall health and well-being.

The River Park Leisure Centre in Winchester also offers a Health and Fun Club, designed specifically with the over 50’s in mind. There are a variety of activities to try and enjoy including: Tai Chi, Tennis, Yoga and Keep Fit classes. These activities can all help to improve strength and overall well-being, which in turn can help you to stay at home, and live independently.

New Energy Fitness in Winchester also offers a wide range of classes to cater for a variety of needs. They hold two senior conditioning classes, which are aimed at improving the fitness and well-being of those over 60. The Seniors Strength, Agility and Flexibility Classes run on a Tuesday from 2:30 – 3:15, and is aimed at helping to improve the strength around joints, whilst improving agility and flexibility. The Seniors Flexibility and Balance Class runs on a Friday from 10:00 – 10:45. This class aims at improving overall fitness, and allowing you to become more mobile in daily life. Both of these sessions are £8 a class.

Participating in exercise classes can have a number of benefits to your overall health and well-being. They can leave you feeling more energised and confident, meaning you may feel better able to deal with day to day activities. Exercise classes will allow you to socialise with others in similar situations to yourself and create new friendships, which in turn will lead to a happier and healthier you.

Walking Your Way To Better Health

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With the start of 2014 many people’s attentions are turned to New Year’s Resolutions, and the one at the top of many list being to get fit and healthier. This however can be a difficult goal to achieve for some, particularly those who are older, or have a health condition that can make it difficult to get out and about.
What Can You Do To Get Fitter And Healthier?

Getting fitter and healthier doesn’t have to mean spending hours of your time working out at a gym. This is an activity that isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of easier ways of getting healthier.

In Winchester The National ‘Walking for Health’ Scheme has been put into place. This scheme provides those within the local community with the opportunity to participate in a number of health walks.
The scheme currently runs seven local health walks a week led by trained walkers, and are free and open to all. They are designed specifically for those who are suffering from a long term health condition and those who are currently inactive to help them to get out and about.

There are a number of benefits to participating in a health walk, for example they are social events within the local community which means that they give you the opportunity to socialise and create new friendships, whilst exploring the local area and building up your fitness.
Other Ways Of Getting Fitter And Healthier

There are a number of easy ways to improve fitness and overall health that can be accessed by anyone in the local community. For example in Winchester the River Park Leisure Centre offer a wide range of activities for the 50+ to help everyone to stay active for longer. These activities include: Badminton, Swimming, Yoga, Tai Chi, Tennis and Keep Fit classes. Which all can have a number of benefits to your daily life and overall health and well-being.

For members only River Park Leisure Centre also Offers the Winchester Fitness And Sports Club which is designed specifically to provide those who are over 50 with the opportunity to participate in a number of different activities to maintain fitness levels. These activities include: Aquacise, Bowls, Pilates, and Racket Ball.

Staying Active

Staying active can have a number of health benefits, and can leave you with more energy and able to do more things independently. This is particularly beneficial as we age as it means that we are able to stay independent for much longer, reducing the need for additional support, and increases the chances of staying at home for much longer.

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What support is available for Dementia sufferers and their family members?

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There are currently 670,000 people suffering from Dementia in the UK and it is estimated that by 2021 over a million people will be diagnosed with the condition. With the disease becoming even more prevalent, what support is available to those dealing with the difficult symptoms associated with Dementia?

Day centres and activities:

In some communities day centres may be available for individuals suffering from Dementia. Day centres offer therapeutic activities that may help tackle the symptoms of the disease, which can have an extremely positive impact on the individual’s general health and well-being. From arts and crafts, musical activities, gardening, baking and activities based on the individuals’ lives (e.g. story work), day centres provide a much needed break for both the sufferer and the caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Society runs the Winchester Dementia Cafe, which provides a social activity to support people with dementia in the local area, providing an opportunity for sufferers and caregivers to meet and talk to other people in a similar situation.

