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!

Support Available In Winchester For Dementia Sufferers

Support Available In Winchester For Dementia Sufferers

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There are currently 800,000 people suffering from Dementia, and it most commonly affect those who are over the age of 65. The main symptoms of Dementia include: confusion, memory loss, and difficulties with thinking, problem solving and language. Dementia can affect anyone at any point in their lives, and there is a high likelihood that you or someone you know is affected by Dementia.

The Dementia Advice Service has recently opened an office in Winchester. They offer a wide range of services to help support those experiencing Dementia, and these include: dealing with questions that you may have regarding the subject, identifying what information you need and how to find it, provide tailored information for you, informing you of local services, and supporting you to make plans for the future.

The Alzheimer’s Society also offers a wide range of services in the Winchester area. The services on offer include: activity clubs, support groups, Dementia information drop-ins, musical activities, outings, support and outreach lunch clubs and an outreach services. These services are on offer to help to provide support to those who are affected by Dementia within the local community.

Andover Mind has also reached an agreement with Solent Mind to run a well-being centre in Winchester. This centre is based on Parchment Street, and provides a wide range of support and advice to those who are affected by Dementia. This includes activities: creative writing, career building, , healthy eating, art and self-help groups. Solent Mind also offers Dementia reablement, to assist those who have experience deterioration in health. This is because they may need to relearn the skills essential to keep them safe and independent at home.

The Dementia reablement provided by Solent Mind concentrates primarily on restoring the individual’s ability to function independently as opposed to treating the health-related problems directly. This project also aims to raise awareness about Dementia, through the use of services within the local community aiming to create more Dementia-friendly communities. This is done through supporting relatives, carers and hospital staff to make sure that individuals are being treated well enough during any hospital stays, and by making sure that any individuals referred to Solent Mind are visited daily by a member of staff who will spend plenty of time with them during their stay. They will be able to listen and provided any additional support that is needed to make sure that your voice is heard, promote an understanding of the individual’s needs, and upon hospital discharge they can also make sure that you are referred to Dementia and home support services that are appropriate for you.

There is a wide variety of support options available for those who are affected by Dementia in any way. These services can be beneficial to both the person suffering from Dementia, and anyone who is providing support to them.

Is Gynaecological Cancer On The Rise?

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Bethel House in Barton on Sea organised a tea party for The Eve Appeal which was held on 20th March as part of the charity’s Make Time for Tea campaign. This was organised to celebrate Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and help to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

The Eve Appeal was set up in 2005 , with the main aim of raising money to fund research into Gynaecological Cancers in hopes of finding a cure. Since the charity was founded there have been major breakthroughs in improving survival rates for those suffering from Gynaecological Cancers. The other aim of The Eve Appeal is to promote awareness of Gynaecological Cancers.

The Make Time for Tea campaign was set up for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to help raise extra funds for the charity. The Make Time for Tea campaign encouraged you to raise money for The Eve Appeal and have fun whilst doing it. By organising a tea party with friends, work colleagues or in your local community you can raise awareness and make money for funding the research of Gynaecological Cancers. The Eve appeal has many other ways of raising funds if you want to get involved.

Gynaecological Cancers include: Ovarian Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Vaginal Cancer, Vulval Cancer, and Uterine or Endometrial Cancer. In the UK Ovarian Cancer is the 5th most common form of cancer among women and is most common in woman over the age of 40.

Research into Gynaecological Cancers is vital, at present women who present with stage 1 or 2 Ovarian Cancer have a 90% chance of survival. However 70% of women are currently presenting at stage 3 or 4 of Ovarian Cancer, and the survival rate at this point dramatically drops to 30%. This is because Ovarian Cancer can be a very aggressive disease, and despite intensive efforts to improve treatment mortality rates are still quite high because symptoms are difficult to identify

The Wessex Cancer Trust has a cancer support service based in the Winchester area. The Winchester Cancer Support Centre is based on St Georges Street and is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 16:00 the centre offers a wide range of services including: reflexology, aromatherapy and massage. The Wessex Cancer Trust can help with all aspects of daily life for someone who is suffering from Cancer. They also offer counselling and complementary therapies including services such as: befriending, counselling, and Reiki.

