9 articles Tag elderly

Helping an Elderly Relative to Stay Independent

There comes a time in a lot of people’s lives where they need to start making arrangements to help their elderly relatives. A lot of people get older but want to remain in the home they’ve known for decades, and that means making their environment safe and suitable for their additional needs, if they have limited mobility, sight or memory problems. There are lots of ways that you can make a home suitable again, and today we’re looking at five of them.

Stairlift

If your elderly relative lives in a house with more than one storey, getting up and down the stairs can be really daunting. As well as the physical effort needed to climb the stairs, the risk of a fall gets worse as they get older. This is where a stairlift could really help. It allows people to travel safely between floors without the risk of falling, or needing to expend a lot of energy to make the climb.

Alarm System

A lot of elderly people worry about having a fall in their home and not being able to call for help, so personal alarm systems can give a lot of peace of mind. They allow people to call for help in an emergency and an ambulance to be sent remotely so that they aren’t left by themselves in an emergency.

Walk-in Bath

Although showers can be built on floor level so that you don’t need to step up to get into them, many elderly people prefer the security of sitting down in a bath, although getting into one can be very tricky. A walk-in bath has a sealed door which opens and closes and allows people to sit comfortably to wash, reducing the risk of slipping and falling when you’re at your most vulnerable.

Video Doorbells

Many elderly people fear opening the door to an unknown person, especially once the sun has gone down, and this can leave them very isolated, especially in the winter. There are lots of video doorbells on the market now which allow people to see who’s at the door without needing to answer it, and this could give your elderly relative the freedom to know when it’s safe to answer the door.

Remove Obstacles

This is the simplest, and cheapest way, to make surroundings safer for your elderly relative. Thousands of accidents happen every year when elderly people, especially those with limited eyesight, trip and fall because of things like rug edges, electrical cords and low items of furniture. It could be a good idea to get an expert to come in to assess the house as they’ll spot hazards that you might miss.

Caring For Elderly Parents: Ready For The Responsibility?

Image

It’s important that we all face up to the fact that one day our parents won’t be able to do much for themselves anymore. As they age, they will start to get quite frail and weak, which will make some tasks quite a bit harder for them. They might not be able to drive anymore or do something that we take for granted, such as climb the stairs. It’s always best to be prepared in life, so you might want to think about how you and your family will cope when the time comes to start taking care of your elderly parents.

You will need to think about the responsibility involved with caring for aging parents, and how you can give them all the care and attention that they will need. Read on to find out more!

Hold A Family Meeting

If you have one, two, or even more siblings, it’s important that you share the responsibility of looking after your parents and thinking about their future. So, it’s worth holding a family meeting. This gives you all the chance to sit down together and consider the pros and cons of all the options available to your parents. It’s essential that you have your parents at this meeting too as they should have a say in their own care.

Consider What Your Parents Need And Want

Of course, you always need to put your parents’ needs and wants first when you are coming to a decision. If one of them has a long-term health condition, then you need to give that priority. It might require you to find some extra care for your parents so that they can enjoy their later years in comfort. It’s also important that you ask your parents about what they want from their care and support. They deserve an input in this after all!

Think About How Much Money Is Available

If you are considering moving your parents into a care home, it’s necessary to think about how much money there is to put towards this. If you can’t afford this, you might have to move in with them and care for them yourself. Don’t worry if this is the case, though, as there are plenty of benefits to home care that will be really advantageous for your parents.

Are You Prepared To Be A Caregiver?

If you and your siblings do decide to care for your parents yourselves and share the responsibility between all of you, you need to make sure you are all prepared for the role of caregiver. It will be a big change for everyone, especially as you will all undergo a role reversal. You will now be responsible for your parents, and they might need to take some time to adjust to this change in your relationship. After a while, though, you should all settle into your new roles and will all benefit from them.

Hopefully, these tips make it easier for your family to care for your elderly parents.

Keeping Your Elderly Relatives Independent

If you’ve ever had an elderly relative, it’s likely that you’ll know about the struggle to keep them mobile and independent in their own homes. It’s quite rare for someone to willingly move to an assisted living facility, and often they’ll want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, so finding mobility aids to help them is really important for both their safety and your peace of mind. Here are a few things which can help:

Riser Chairs

When you’re able bodied, you don’t realise how difficult just the act of sitting down and standing up can be, but once you lose strength and stability in your legs, it can be really daunting. It’s possible to buy reclining armchairs which also have a mechanism which lifts you up into an almost standing position and then lowers you back down when you want to sit again, and they can be an absolute godsend for people with mobility issues.