Support for the individual at home:

Dealing with Dementia can make day-to-day activities increasingly difficult, but with the right help and support it is possible for an individual suffering with the disease to continue living at home for longer. Homecare is particularly beneficial as it gives the individual a sense of familiarity, which can make them feel more comfortable. A care worker would be able to visit the sufferer at home and provide a variety of support including medication management, meal preparation, domestic duties and personal care. They may also be able to provide support in the form of companionship, helping the individual take a break from home and enjoy their much-loved activities.

Residential care for the individual:

When the symptoms of Dementia develop, residential care can provide crucial support to both the individual and family during this difficult time. Although this may be a hard decision to make, the 24 hour support will help take the weight off family members shoulders, knowing their loved one is in safe hands, receiving the support they need. St Catherine’s View is a unique dementia care home in Winchester, which has been specially designed to suit the care needs of residents with conditions like Dementia.

Support for the caregiver:

Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also involves dealing with stressful situations, changes in family dynamics, extra workloads and financial pressures, which can sometimes become overwhelming. Respite is the main type of support that is available for a caregiver helping an individual suffering from conditions like Dementia. Respite is available on a 24 hour basis to ensure individuals are receiving the support they need and can vary from a few hours to a few weeks. In Hampshire and other parts of the UK a Take A Break service is offered by the local authority. This service works by providing replacement care whilst the caregiver is away. During this time, they can also complete other tasks including domestic duties, meal preparation, and personal care.

Steps To Manage Hearing Loss

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Of the various types of hearing loss, few affect the more venerable members of society as age related hearing loss does. It is widely reported (source: Action On Hearing Loss 2005 survey) that 1 in 9 UK residents display signs of hearing loss, the largest number of which are in the over 65s. Although impaired hearing may be naturally expected as the body matures it is unwise to leave the hearing loss unmanaged.

Living in a muted world can lead to significantly reduced quality of life, social isolation and can have an impact on the progression of dementia. The older population and those who care for the elderly should be aware of the signs of hearing loss and be encouraged to take action to mitigate any effects.

The extent of age-related hearing loss varies from person to person. One individual may have mild hearing loss, and adequately manage the effect by making minor changes, such as ensuring they always face people who are speaking and ask for repetition when needed. More commonly however, the extent of the hearing loss would be best managed by a healthcare provider and some form of additional amplification.

A crucial function of our hearing sense is performed by microscopic structures called hair cells. These delicate structures are found within the cochlea of the inner ear and are central to transmitting information contained within incoming sound. From the hair cells, information travels on via the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex within the brain for ‘translation’. When hair cells die or are damaged, the ability to capture and transmit sound information is impaired permanently, as these hair cells cannot regenerate. Damage to the hair cells can occur by other means, such as prolonged exposure to harmful noise levels (noise induced hearing loss), but age-related deterioration is most common.

Signs of Age Related Hearing Loss Include:

• Sounds and especially speed is muffled
• Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowded place
• Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly
• Needing to turn up the volume of the television or radio to a degree where others complain
• Withdrawal from conversations and avoidance of social settings

Individuals or caregivers should take action to manage hearing loss at the earliest opportunity. Many people wait for years before investigating their options. The first step is to undergo a hearing test. The actual test, which is often performed free of charge at a local hearing centre, takes a few minutes to complete. The degree of hearing loss, per ear, can be established and thereafter a number of solutions can be discussed.

Some people may be concerned that they will need to suddenly learn sign language in order to communicate, but that is far from what happens in practice to manage age-related hearing loss. There are plenty of technological aids that can be used in most daily stations to amplify external sound. Most versatile and popular are personal hearing aids that use digital processing power to help compensate for the impaired auditory system. Hearing aids are available from your local hearing centre, online and free from the NHS (limited model range and waiting list may apply in the case of the NHS). There are also other readily available solutions for the hard of hearing such as extra loud phones, extra loud and often flashing alarm clocks, specific products for amplifying the television and so on.

With such as wide range of amplified products available, there is no reason to have to simply accept hearing loss as something you are powerless to do anything about. Talk to your GP or visit a local hearing centre at your earliest opportunity.

Article written by Joan McKechnie BSc Hons Audiology & Speech Pathology. Joan consults for Hearing Direct.

Are Neurological Conditions Becoming More Prevalent In The Elderly?

