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!

Ninety Year Old Man Made to Wait Eight Hours

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We are not sure about how well out-of-hours public care services are being run or what priority is being given to the elderly.

Recently we visited a client for his evening call around 7pm but during the visit he began to feel unwell and collapsed into a dining chair. The Care Worker attending him could not get him to stand because his legs could not bear the weight. We requested another Care Worker to come to his assistance but still we were unable to get him up. For safety we do not carry people without the proper lifting equipment which the emergency services carry.

Unable to get the man out of the chair we called the emergency services to attend to him. He is someone who has been in and out of hospital because of his frail condition. The emergency services would not attend because they did not view his condition as life threatening and because there was no blood. They suggested that the out-of-hours doctor be called. On calling the out-of-hours doctor at around 10pm we were told that the doctor would come out in 2 to 6 hours, we stressed that the poor man was not sitting very comfortably in a hardback chair so they promised to come as soon as they could.

The doctor duly arrived around midnight but because he, also, has a policy of not lifting patients then after checking his medical condition that he was best admitted to hospital. The doctor contacted the emergency services and they eventually took the man to hospital around 3am. The man had in total been sitting uncomfortably in a chair for 8 hours, is this anyway to treat the elderly?

As a private organisation we hear of people not being happy that for profit organisations are involved in health care, but, we think this shows that there is a place for private organisations that can spend 8 hours with a man that no public service could do at the time.

Future of Home Care

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The Dillnot Commission reports on Monday 4th July 2011 with, hopefully, recommendations on the future funding of care including Home Care (Care in the Community). The previous Labour government did nothing because the ageing population problem was not imminent and, unfortunately, governments tend not to want to deal with difficult issues when it could affect their votes!

The population of people 75 and over was 4.8 million in 2008, this is forecast to increase to 7.0 million by 2023 and 8.7 million by 2033 an 81% increase over 25 years. For people over 85 the population was 1.3 million in 2008 and is forecast to increase to 2.2 million by 2023 and 3.3 million by 2033 an 154% increase over 25 years. It is the people over 85 that are most likely to require care so the increases in numbers is alarming in terms of the cost of care to the nation.

The other way of looking at the population is the number of people available to support the elderly, the ratio of people of working age to those of pensionable age was 3.23 in 2008 dropping to 2.78 by 2033. More pensioners less people able to support them and this includes the effects of increasing the pension age to make people work longer.

As can be seen from the population information, there is a big Social Care funding issue going to hit the country. Action needs to be taken now to put a Social Care funding system in that will deal with this issue.

It is unfortunate that dealing with Social Care funding comes at a time when the government is trying to cut spending. Any increase in Social Care funding is going to be tricky to fund we are either going to have to pay ourselves for care directly or indirectly through increased taxation for the government to be able to pay the extra cost.

Social Care funding has the same problem as many government pensions where we are trying to pay out of current government spending rather than building funds that can be used to pay for the costs in the future.

I fear that the government will back away from taking the bull by the horns and putting a proper funding system in, because,  what is needed to be done is likely to hit the pocket of the individual at a time when we are all feeling the pinch. What makes matters worse is that the government, being in coalition, is even less likely to do something bold.

As a Care provider we believe that substantially more needs to be put into care funding because the number of care staff needed in the future will be much higher and to attract good people in to the sector would need pay rates to go up. We believe that care staff are undervalued and their role in society needs to get greater recognition.

We implore the government to be bold and not just kick all the recommendations of the Dillnot commission into the long grass.

We aim to run an excellent Home Care service in Winchester and the surrounding areas in Hampshire and want to support the Local Authority and the NHS in delivering first rate care to the people of Hampshire.


Home Care Worker Steals Despite CRB Check

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Home Care workers all must have CRB checks done before working with vulnerable people but the system is not watertight.

A Care Worker in Leicestershire called Maxine Singh was allowed to work with the elderly despite having 33 previous convictions.

Maxine Singh pleaded guilty to stealing from a 71-year-old father, her conviction was a suspended sentence which makes you wonder what her convictions have been to spare her a jail sentence for what some would see as a serious offence.

It was the diligence of the son, who had to put a hidden camera in the house to prove the theft, that cause Maxine Singh to be caught.

People need to be aware that the fact that a person has been CRB checked by their employer does not mean that they have no criminal convictions.

The agency, Home Call, were working on behalf of the council and claimed to have checked Maxine Singh using the CRB process. Any employer has discretion, if the person is not barred on the Vetting and Barring list to work with Adults, to still employ someone no matter what the person’s history is.

In this case, common sense seems to indicate that the employer should not have used this carer to work with vulnerable people given the sheer number of convictions, though we do not know what they were for or how long in the past they were.

Leicestershire County Council are no longer using the services of Home Call which is good news for residents in Leicestershire.

