Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs for The Elderly

Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs for The Elderly

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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.

Antioxidant

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!

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.

 

The Big Decision Home Care Or Care Home

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The Big Decision Home Care Or Care Home

Having arrived at the point in your life where you feel you are not coping well on your own at home but have a fear of letting strangers into your home for home care or are worried about permanently moving into a care home, consider the question properly before making a decision.

Deciding which steps to take when choosing care options for family members, spouses or even yourself can be tough, particularly when making the big decision. Consultation with family members can help but often they know nothing about the help that is available. Below are presented some of the points to consider when making the big decision.

Advantages of Home Care

Home care can be very beneficial for individuals as it allows them to remain at home, and maintain some independence. A flexible care plan can be provided which is tailored to an individual’s needs. This allows individual’s the opportunity to continue doing things that they enjoy. For example if an individual enjoys walking, then it is possible for it to be arranged within an individual’s plan, or care workers can be used for support to allow them to continue these activities.

Hospital admission can be prevented and readmission rates reduced, this is because individuals are getting the support that they need within their homes, and injuries that result from falls can be prevented within the home as home help prevents them doing activities that may cause harm.

Infection risk can also be reduced, because an individual isn’t in an environment where ill people are present, which means that the likelihood of becoming ill themselves is reduced.

Home care also provides support for family members, as the strain of caring for a relative is reduced.

The familiar surroundings of your own home are maintained and possibly protected for family members.

Advantages of Care Homes

It provides individuals with an opportunity for social interaction, as activities are often arranged for them to participate in if they wish. This is beneficial as it prevents loneliness.

Care Homes also provide 24 hour care for individuals, which means that they are more likely to get all the relevant support they need.

Individual’s moving into Care Homes can also reduce the strain on a family, as they will no longer have to provide care for their relatives, which means that they can be there simply for support.
Depending on the type of care that a person requires it may be more beneficial for an individual to receive care within a Care Home environment because it may reduce the costs for them slightly if they require a lot of support, Home Care is usually more tailored and cheaper.

However there are a few disadvantages to both Home Care and Care Homes, and these include: A large financial impact, having to deal with an unusual situation and quality of care can sometimes be an issue. The disadvantages of Care Homes in particular can be: a fear of Care Homes, a lack of freedom and choice, and having to deal with other residents as they may not get on with them.

Both care options have advantages and disadvantages, and this can make the big decision very difficult. Home Care is a particularly popular choice for individual’s care at present, and this is largely because of the flexibility and independence that it offers. This makes Home Care generally seem more appealing to individuals, as it allows individuals to feel more comfortable and relaxed with the care that they are receiving. However the decision of which type of care an individual should receive should be made on the basis of their situation, so that they can find an option that is best suited to what they require.

Home Care Preferable to Hospital Care for the Elderly

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Working in Home Care in Hampshire we get to meet patients that have been discharged from the local NHS Hospital with mixed views on how they have been cared for.

Hospitals have been found by the CQC to be failing in delivering basic care in the areas of nutrition and dignity. It may only be 20 out of 100 that were not meeting standards, but 20% is a big failing when you are talking about basic needs. Worse still, is that 50% of hospitals gave cause for concern. On the plus side, 78% of hospitals accept the findings and this, we hope, will lead to improved care.

The report tells us that the inspections were just carried out on one day of the year and were only in two wards of a hospital. In addition the observations were made between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. This concerns us because there was no observation of what happens in the night when supervision is likely to be less nor at weekends when staff shortages can be more acute. The report states that this is a cost issue, yet people working in care are expected to work unsocial hours for no extra pay, what exempts higher paid inspection staff from working the unsocial hours for the same pay? This is a poor excuse for not doing these unsocial hour checks.

Why is it that inspection routines still seem only able to work 9am to 4pm? Care happens 24 hours a day 365 days of the year any inspections should take this into account. It would have been helpful to ask some preliminary questions with patients on when the most problems were being encountered. Just concentrating on the day and just Lunch delivery has probably meant that some even bigger issues have been missed.

Another potential flaw in the inspections is that the question of dignity being observed was based mainly on asking patients, the elderly do not always complain especially when they think that by complaining they may be treated in a different way. We would have liked to have seen questions asked of the family and other visitors to see if they felt that dignity was being observed.

Subsequently the government have announced further visits to hospitals and care homes; we do hope that the times of visits are more varied this time.

While hospitals and care homes strive to give a good service they should be seen as the back stop. We believe that you are still better off remaining at home receiving home care and being more in control of your own privacy and dignity.

Home Care Smart Gadgets for Savvy Elders

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Working in Home Care, delivering services in Winchester and surrounding areas in Hampshire, we can see that the need for more gadgets is needed, particularly in the UK where there is an increase in the number of elderly people without there being on-going funding available. Relatives of the elderly can be time constrained but still need to be reassured that their loved ones are safe, turning to technology may be one way of keeping relatives informed about what is going on or being assured that the elderly are living comfortably.

