Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs for The Elderly

Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs for The Elderly


There are many studies online that provide different nutritional guidance when it comes to improving and maintaining the health and general wellbeing of the elderly. As it is Easter, we wanted to draw your attention to particular good news about Dark Chocolate.

Dark Chocolate for some people may be considered as a lavish and indulgent treat. However, now is the ideal time to treat yourself or a loved one to a delicious dark chocolate Easter Egg. After all, there are studies out there about the health benefits from Dark Chocolate.

Here is why you might treat yourself this Easter:

Natural Mood Enhancement

Dark Chocolate is known to stimulate your body’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are a type of chemical that your neurons use to communicate with each other. They interact with receptors in our brains that can trigger a positive and happy feeling.

Chocolate also has another mood enhancing chemical in it called Phenylethylalanine. Phenylethylalanine gives you the feelings that are associated to those of falling in love. It also can combine with a chemical called dopamine that is already present in our brain to act as an anti-depressant.

Brain Power

It has been found that dark chocolate contains flavanols (a natural compound found in plants) that can improve the blood flow to our brains. Increased blood flow may not only improve your memory but also increase your attention span and improve your reaction times.

One study even discovered that older people consuming more flavanols scored better in some cognitive tests.


Organic compounds such as flavanols and polyphenol found in dark chocolate can function as antioxidants in our bodies.  Antioxidants are really important as they protect our tissues and cells from the damage of free radicals.

Reliance on online studies is not always best for us but in the case of Dark Chocolate use it as a good excuse to treat yourself or your elderly loved one to an egg this Easter.

Does someone you know need support at home with meal preparation?

Would you like a friend or family member to have company whilst out and about in the community?

If you would like to know more about support at home, contact our team at Everycare on 01962 842548.

TechFest65 tips – how to download an app from the Google Play store

TechFest65 tips – how to download an app from the Google Play store


Google Play is the official app developed by Google for Android mobile users and allows you to browse and download a range of digital media, from music and magazines to books and television programmes.

You can either download the app to your phone or access the Google Play website here.

So, to download an app from the Play store follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Google Play Store on your Android phone or online.

2. Using the search bar, enter a search term to find a suitable app. For example, if you’re looking for a new app you may type in “free news”.

3. Once you’ve found a suitable app there will be a green ‘install’ button which you click and then follow the on screen instructions. If the app isn’t free you may be asked to enter your payment details if you haven’t already stored them on your account.

4. Finally, to check if the installation has been successful simply go to “my apps” or if you’re using an android mobile it should now appear on your home screen.

Keep a look out for more of our TechFest65 tips over the coming weeks!

Visiting Winchester this Christmas with the elderly

Visiting Winchester this Christmas with the elderly


Winchester is an attractive city for Christmas shopping, with a selection of specialist retailers. You may find something special for a loved one or treat yourself to a coffee and cake at one of the many cafes and coffee shops.

If you’re planning a shopping visit over the holidays with a friend or family member that requires assistance with mobility, Winchester offers the support you need.

Getting around:

Park and Ride is the best way to get around the city. Car parks are located at St Catherine’s and Barfield, providing a convenient place to leave your car and take one of the buses that run frequently to various stops in the city centre.

The Brooks Shopping Centre offers a variety of popular stores and shop mobility, which is located on the upper level car park. Here you can access scooters and wheelchairs, which will ease the worry of getting around your favourite stores this Christmas.


Winchester is a historic city offering many attractions – Winchester Cathedral, King Alfred’s Round Table and Jane Austin’s house to name but a few. The visitor trail gives you the opportunity to see a number of highlights of Winchester as it is specifically designed for easy access.

The Christmas Market has been recognised as being one of the best in Europe. Pretty wooden chalets, wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and warm festive food to ease the winter chill.  The market is wheelchair accessible and stewards are available if any assistance is required. The Christmas Market closes this Sunday at 7.30pm.

For more information about attractions and events in Winchester this Christmas, click here.

Steps To Manage Hearing Loss

Health Care Other

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.

Improved Bus Travel For Visually Impaired


A new system is being implemented on Bluestar and Unilink buses in the Southampton and Winchester area, to make it easier for those who are visually impaired to access services when travelling. This could be particularly beneficial to those who are new to the Winchester and Southampton area.

What is it?

