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.

Nutrition for the elderly – what you need to know

Nutrition for the elderly – what you need to know

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As we age, our bodies’ nutritional needs change. However, change doesn’t have to be bad, nor does it have to mean surviving on soft, bland food or boiled cabbage!

Everycare Winchester know to how to provide the best care for you, but when it comes to nutrition, do you know how to best care for your own needs? To help you move and look as young as you feel, we’ve listed below the essential components for a healthy diet (and we promise there isn’t a boiled cabbage in sight!)

Variety is vital  

The more variety in your diet, the healthier your gut flora will be. The health of your gut is paramount to your overall wellbeing, affecting everything from memory and mood to immunity and skin.

A great way to ensure you’re consuming an array of nutrients is to ‘eat the rainbow’. Sadly, we’re not talking about eating endless amounts of Skittles, but a rainbow spectrum of fruit and vegetables. Every colour provides a different health benefit, like orange vegetables are packed full of vitamin A which is great for eye sight, and purple hues provide potent antioxidants that fight ageing free-radicals.

Don’t be afraid to try new foods. We’re sure by now you know exactly what you like and what you don’t, but you’re never too old to try something new. You never know, you might discover a new favourite!

Pass the salt

As we age, we become more sensitive to salt, so a lower sodium intake can benefit those with high blood pressure; reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Unfortunately, this may mean you need to pay extra attention to any packaged food you buy and the amount of salt you use to season your food. Most pre-packaged food already contains high levels of salts, so when you sprinkle on extra you’re likely to be consuming more than your recommended daily allowance of sodium, 2.4g sodium/ 6g of salt.

Tip: Swap standard table salt (which is processed to contain sodium and 0 minerals) for naturally occurring Himalayan pink salt (which contains 84 minerals including all 6 electrolytes our bodies require). Plus, Himalayan salt tastes saltier therefore less is needed!

Up your fibre

Digestive health can be an issue amongst older people with many suffering from constipation. One way to improve digestive and bowel health is to increase the amount of fibre in your diet.

Fibre can help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol, aid diabetics by balancing blood-sugar levels, lower the risk of certain cancers and slow the rate at which nutrients are broken down so you stay energised for longer.

Fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, oats, whole grains, seeds like flax and chia and powders like psyllium husk are all great sources of fibre.

Eat omega 3’s

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA), so called because it is needed by the body but cannot be manufactured in the body; it must be obtained via diet.

EFA’s have been found to aid brain, heart, eye, joint and skin health. They prevent abnormal neuron function, reduce the risk of macular degeneration, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, decrease joint stiffness and inflammation, moisturise skin and reduce the risk of wound infection.

Foods rich in omega 3’s include: oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soy beans and spinach.

Supplement for strong bones

Many people are deficient in vitamin D and calcium, particularly amongst the older generation.

Older individuals tend to eat less, have limited diets and venture out less, therefore their bodies are receiving little calcium and vitamin D.  In addition, our bodies’ ability to absorb vitamins and minerals decreases with age too. For example, the skin of an elderly person produces 4× less vitamin D compared to a younger individual when exposed to sunlight for the same amount of time.

Both calcium and vitamin D are needed to maintain strong bones which are especially important for seniors who are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as falling.

Our main source of vitamin D comes from sunshine, as only traces can be found in foods like mushrooms, egg yolks and oily fish. Calcium can be found in dairy, seeds, beans, lentils, leafy greens and fish with edible bones like sardines and canned salmon.

Unless you have retired abroad and are currently sunning yourself on a roof terrace, you ought to take a vitamin D supplement, especially during the months of October to March. Ideally, choose a supplement with both vitamin D and calcium for maximum vitamin/mineral absorption and strong bones.

Stay hydrated

Did you know dehydration is one of the biggest causes of hospitalisation in older adults?

The human body is composed of approximately 60% water. However, that water percentage decreases with age which means the risk of dehydration increases.

If your body is dehydrated it struggles to regulate temperature, transport nutrients around your body and lubricate joints. This will likely result in feeling cold, tired and achy.

Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day and ensure fluids are always readily available to you. Keep a bottle of water next to your bed or on your coffee table so it’s always near to hand!

A tipple & a treat

Good news, alcohol and chocolate are firmly on the menu.