There are now products from amplified telephones and listening systems for televisions to devices for fall detection and remote monitoring. The technology industry is said to be responding to a growing demand for products specifically designed for today’s aging population.

Innovative gadgets and modern technology are helping people to deal with daily living. There are, also, some low tech devices around to help make daily tasks easier, including soft-handled or large-grip cooking and eating utensils, swivel cushions that make getting in and out of a car easier, and various assistive devices that eliminate the need to bend over when putting on socks, stockings or any other garment that you need to pull up over your feet.

We are hearing from America that high-tech assistive technology for aging adults is “nearing science fiction territory”. Examples being reported include shoes that help you keep your balance, a scanner that “reads” text aloud, and a voice-activated wheelchair knows its way around your home.

Other products are wearable devices that can automatically detect falls and send alerts to loved ones over the internet, there are devices that monitor heart-rate and body-temperature changes with the information being sent real time to centres where clinicians are based to monitor the data. To detect falls there are motion and floor-vibration sensors, devices that detect abnormal walking and pressure pads to put in beds to detect whether someone has got out of bed.

In reality, as we know with technology, it is expensive to be an early adopter so we expect that the more “science fiction” the products are the harder they are to find and the more expensive they are.

The more down to earth products that can be found today, bearing in mind that we are not recommending or endorsing any of these products because there are others on the market, are:

  • Amplicom ring flash 100 phone call amplifier, can be switched to ‘T’ mode for hearing aid wearers around £20.
  • Glow flow temperature controlled basin light, fits most taps with an adapter, illuminates the water with blue for cool and red for hot (over 32 degrees C) around £15.
  • Light switch illuminator for standard single gang light switches to enable to be found easier in the dark around £7.
  • Doro big button cordless phone around £40.
  • Powertel 49 plus home desk phone with large buttons around £40.
  • Powertel V 100 vibration pillow to put under a pillow or cushion to alert you to calls around £20.
  • Lutall big button mobile phone with SOS button, works on all networks except 3, around £35.
  • Sen Cit fall monitor that detects when a person has stopped moving and sends a message to someone remote to take action £198.
  • Geemarc wireless TV listening device, basically a wireless headset and a base station that plugs into the TV around £150.

Just some of the products available.

Free Seminar – Who will pay for long term care?

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With an ageing population, Long Term Care provision is becoming a more prevalent issue.  One in four people are likely to need Long Term Care in the future, and provision for this eventuality is very often dismissed until there is an immediate need.  Indeed, for those receiving care or wishing to increase that care, there is the constant worry of how they can continue to afford it. Government provision is limited and more and more people will be faced with ‘self-funding’ their nursing/homecare fees, potentially depleting their assets.

We have compiled a panel of experts to present in clear English all the options currently available. The topics to be covered will include:

  • what is homecare and how will it be paid for?
  • how can you protect your assets, what are the options and what of future provision?
  • look at the use of wills and powers of attorney
  • how Domiciliary Care Providers deliver their services
  • how a relationship with a team of trusted advisers can protect the recipients of homecare

The seminar will be hosted by Everycare and with guest speakers Brian Fisher of Life, Simon Whipple of The Cares’ Legal Centre Solicitors and Sarah Quirk (SOLLA Accredited) from SarahQuirk Associates. The venue for this FREE 90 minute presentation is at British Red Cross Centre, Red Cross House, Winnall Close, Winnall Manor Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 0LB on Tuesday 5th July 2011.

Timing of meeting:

  • Lunch: 11:45 am for 12:00 noon commencing with buffet lunch

To book a space on the seminar call Mike on 01962 842548 or email  info@everycarehants.co.uk .

 

Home Care – Cuts Already Coming

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The Government had promised to protect Health Care Services but of course there was no direct mention of Social Care, which includes Home Care for the elderly and other people with social needs. There is always talk of protecting front line services but the definition of front line services is never made clear.

There are announcements being made already about cuts to service, this is a worrying trend which directly affects the vulnerable people in our society.

Bolton Council has announced that the eligibility criteria would be changing for people in the future. This means that it will not affect people currently receiving services for the time being.

The Bolton Council are very sad that they are having to take away services for people with moderate needs. This trend has been happening for several years with many councils now only supplying services for those with severe needs.

Gareth Evans, chief officer for Age Concern in Bolton said he was “very concerned” about the level of the cutbacks. “These cutbacks follow reductions made in recent years. They are not cutbacks in isolation”.  He added “Clearly a very serious attempt is being made to protect the most vulnerable which is obviously heartening”.

Bolton Council are cutting the budgets for Adult and Children’s services by a total of £9.5million.

A second announcement has been made by West Sussex Council who are cutting £2.5million from its £28million budget for home care by reviewing contracts with more than 100 organisations.

The service which operates 24 hours a day every day of the year, provides care for the elderly and disabled as well as those recovering from operations or suffering from dementia.