The new system that is being put into place is an automated audio announcement that is designed to alert visually impaired individuals of upcoming stops. It uses GPS satellite navigation, and this identifies the buses location, so that a voice file can be activated, to alert visually impaired passenger that the bus is approaching a particular stop.

New features have also been added to the Bluestar and Unilink websites in order to make them more accessible to the visually impaired. The new “Speak me” (look for the words in the top right corner of the sites) feature gives people the opportunity to have the text read out in any language to them. The websites have also been made more accessible by giving anyone the opportunity to change the size of the text and the colour of the background, so that it is clearer and easier to read.

How Can it Help?

Buses and other forms of public transport can be vital in enabling people who are visually impaired to live more independent lives. The main benefit of audio announcements on buses is it allows people who have visual impairment to use public transport without worrying that they will miss their stop.

It can be extremely difficult for those who are visually impaired to get out and about, and this new system could make it much easier for them. These new systems being put into place could be particularly beneficial for those who are visually impaired, and this is because it can provide them with the opportunity to access more within the community, as travelling could become much easier.

These new systems could also be beneficial because they may help to boost an individual’s confidence in accessing the community independently. This is because those with a visual impairment may have issues with their confidence, particularly if they are new to an area, as they may struggle to get out and about. This system will also help to reduce the stresses that can be associated with travelling.

This system has been implemented by a number of different bus companies across the United Kingdom, along with a wide variety of other systems and devices to help those who are visually impaired to cope with a wide variety of tasks and activities associated with daily living. The main aim of this system being to make all forms of public transport much more accessible to those suffering from visual impairment or other disability.

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

Health Care Home Care Other

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.

Loss Of A Partner? Who Can Help?

Family Care Home Care Other

The loss of a partner can be a difficult time for anyone, and it create a lots of questions that need to be answered and tasks to be completed. Did you know:

• In the UK the average life expectancy for women is 82.8 years, and for men its 78.8 years
• You are not alone, there are a number of support options available to help you get through this difficult time
• Implementing a Home Care package may help to support you after losing a partner

This article talks about all of the support options that are available for someone who has recently suffered from a bereavement, and the help that Home Care can provide.
Loss Of A Partner? Who Can Help?: http://EzineArticles.com/8182409

Can Joint Replacements Keep The Elderly Active For Longer?

Exercise Health Care Home Care Other

Joint replacement, though starting early, became available more generally in the 1960s with hip replacements followed by knee replacements. Ankle and shoulder replacements are now available. Due to increases in the elderly population and improvements in surgical procedures the number of joint replacements has been increasing massively and is set to carry on increasing. It is predicted in the USA that between 2005 and 2030 hip replacements will grow by 174% to 572,000 and for knee replacements to grow by 673% to 3.48 million.

Data from 2011, in the UK, shows 80,314 hip replacements, 84,653 knee replacements and 492 ankle replacements, data on shoulder replacements was not collected in 2011. The data shows that most replacements occur due to osteoarthritis and the average age at replacement is around 68 years.

As we get older it is common for our posture and walking pattern to change. This is because many changes occur in the body as we age. For example bone density as lost during the ageing process, particularly in women after experiencing the menopause. During the age process joints may also get stiffer and less flexible. This is because the fluid in the joints can decrease and this means that the cartilage may begin to rub together and erode. Calcification (deposit of minerals around the joints) can occur particularly in the shoulder joint. The hip and knee joints are common areas for cartilage to be lost.

Effects age related changes can have on the body

Almost all elderly individuals are effected by joint changes in some way, and this can vary from stiffness to Arthritis. There are a number of effects that ageing can have on the body, for example bones can become brittle, and these means that they can become more prone to breaks. The most common effects that can occur include: inflammation, stiffness, pain and deformity as a result of a breakdown of the joints structure.

As a result of these changes within the body individual’s are more likely to become unsteady on their feet, and this can result in falls. This can have a major impact on an individual’s health and well-being, as falls can result in serious breakages, such as a hip fracture.

What can be done to help?

In serious cases joint replacements would be a viable option, as it can relieve pain and disability. It is common as people age for them to need knee or hip replacements. This is because these are joints that see a considerable amount of wear and tear throughout individual’s lives, though statistics show that many replacements are due to the pain from osteoarthritis which there is no current cure for.