Red wine and dark chocolate (70% cocoa +) both contain flavanols which can provide a myriad of health benefits. They can aid brain health by protecting neurons, help the brain’s ability to learn new information, improve memory and cognitive functioning, help blood circulation which regulates body temperature, reduces fatigue and reduces foot/hand swelling, so pass the wine (for a small glass every now and then!)

It’s important to note that portion control is required; 30 to 60g dark 70% cocoa and 175ml wine is enough to reap the benefits.

A final word

Food is not just fuel, it’s a way to nourish your body, ignite your taste buds and bring you joy. Be mindful of the ingredients you are putting into your body, but most of all, enjoy what you’re eating.  Life’s too short for overcooked cabbage and stodgy mush!

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.

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 Dangerous Is Cold Weather For The Elderly?

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With the cold weather fast approaching, it becomes even more important to ensure that elderly individuals are safe and healthy. Did you know:
• There were approximately 21,700 deaths in individuals aged 65 or over lasts winter
• Far fewer elderly individuals die in countries with lower temperatures because they take the right precautions
• Hypothermia and Pneumonia are the biggest risk factors to an individual’s health for the elderly in colder months
This article looks at how at the affects of cold weather has on elderly individuals, the illnesses and conditions associated with cold weather and the elderly, and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.

How Can Maintaining An Active Lifestyle Benefit The Elderly?

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Population level studies have shown that people who exercise enjoy a higher quality of life and improved health status compared with those with sedentary behaviours, with subsequent reductions in their risk of admission to hospital.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is important for us all, did you know:
• 23.1% of individuals between the ages of 65-74 do not partake in any physical activities
• Partaking in 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week can help an individual to maintain independence
• There are a number of things an elderly individual can do to lead an active lifestlye
This article looks at how an elderly individual can stay active, the benefits of exercise and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.

Is Mobilising Becoming More Difficult For The Elderly?

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Mobility is problem for many people, did you know that:

• In the UK 18% of individuals, aged between, 50 and 64 years have problems with mobility, that is a staggering 1.8 million people in England and Wales
• There are estimated to be 11 million people with a disability, around 20% of the population.
• The numbers with mobility problems increase with age with 78% of those over 85 have some form of disability.
• There are around 1.2 million wheelchair users in England.

This articles looks at mobility devices and walking aids and the help that Home Care can give…Read On.


Are Elderly Individual’s Receiving Enough Support At Home?

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At present in the UK, as with much of the Western World, there is an ageing population, the knock on effect of this is a much greater level of pressure on both the Health and Social Care sector, as well as individuals family members. Currently in the UK there are over 10.5 million older people, and this number is estimated to double in the next 20 years. There are currently around 400,000 older people living in care homes, leaving a large percentage of older individuals who are living at home.

As we get older, we may begin to struggle with day to day living activities. Often older people require more help and support in and around the home and there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved.

Support Available For Elderly Individuals

The elderly often rely on family members for support but this can be great pressure on those family members and some of the elderly do not want to burden their family members with their problems, so where do they go?

There are a number of different types of support that are available for elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home, and these include: implementing a home care package, specialist equipment, and day centres.

Home Care Packages

Implementing a Home Care package can be extremely beneficial to an elderly individual who is living at home, and this is because a care worker would be able to help them with all areas of daily living. Areas that a care worker may be able to help an elderly individual with include: meal preparation, medication management, domestic duties, and all aspects of personal care.

It may be beneficial for an elderly individual to have a Home Care package because it allows them the opportunity to stay independent for longer, as they will be receiving the help and support that they need from home. This in turn means that they are able to continue doing the activities that they enjoy doing, as it can provide the individual with much more freedom in comparison to living in a Care Home.

Home Care packages also provide elderly individuals with more choice about the type of care or support available, as most Home Care organisations are able to provide individuals with a number of different services to ensure that individuals receive all of the help and support that they need, in order to remain independent for as long as possible.

Specialist Equipment

There are a number of pieces of specialist equipment, adaptations and improvements that can be implemented within an individual’s home to support them with daily living activities. Along with the traditional equipment: commodes, walking aids, hoists, stand aids and bathing aids, there are now more technology products around to assist known as assistive technology which includes Telecare.
Using specialist equipment, adaptations and improvements within the home all add to the elderly being able to stay independent for much longer than they would if they did not use these devices. The message to the elderly is not to struggle but to get advice on what there is available to improve their lives.

Specialist equipment can be used in a wide variety of situations to help to support an individual within their own home, and they can compliment other types of support such as Home Care. For example hoists can be used for moving individuals who are unable to do so themselves as part as a Home Care package.