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In the UK at present there are approximately 10 million individuals suffering from a neurological condition that have a significant impact on daily living. Although neurological conditions can affect any individual at any point in their lives it has been found that these conditions are more prevalent in the elderly and this may be the result of a number of different factors including environmental factors and genetics.

In America it is estimated that one in four adults suffer from mental illness, and 6% of those individuals suffer debilitating effects as a result. In America there many other neurological conditions that are prevalent such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

These neurological disorders can have a significant impact on an elderly individuals daily life. The main issue that affects an elderly individual is memory disorders; these are often the result of conditions such as: Dementia, Motor Neurone Disease, and Parkinson’s.

Dementia

Dementia is one of the most common neurological conditions to affect the elderly population. In the UK there is currently over 800,000 individuals suffering from Dementia, and approximately a third of those individuals are aged 95 or over.

Dementia is a condition that causes an ongoing decline of the brain and in an individual’s abilities, resulting in them experiencing problems with: thinking speed, memory, language understanding and judgement. This in turn can cause an individual to encounter a number of difficulties with daily living, and this is largely because it can make tasks much more challenging as the ability to remember and concentrate is greatly reduced.

At present there is no cure for Dementia, however for milder cases of Dementia there are medications that have been shown to be effective in relieving some of the symptoms. For example Antipsychotics could be used on a short term basis to treat individuals suffering with Dementia who display aggressive behaviour, or those who may be at risk of harming themselves or others. However medications may not be effective for all individuals who are diagnosed with Dementia.

Parkinson’s

It is estimated that 1 in every 500 individuals are suffering from Parkinson’s in the UK, and most of those who are diagnosed with the condition are aged 50 or over.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, that is caused by a lack of Dopamine as a result of the death of a number of nerve cells in the brain.

There are a number of symptoms that could indicate that an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s, and these include: tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, pain and tiredness. It is difficult to diagnose Parkinson’s , and this is largely because the only way Parkinson’s can be diagnosed is through a specialist examining the individual for any physical signs of Parkinson’s, and taking a detail history of any symptoms that the individual may be experiencing.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, however there are medications available that may help an individual to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s

Motor Neurone Disease

It is estimated that 2 in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in the UK each year. Generally Motor Neurone Disease affects individuals over the age of 40, and is most common in individuals between the ages of 50 and 70.

Motor Neurone Disease is a rare condition that causes parts of the nervous system to become damaged, which in turn causes progressive weakness and muscle wasting. This condition can have a significant impact on daily living and cause an individual to experience great difficulty in completing a number of activities including: gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. The main symptoms of Motor Neurone Disease include: a weakened grip, shoulder weakness, leg dragging, slurred speech, and a foot drop as a result of ankle weakness. Symptoms generally progress over time, and this may leave an individual unable to move, as well as experiencing great difficulties with communication, swallowing and breathing.

There is currently no cure for Motor Neurone Disease, and the only treatment aims at present are to make the individual feel as comfortable as possible, give the individual the best quality of life possible and to compensate for the progressive loss of body function. For example breathing masks and some medications may help to relieve some symptoms of the condition.

Home Care And Neurological Conditions

The implementation of a Home Care package may be extremely beneficial for an individual who is suffering from a neurological condition, and this is largely because a care worker will be able to support an individual with most areas of daily life including: medication management, personal care, meal preparation, domestic duties and they can also help with supporting an individual with completing activities that they enjoy. For example a care worker may be able to help an individual to get out and partake in social interaction opportunities.

Gout? Causing You Pain? What Can Be Done To Help?

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Gout currently affects approximately 1 in 200 adults in the UK. It is generally more common in men than it is in women. Gout generally runs in families, and it most commonly affects people who are middle age.

In the UK there has been approximately a 5% increase in the number of hospital admissions for Gout in the last 10 years. It is estimated that from these individuals being admitted with Gout 225,000 of sufferers are male and 57,000 are female.

Similarly In America the number of Gout cases has risen. In 2011 Gout affected 21% of individuals, and it has been found that it could be linked to the growing rates of obesity in America.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a type of Arthritis. It occurs when crystals of sodium urate begin to form inside an individual’s joints. This happens when there is a build up of uric acid which may develop into crystals which can collect in the joints and this can irritate the tissues in the joint. This causes pain and swelling of the joints.