Councillor Graham Tyler said “I would like to reassure residents that the quality and level of service will not be affected by these changes”.

As these services are people driven, savings in costs usually mean a reduction in the number of people or a reduction in the wages being paid, either way, it is difficult to see how the service will not be affected in some way.

It can be expected that there will be more announcements of cuts for the year commencing April 2011. If this drives people out of the Home Care market, where there is already a struggle to find enough carers, then this will not be good for the stated aim to treat more people in their own homes.

Everycare (Central Hants) offer Care in your own Home and want to support people in living longer and healthier lives.

By Mike Frizzell  Everycare (Central Hants) Ltd www.everycarehants.co.uk

Is there a crisis coming in Care?

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With the squeeze on Government spending there is concern that the quality of care given will reduce. As the care industry is very much a people driven industry if the amount being paid for care is falling then the amount of labour cost must fall to keep care businesses viable. In the Care Home setting this can result in lower numbers of carers and in the home care setting the use of cheaper labour or trying to do more i.e. rushing the care provided.

The fear is that a two tier system will emerge with private clients paying for the care that they require and state funded clients getting a poorer standard of care. With an increasing number of people getting older then there is real pressure on the system to be able to deliver the level of care required.

Our concern as a service provider is that we will not be able to tempt new carers into the market if we cannot afford to pay a high enough rate.

We can certainly vouch for the fact that there has been limited Government support for setting up our Care Agency and certainly no specific advice in the area of Care. The local authority has offered some support.

We agree with the main findings in the report that you will find a link to below. This report was commissioned by PriceWaterHouseCoopers.

Everycare are committed to delivering a high quality of home care and will not compromise on this at all.

Fair Care Crisis Report

By Mike Frizzell Everycare Central Hants www.everycarehants.co.uk

How are you being looked after in your old age?

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This was found in the house of a friend’s mother after she passed away. I expect she never complained about the home care she got and even goes on to thank them for the work they did. See what you think for yourself.

On being looked after by the social services and how to learn to love it

Twenty-one people a week tramp through my kitchen, all bent on doing me a good turn.

They all have different ways. Some funny, some deplorable.

Some will wash out and rinse an empty milk bottle, others will leave it until a more helpful person deals with it.

Some will put a milk bottle on the doorstep, others will be terrified to do so.

Some know that I have two fridges, one in the back room and another in the kitchen.

You have perpetually to tell them that the back milk is fed into the front and is replaced by the new a t the back.

There are some who are completely unable to grasp the concept.

One (who shall be nameless) after two abortive attempts at it, was walked by me through the procedure, and now ‘has it’.

One will fill a large bowl with metered water plus a generous helping of fairy liquid to wash one plate rather than leave it for others to deal with in the morning when there is more.

They love bubbles.

One helpfully threw out a bowl of grated cheese from the fridge when there was nothing wrong with it.

She probably thought it looked untidy.

One is so short sighted, I grab the drugs box before she can get to it, so I can do my own.

Some will greet with a cheerful remark, others will maintain a stony silence throughout.

Some will ask if there is anything more they can do for you before leaving, others wouldn’t dream of saying such a thing.

Some will leave the kitchen light on after lunch and you don’t find it till teatime.

Some will leave the gas stove on stand-by similarly, and you wonder why the place is so hot.

One filled my breakfast dish with rock hard uncooked prunes from a packet standing next to the bowl of newly cooked ones.

One took my wallet out of my handbag one Christmas night, pocketed the contents, and threw the empty wallet behind my fridge freezer, where another carer found it weeks later when looking for a missing oven glove. Let us be charitable and say she probably spent too much on Christmas presents.

They don’t like bending down and will ignore an object like a pair of scissors on the carpet until specifically asked to retrieve it.

You have to play hunt the object in the kitchen, as some of their ideas on correct places after washing up, are ingenious to say the least.

One took the last bit of cling film roll and put the empty box back on the shelf.

One, looking for the sugar, rooted about on a nearby shelf, and found an old grimy jam jar with a few grains in the bottom. These were carefully scraped up and spread on my weetabix and presented for breakfast.

Believe it or not, a second person did the same thing a few weeks later. The offending jam jar has been removed and the sugar is in a clearly marked jar on the kitchen top.

They are good at posting letters. Unlike some people, and you may be sure your letter will get there, which is comforting.

Honestly, though, they do a grand job, and I couldn’t do it. The inside of some people’s houses must be grim, and dressing and undressing old ladies must be even more so.

I give them home-made cakes from St. Peters as I am sure they never get time to make any, and they are delighted. It’s nice to give something back.

Comment: Everycare are determined to make sure that the client is served according to their wishes and would ask for regular feedback from clients on whether their care is being delivered to their absolute satisfaction. Are aim is keep the number of carers visiting a client to a minimum but some practical issues sometimes prevent this. We are not perfect but will endeavour to move heaven and earth to put something right when we make a mistake.

By Mike Frizzell Everycare Central Hants   www.everycarehants.co.uk