Assistive Technology such as Telecare can be extremely beneficial for those individuals who choose to remain living independently at home. Telecare is a generic name for device that monitors in real-time that can deal with emergencies and lifestyle changes over time in order to manage the risks associated with living alone. This can be beneficial because it can give both themselves and their loved ones the peace of mind that they are being monitored, and if any problems were to occur someone would be alerted and help could be at hand in a quick and efficient manner.

Day Centres

Day Centres can provide elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home with the opportunity to obtain some additional support as well as getting the opportunity to socialise with other individuals are may be living in similar circumstances, which they may otherwise not be able to do.

Day centres provide elderly individuals with the opportunity to partake in a number of different activities and events that in turn will help them to maintain independence, whilst enjoying socialising with their peers. Day centres help an elderly individual who is living at home because partaking in a variety of activities on a regular basis may help to raise an individual’s confidence and self-esteem, which in turn will make them feel more able to partake in daily living activities independently.


There is a wide variety of support available for elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home. The more the elderly use the support that is available to them, the more the strain on the Health and Social Care sector is reduced, as they will be able to maintain some independence for a longer period of time. The Home Care sector will play its role in trying to educate people in what is available to keep them independent.

Is The Flu Affecting More Elderly Individuals?

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With the colder weather fast approaching, the likelihood of contracting the flu virus increases. The flu virus can simply be a minor inconvenience for most individuals, that may cause them to feel ill and run down, whereas in the cases of vulnerable groups of people (e.g. the young, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions such as Asthma, and pregnant women) the flu virus can cause a number of complications to an individual’s health and it may even have potentially dangerous consequences.

Symptoms Of Flu

There are a number of symptoms that could indicate that an individual has the flu, and these include: headache, loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, exhaustion, general aches and pains, tiredness, and a sore throat. Although there are a number of symptoms that are similar to the common cold, the flu it is a much more severe virus, and the symptoms can last much longer.

The Elderly And The Flu Virus

There is currently an ageing population in the UK, and this means that there are more elderly individuals living in the general population than ever before. However although the elderly are one of the largest groups of individuals within the general population, they are the most vulnerable, and the most susceptible to contracting viruses such as the flu.

In older individuals the flu virus is much more likely to cause complications that could have a significant impact on the individual’s overall health and well-being, which could potentially cause long-term health problems. The main health complications that could occur in the elderly are: Pneumonia and Dehydration, and it could also worsen pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, and heart disease.

The main reason that elderly individuals are more vulnerable to complications associated with the flu virus is, they have reduced cough and gag reflexes. This is in turn increases the likelihood of an elderly individual having respiratory conditions. Older individuals are also more likely to have a weakened immune system, and this makes them more susceptible to contracting viruses, and other illnesses. This means that it is much harder for older individuals to fight off illnesses and infections.

Treatment Of Flu

The treatment of Flu draws parallels with the treatment of the common cold. In most cases Flu can be treated within an individual’s home through: resting, keeping warm, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. In some cases Antibiotics may be prescribed, however these would only be prescribed in cases where the individual has developed complications, and this is because Antibiotics have no impact on Flu as it is a virus. Antiviral medications may also be prescribed as these help to prevent the virus from multiplying within the body. Antiviral medications used to treat the Flu include: Tamiflu and Relenza. Tamiflu is taken orally within 48 hours of getting the first Flu symptoms, and it can only be taken for a period of 5 days. Although this can reduce the symptoms of Flu, Tamiflu can have some unpleasant side effects including: nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Relenza is a powder that is taken through the use of an inhaler, and could potentially be a safer antiviral medication to take amongst vulnerable individuals as it is less likely to have any side-effects.

Flu Prevention

The most effective way of treating Flu is by preventing it. This can be done in two main ways and these include: maintaining good hygiene, and the Flu vaccination. The Flu vaccination can be extremely effective in preventing Flu cases, particularly within the elderly population. Currently in the UK it is recommended that all individuals that are in one of the vulnerable groups (elderly, children, pregnant women, and those this pre-existing conditions) and those who care for them (e.g. medical professionals, and carers) receive a Flu vaccination. In the UK the Flu vaccination is available from October, and individuals can talk to their Doctor or nurse if they feel that they need to be vaccinated.