The procedure for a joint replacement involves removing the damaged joint and then an artificial joint (either made of a metal alloy or ceramic) is put in place. This can either be cemented or non-cemented. Cemented means that the artificial joint has been fixed to the remaining bone with cement, and this is quite often used in older individuals as their ability to heal is more limited. Non-cemented joint replacements allow the bones to naturally grow around the replacement to fix it into place. This is generally used in cases where younger individuals or more active individual’s need joint replacements. This is because it can provide more flexibility and movement in the long term. However with this method of joint replacement healing time may take considerably longer than a cemented joint replacement as the bones need the opportunity to grow.

Recovery time following a joint replacement can be particularly long, and an individual may require countless hours of physiotherapy and support in order to regain movement and flexibility. Generally individuals manage to regain a normal level of activity within two to three months of having the replacement, but it can take up to a year to make a full recovery and full benefits of the new joint. Following the surgery you would be enrolled into an exercise programme that is designed to help to gain strength and improve mobility of the new joint.

Home care and joint replacements

As a result of the surgery it is likely that you will be off of your feet for a while, and recovery may be slow, some extra help may be needed. It may be beneficial to implement a home care package in order to provide some additional support. A care worker would be able to visit to help with daily living tasks such as washing, dressing and preparation of meals. Care workers can also provide some support with some exercises in order to help build up strength in the new joint. The Care Worker can focus on getting you back to doing what would have normally been doing before the surgery.


In the UK history is showing that replacements are lasting 8 years without problems in many cases therefore people are prolonging their active lives. Having to redo work on joints is occurring in around 10% of cases and as more data is collected and shared with surgeons around the world the life of replacements is increasing and the level of issues is reducing.

Could Poor Diet Be Causing Health Problems In The Elderly?

Health Care Home Care Other

Diet plays a significant factor in daily life for everyone, this is because dietary choices can have a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. As we age it becomes increasingly important to watch what we eat in order to ensure that we are getting all of the nutrients that we need as is a well known fact that the body changes as we age, and in order to maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle, and the best way of doing this is by ensuring you follow a balanced diet.

The symptoms of poor diet or malnutrition can be weight loss, disorientation, light headedness, lethargy and loss of appetite and be easily mistaken for illness or disease.

A previous study in the UK showed that over 70,000 people die in the UK each year due to poor diet and these people could have lived another 10 years. In the US a study showed that over 40% of people die due to lifestyle choices, diet being a big part of this.

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet ensures that you stay healthy by providing you with all of the nutrients that your body needs, from all of the major food groups. These are fruit and vegetables (aim for five a day), fibre, dairy , protein , and small amounts of sugar can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.


It is important that as we age our fibre intake increases, and this is because the elderly are at greater risk of experiencing digestive problems such as constipation. Foods high in fibre include: bread, rice, breakfast cereals and pasta. The wholegrain varieties contain higher levels of fibre. Other sources of fibre include: potatoes, beans, lentils, peas, oats, fruit and vegetables. Fibre has been proven to have a number of health benefits including: preventing diabetes, heart disease, weight gain and some cancers.


Iron is key to ensuring the body stays healthy. Sources of iron include: red meat, although no more than 70g (cooked weight) a day, oily fish, eggs, and pulses have also been found to be good sources of iron. It is essential that adequate iron levels are maintained because iron deficiency can cause a number of health problems including: weakness, damaged immunity, and cognitive function.


Calcium rich foods and drinks play a key role in older individual’s diet. This is because Osteoporosis is a major health issue that impacts the elderly, especially women. Osteoporosis is where the bone density decreases and the risk of fractures increases. Calcium rich foods include: dairy products, canned fish with bones (e.g. sardines), soya beans, tofu, and green leafy vegetables.


Sodium levels can have a major impact on the health of an older individual, as high sodium levels can cause a number of health problems including: high blood pressure, heart disease, and confusion. The best way of avoiding a high sodium diet would be by not adding salt into meals. Checking food labels is also another useful way to ensure that you are not exceeding the recommended daily amount of salt.

Vitamins A and D

Vitamin D maintains healthy bones, as it can help to absorb calcium. Sources of vitamin D include: exposure to sunlight, eggs, oily fish, fortified cereals and spreads. It is important that elderly individuals get an adequate level of vitamin D in order to prevent conditions such as Osteoporosis. Vitamin A levels need to be monitored too much can increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Foods such as liver are high in vitamin A and shouldn’t be eaten more than once a week.