There is a wide variety of support available for those who are suffering from Cancer. For example Hampshire Hospitals provide a variety of services including: outpatient clinics, supportive treatments and counselling sessions. They also have a mobile chemotherapy unit which services: Andover, Alton, Eastleigh and Tadley. This allows people to have easy access to treatment, whilst reducing travel costs and stress to an ill and vulnerable people.

Service To Support Local Community At Home

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In Winchester its has been agreed that Avalon House on Chesil Street will be repurposed and used by the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. This organisation provides health services to the community, and this includes health visitors and district nurses. However the main purpose of the Avalon House building is yet to be decided.

Although the repurposing of this building has had the full backing of the councillors, some members of the general public have raised some concerns. For example some of the local residents feel that they may experience some disruptions may be experienced as a result of taxi’s pulling up and waiting for people. A councillor has also raised the point that the building is in a conservative area, and the NHS may put up a variety of signs which could lead to potential problems.

The Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust provide a wide variety of services including: Mental Health services, community health services, learning disability services, and Social care services. They can provide care and support within the community that will help you to maintain good health and well-being. This can be done by providing you with community nurses or support. There are a wide range of services that are run within in the community, and these include: health and well-being services, mental health services, community dentistry, and minor injury units.

The Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s main aim is to ensure that the general populations health and wellbeing are as good as they can possibly be. This is why they run a number of services targeted specifically for maintaining good health and well-being. These services include: stopping smoking services, advice on alcohol and drug abuse, older people’s health services (including falls advice), and Dental Health services.

These services can be particularly beneficial to older people because they may not be able to get out and about as easily as others within the local community. This is because it can help them to get the help and support that they need to maintain good health and wellbeing, and to potentially maintain some level of independence for longer.

Age Concern also offer information and advice services to assist those who are over the age of 55 with a variety of different areas of daily living, including: pensions, family and personal matters, aids and adaptations, and housing and property. These services allow you to gain valuable advice on how to manage and understand a variety of factors and decisions from daily life.

The Royal Voluntary Service also offer a wide range of services to help keep older people active within the community for longer. Their services range from befriending services to visiting people in hospital.

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.

Elderly People Exercise

It is recommended that elderly people partake in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This can include activities such as: brisk walking, water aerobics, tennis, and general gardening. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity will make you breathe harder and raise your heart beat, this healps to makie your heart stronger.

Elderly people should also complete muscle-strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week. This activities should work all of the major muscle groups which include: legs, back, hips, chest, arms, abdomen and shoulders. Muscle-strengthening activities are generally repetitive movements to help build muscles up over time. These activities include: bicep curls, chair stands, arm raises, knee flexes, hip flexes, and shoulder flexes.

The weekly recommended level of activity for elderly people can be spread out over time, however in order for it to be effective it is recommended that individuals spend no less than 10 minutes at a time exercising.

Benefits Of Exercise For Older People

There are a number of benefits that exercising on a regular basis can have on the elderly and these include: maintaining independence, preventing a wide variety of medical conditions, improving cardiovascular strength, reducing stress, improving mood, and reducing the risk of falls.

Exercise can reduce the risk of an older person developing a variety of medical conditions, and this is largely because regular exercise can help to improve an individual’s overall health and well-being. For example regular exercise can help to prevent Osteoporosis because it can help to increase bone density. This in turn can help to reduce the likelihood of an individual suffering from falls because they will become stronger, and more able to mobilise with confidence.

By exercising regularly elderly individuals can also maintain independence for longer, this is because staying active can help to improve overall strength and health. This means that the individual is likely to suffer from falls, meaning that they will be able to live at home and remain independent for much longer in comparison to those who don’t exercise on a regular basis.

Exercise can help to release endorphins which in turn can help to relieve stress and improve the overall mood of the individual. Regular exercise could also help to boost an individual’s confidence which can improve the individual’s mood further.

Simple exercises done at home cost nothing but can be of great benefit if done consistently. It is worth finding out what local exercise groups there are, these groups enable you to exercise and socialise at the same time.

Home Care

Implementing a Home Care package could also be extremely beneficial for older people. This is because a care worker would be able to visit them within their own home, and help them to participate in activities that they enjoy. For example a care worker may be able to take an individual out for a walk, to ensure that they are getting some exercise on a regular basis.

Through a Home Care package individuals can maintain independence for longer because they will receive the support that they need to remain active. Care Workers will also be able to provide them with encouragement in order to help boost their confidence and self-esteem.

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.