After Flu

As there is a higher risk of elderly individuals developing complications after contracting the Flu virus there is an increased chance of an individual needing some additional help and support. If an individual has developed complications (e.g. Pneumonia) it may leave them feeling weaker and less able to do some tasks that they were previously able to do with ease.

In these cases an individual may benefit from the implementation of a Home Care package, so that they can receive the help and support that they need. This is because a care worker would be able support an individual with all areas of daily living including: personal care, meal preparation, medication management, and domestic duties. This in turn would reduce the strain on an individual whilst they are recovering from the Flu.

Are Elderly Individuals Suffering From More Memory Problems?

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As we get older there may be a greater possibility of our memory declining, making it more difficult to remember things. This can have a major impact on daily life. This can be a result of a number of different conditions, however there are many ways in which an individual can be supported if they are suffering from memory problems.

A study in 2012 by Adam M Brickman of the Taub institute found that of 650 people over 65, 174 were identified as having had silent strokes which had caused dead spots in the brain. These 174 people scored worse on memory tests no matter how large their hippocampus (the part of the brain that plays in big part in short and long memory) was.

Memory Conditions

There are a number of conditions that could affect and individuals memory and these include: Dementia, Stroke, and the general ageing process could also cause memory problems amongst the elderly.


Dementia is an extremely common condition amongst individuals, particularly those over the age of 65. At present it currently affects an estimated 800,000 people in the UK. There are a number of different types of Dementia that can affect an individual. The main symptoms of Dementia include: Confusion, Memory Loss, and problems with speech and understanding. Although there is currently no cure for Dementia it is important that a diagnosis is made early, as it will give medical professionals the opportunity to help an individual to come up with the right treatment plan, and support in dealing with the diagnosis. If a diagnosis is made early it increases the chance of an individual being able to lead an active and fulfilled life.


A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes need to be treated as a medical emergency, and this is because the faster that a person receives medical attention, the less damage that the Stroke is likely to do to the individual. The main symptoms of a Stroke include: Face (may have drooped to one side), Arms (they may not be able to lift their arms), Speech (may be slurred), and Time is also a key issue when dealing with a suspected Stroke as it is essential that an individual suffering from a Stroke receives medical treatment fast. To raise awareness of Strokes to the general public in the UK, there has recently been a campaign to help people to spot the symptoms of Stroke, which can be remembered by using the word FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time). There are two main types of Stroke and these are: Ischaemic, and Haemorrhagic. Ischaemic Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is stopped by a blood clot, and this accounts for roughly 80% of all Stroke cases. Haemorrhagic Strokes are caused by a weakened blood vessel supplying blood to the brain bursting and causing brain damage. There are a number of different treatments available for Strokes, however these treatment options can vary depending on which type of Stroke an individual has. In general most Strokes can be treated by using medications, which are mainly used to prevent and remove blood clots, as well as reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure. However ins some severe cases the best treatment option may be surgery, and this would be done to remove any fatty deposits in arteries, or to repair the damage caused by a Haemorrhagic Stroke. Life after a Stroke can be difficult and it may take time for an individual to be able to do tasks that they were previously able to do with ease, and in order to regain these abilities a long period of rehabilitation may be required.

The Ageing Process

Memory loss associated with the ageing process differs greatly to memory loss as a result of other conditions such as Dementia or Strokes. This is largely because with normal age-related ageing individuals will only experience minor changes to their memory, for example they will only forget parts of an experience. Whereas in cases where the memory problem is associated with conditions such as Dementia, the individual may suffer from more extreme memory loss, such as forgetting entire experiences that they may have had. Individual’s may experience some decline in their ability to remember things over time. However this may be very gradual or hardly noticeable, meaning that an individual would be able to continue doing daily living activities for much longer than someone who is suffering from memory problems. As it isn’t a condition, memory loss associated with the ageing process doesn’t have any specific treatments, however an individual may benefit from using memory aids (e.g. notes and reminders) to help them to deal with activities on a daily basis.

Home Care And Memory Problems

An individual who is suffering from memory problems may benefit from a Home Care package, and this is because a care worker may be able to help them with doing tasks that they may struggle to do unaided. For example an individual who is suffering from Dementia may find it difficult to remember to take their medication. A care worker would be able to assist with medication management, and this in turn will also ensure that the individual’s health and well-being is closely monitored. A care worker would be able to assist an individual in a number of areas including: meal preparation, personal care, and going out on outings. A Home Care package can have a major impact on an individual’s ability to cope within daily life, as well as their over their well-being.