Lack of Appetite and Thirst

As we age it is likely that we will want to eat and drink less, or become less interested in food and drink. This is because as we age we generally become less active, meaning that we are burning fewer calories. Other reasons that older people may experience a loss of appetite include: poor mobility, as food preparation and shopping become difficult, and lack of interest. For example individual’s may have no interest in cooking and preparing meals, a method of ensuring that they eat would be to buy convenience foods such as tinned or microwaveable meals.

Home Care

Home care packages could be a beneficial way of ensuring that an elderly individual is receiving all of the nutrients that they need to maintain a balanced diet. This could be effective because a care worker would be able to visit the individual on a regular basis to assist with or to prepare meals for the individual. This would be beneficial because it ensures that they are eating an adequate amount of food and receiving all of the nutrients that they need in order to maintain a balanced diet. This type of home care package could also be beneficial because it could increase an individual’s interest in food, which in turn could increase their independence for longer.

Looking After A Loved One? Exhausted? Could Respite Care Help?

Health Care Home Care Other

It is well known that in many developed countries in the World there is an increasing number of people living longer. As modern science enables us to live longer there are a lot of people living with long term health conditions; this puts a burden on families that often have to help elderly relatives.

In the UK in 20 years time the number of people over the age of 65 is going to increase by 5 1/2 million in the UK, and by 2050 this number will have almost doubled. In the USA the projection for 2015 for over 65’s is 54 million increasing to 89 million by 2035 and 102 million by 2050.

There is a significant strain on Health and Social Care services, leading to more and more relatives making the decision to care for loved ones. Caring for a loved one can be extremely rewarding, but it can be hard work, and this can lead to you feeling exhausted and with little time to do things for yourself. It has been proven that people caring for loved ones put themselves at high risk of health problems.

What is respite care?

Respite care gives relief to a caregiver by putting in place short term replacement care, temporarily relieving the caregiver of their responsibilities. This can provide both the individual and their family with a number of benefits. For example respite care can prevent individual’s from having to go into nursing homes, as they will be provided with the help and support that they need at home. It can also be beneficial for caregivers as it will give them the opportunity to have a well deserved break, giving them the time to do things they enjoy.
Types of respite care

In- home respite is an extremely popular choice for respite care. A care worker visits an individual’s home and provides them with care and support. This can be done on a one off basis or arranged as a regular visit, this can allow the caregiver to attend regular events on a weekly basis or to go on day trips. This can also be offered as live in support for up to a few weeks. This provides many benefits as it provides support in the event that the caregiver needs to take some time away. For example they may want to go on holiday or need medical treatment themselves.
Where the caregiver would prefer to stay at home but not have the cared for person at home; then respite can be arranged in a Nursing or Residential home. In some areas there are specialised facilities for respite where there is access to emergency facilities and assistance where required. There are also organisations that put in place emergency respite at short notice, ensuring that someone is there to provide the individual with support in unforeseen situations such as the caregiver going into hospital themselves. Therapeutic adult day care provides respite care mainly during business hours, five days a week, however in some instances care can also be provided 24 hours a day with this type of care.

How respite care can help

All types of respite can provide many benefits for individual’s and their caregivers, as it provides both with the opportunity to have a break from what can otherwise be a stressful situation. This is beneficial as is relieves some of the pressure for the caregiver, meaning they are less likely to get frustrated and exhausted. Respite care can also be beneficial for the individual because it provides them with the opportunity to have social interactions with those who are not their primary caregiver, and this in turn can boost an individual’s confidence and self-esteem.

Respite care can be used in situations where caregiver’s are relatives or friends. This can be particularly beneficial in individual is suffering from conditions such as Dementia, as caregivers will become increasingly tired and this can make it difficult to provide sufficient care for the individual. It is important for caregivers to have regular breaks to prevent them becoming overwhelmed, and it also ensures that the individual is receiving the help and support they need.

Local Council Respite Care in the UK

In the UK some local authorities are giving non-means tested respite care vouchers. In Hampshire in the UK, where our business is, the Hampshire County Council supply Take a Break vouchers for respite care. We would encourage people in the UK to contact their local county Adult Services department to see what is on offer for them.