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.

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.