Everycare do take every precaution to ensure that people we employ do not put any of our clients at risk. We do CRB all our staff and do references before employment.

Anyone using the services of any outside agency should immediately inform the agency if they are suspicious in anyway of someone who comes into their home.

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

UK Best for End-of-Life Care – More Care at Home Needed

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In many countries the end-of-life care is just not there. The Lien Foundation of Singapore commissioned a study to look at the end-of-life care services in 40 countries.

Old Age Person in Care Home
Being looked after in a Care setting

While “quality-of-life” is a common phrase, “quality-of-death” is considered far less. According to the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) while more than 100 million people are in need of hospice services only fewer than 8% actually receive it.

For us in the UK we are ranked number one for end-of-life services this arises from a good network of hospices, statutory involvement, public awareness, training for NHS staff and access to painkillers for patients.

Ranking second was Australia then New Zealand, the USA was ninth and India was bottom of the rankings.

The charity Help the Hospices said the UK’s ranking was down to the hard work of individual hospices.

To improve end-of-life care the system needs to build around bringing the care to the patient – preferably in their own homes – by providing support for family caregivers, care teams that can go to homes with emergency coverage, and strong integration of hospice care expertise to maximize quality of life for both patient and family. This means fewer resources for hospitals and nursing homes, and more resources for home and community-based care services.

For the first time in humanity, people over 65 will soon outnumber children under the age of five. We need to continue to improve the end-of-life care, much hospice care can – and is – given at home and by increasing the proportion of community and homecare options, hospice care can reduce costs associated with hospital stays and emergency admissions.

In the UK, despite the ranking, too many people still faced the end-of-life without specialist care and support. The ageing population in the UK and the improvement in medical care means more people are facing end-of-life with more complex issues. The UK system needs proper funding to ensure people can be properly looked after at the end of their lives.

Mike Frizzell Everycare Central Hants www.everycarehants.co.uk supplying care at home and supporting people to live independently.

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

Temozolomide Recall – Do you have any in your home?

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For those receiving Care at Home we want to make you aware of this Drug Recall. This drug is used in the treatment of Brain Tumours.

A Drug Alert has been issued, recalling some Temozolomide  (sometimes known as TMZ) capsules made by Hospira.

This follows reports of the capsules splitting and leaking powder.

If you have this medicine at home, you should not open the pack. If a capsule is damaged, you should avoid contact of the powder with your skin, eyes and nose and avoid inhaling the powder.

If you accidentally get some on your skin, wash with soap and water or in the case of contact with the eyes or nose, wash with water only. If irritation persists you should seek medical advice. You should be able to obtain an alternative prescription and get your medicine replaced.

Affected batch numbers are:
L00828 – 5 mg
L00829 – 20 mg
L00831 – 100 mg
L01031 – 250 mg

Preparation For Living At Home With Alzheimer’s Disease Or Dementia

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Care for the Elderly can be stressful but even more so when the loved one has Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Creating a safe home environment can ease some of this stress, and getting needed time away from elderly care by employing an at home care service can also help.

Creating a safe environment removes the danger and stress from at home elderly care. The hardest part in safeguarding a home for elderly care can be assessing the existing risks, identifying areas that need to be improved, and preventing wandering. The following checklist can help when planning for safe at home elderly care.

  • Install grab bars in bathrooms and put non-slip bath mats in baths and shower trays. Use a handheld showerhead and shower bench.
  • If necessary remove the car and or the car keys from temptation if the person should not be driving.
  • Install locks on all windows and doors and if the person tends to wander out, keep them locked. Install deadbolt looks on doors that need a key to open.
  • Place nightlights in the bedroom, hall and other walkways.
  • Remove the locks on bathroom doors to prevent the person from accidentally locking themselves in.
  • Use childproof locks on any cabinets where medicine, chemicals or dangerous items like knives or other sharp objects are kept.
  • Keep walkways clutter-free and the house tidy to avoid trips and falls.
  • Consider replacing loose rugs and anything else that might cause an elderly person to slip or fall.
  • Install outdoor flood lighting to illuminate walkways at night.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen. Install an automatic shut-off switch on the cooker.
  • The elderly person should carry identification medical alerts if necessary so that in the event that he or she wanders off, someone will be able to identify him or her. If the elderly person does become lost, it is important to have a recent photograph of the person on hand to show police.
  • Make sure the elderly person’s financial and legal documents are in order, and kept in a secure place.
  • Use an adult day care service to reduce the stress and demands of elderly care. This way you can have peace of mind knowing that a qualified, caring person is providing elderly care while you are away.

Home Care services are available to help you cope with looking after the elderly. You need to remember that you need a life as well; if you are stressed by giving all the care then the care that you provide will likely suffer. It is important that you take holidays and call in professional care when you go away.

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