The symptoms of Gout generally develop quickly over the period of a few hours, and they can last between 7 – 10 days. Gout can affect more than one joint at a time, and the affected area generally tends to look inflamed and swollen. Individuals may experience multiple attacks within their lifetime, and the gaps between attacks can vary greatly for individuals.

Causes Of Gout

There are a number of factors that could potentially cause an outbreak of Gout, and these include: drinking too much alcohol, vitamin C deficiency, certain foods, medications and drinks may increase uric acid levels, and pre-existing conditions may also increase an individual’s chances of getting gout.

Treatment Of Gout

There are two main treatment options available for Gout, and these are: to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, and to prevent a Gout attack.

There are a number of different ways to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, and these include: taking anti-inflammatory painkillers or standard painkillers. There are also alternative medications that can be used to relieve the symptoms of a Gout attack, for example Colchicine is a medication that is generally used when an individual is unable to take anti-inflammatory painkillers. It works by reducing the number of white blood cells travelling to the affected area, which in turn reduces the swelling and pain.

The main method of preventing a Gout attack is to make a number of lifestyle changes. This could include doing things such as: reducing alcohol consumption, dietary changes, losing weight (if you are overweight), or taking a medication called Allopurinol, which is designed to reduce the levels of uric acid within the body.

Long-Term Effects Of Gout

If an individual persistently suffers from Gout over their lifetime, there may be a number of long-term effects that they may suffer with and these include: joint damage, kidney stones, kidney injury, skin nodules, or recurring flares of Arthritis. However it isn’t common for individuals to suffer from complications or long-term effects of Gout, although some individuals may experience some psychological effects after suffering from Gout over a prolonged period of time. This is because it may affect an individual’s overall mood, and the severe pain associated with Gout can cause an individual too experience feelings of anxiety or depression, which could in turn impact on an individual’s daily life.

Home Care And Gout

For those who experience Gout persistently throughout their lives a Home Care package could prove to be extremely beneficial. This is because a care workers can help an individual with a number of different aspects of their lives, and this includes: medication management, meal preparation, domestic duties, and dealing with all aspects of personal care.

This can be beneficial because a care worker can help an individual to make lifestyle changes in order to reduce the likelihood of further Gout attacks, and they can also help to support an individual, who may be lacking in confidence from suffering long-term effects of Gout. A care worker may be able support them on going on outings, and this in turn can boost their self-esteem and help them to do activities that they enjoy doing.

Is Cancer Becoming More Treatable?

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The treatment of Cancer is always improving, and with more research and development of treatments survival rates are improving. Did you know:

• 172 per 100,000 in England die from Cancer
• The UK government plans to reduce the number of deaths resulting from Cancer by 5000 a year by 2015
• 1 in 4 deaths in America are the result of Cancer

This article looks at Cancer survival rates, life expectancy, new treatment options and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.

Are Medications Having A Harmful Impact On The Elderly?

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It is likely that elderly individuals will be taking a wide variety of medications in order to stay healthy and active, however it is possible for these drugs to have an adverse effect on an individual’s health in the long term. Did you know:

• Taking a variety of medications can have an impact on neurotransmitters in the brain
• Mixing drugs could potentially increase the risk of death by 20%
• Elderly individuals could potentially be more confused, which could potentially lead to overdose

This article looks at how medication can impact the overall health and wellbeing of an individual and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.

How Can Regular Exercise Benefit The Elderly?

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It is important for elderly individual to exercise on a regular basis in order to maintain independence, did you know:

• Only 22% of elderly Americans take part in exercise on a regular basis
• 4 out of 10 individuals in America aged 65 or over have difficulty completing basic tasks and daily living activities
• The number of falls within the elderly population could potentially be reduced if individuals were to exercise on a regular basis

The figures shown above for America are likely to be similar in the UK, many of us need to be doing more exercise for better health outcomes.
This article looks at how exercise can impact on an individual’s daily life, maintain independence for longer and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.