Mug Holders

If your elderly relative lacks strength in their hands or wrists, something as simple as trying to have a cup of tea can not only become tricky, but also downright dangerous as the risk of getting a lap full of boiling water increases. Mug holders allow you to slip a normal mug into an external casing which provides you with an extra handle to hold, allowing you to safely hold a mug with two hands, increasing your strength and stability. You can also buy two-handled teapots!

Bedrails

For many reasons, as people get older, their risk of falling out of bed gets higher, which can not only be dangerous but also feel daunting and demoralising. Bed rails may make a bed look a little clinical but they’re a great way to make bedtime safe again, and can even improve the quality of sleep that your elderly relative will get because they’re safe in the knowledge that they won’t fall out of bed again.

Bathroom Rails

Being able to bathe independently is often the thing that elderly people want to maintain more than any other aspect of living, probably because washing yourself is such a personal thing. Installing rails around the bathroom to help them to get in and out of the bath or shower can mean that your elderly relative is able to be more steady on their feet while washing, and reduces the need for help from someone else, increasing the level of dignity that they maintain.

Gardening Tools

It’s all well and good being able to get around the home, but most people want to maintain a sense of normality outside of the home too, and for many thins means being able to continue to maintain their garden. There are gardening tools available with enhanced grips to make them easier for people with mobility issues to hold, and being able to do a little bit of gardening can have a massive effect on a person’s mental wellness.

Ways to Make an Elderly Relative Feel More Connected

One of the things that elderly people can really struggle with once they lose their mobility is feeling disconnected from the outside world, and this isolation can lead to mental health issues, on top of what they might already been dealing with. Unless they’re lucky to have family around them all the time, the loneliness can be awful, so finding ways for them to have interaction and enjoy things they once loved can really improve their mental state. Here are a few things that you can do to help.

Get Them Online

The internet is an amazing resource and if your relative is open to learning how to use technology, it can help them to keep in touch with people and do a whole load of things that they once enjoyed. If your relative enjoyed bingo or having a flutter every now and then, teaching them how to use websites to do this could give them a much needed source of fun and freedom – the least you can do is check it out!

Join a Club

There are loads of clubs all over the country which are set up for elderly people to give them a chance to socialise. Many of them have weekly entertainment or talks and in some areas the council will even provide transport, so we’d strongly advise you to have a look in your local area to see if there’s anything like that where you live.

Keep Them Young

It’s a well-known fact that when elderly people spend time with kids, it keeps their mind active and can have a real rejuvenating effect on them, so taking your kids to visit your elderly relatives can actually help them on an even deeper level. Also, happiness can lower blood pressure and stop the blood from thickening, so you’re helping them on a medical level, too!

Do you have any tips for helping to keep elderly relatives feeling young? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear them,

Making Life Easier for the Elderly

I’ve written before about my Grandad John and what an amazing grandad he was, but he was a really remarkable person in a lot of other ways, too. He was intelligent and hard-working, and a great Dad to my Dad and his brothers, but I think his remarkableness really came into its own after my Nan died and his own health deteriorated. He was on his own for over ten years and had to learn to cope with life on his own, but he did it with amazing resilience – although, that’s not hugely surprising for someone who once told me a story about how he accidentally drove an ambulance into a camel in the middle of the Libyan desert! Here’s a few things he used to make his life easier:

Mobility Scooter

Once his eyesight got too bad to drive, Grandad was determined that he wasn’t going to be stuck indoors, so he invested in a Pro Rider Mobility road scooters. It meant that he could still get to the shops to to his grocery shopping, still visit his neighbours and still have a semblance of the independence that he prized so strongly.

Magnifying Glasses

When Grandad’s eyesight started so get bad and his glasses didn’t help as much, he invested in a whole load of magnifying glasses of different types and strengths and they were dotted around the house to help him. They ranged from small handheld ones to a massive one which I think was a surgical grade magnifying glass (like the one Joey stands behind in Friends after Mr. Heckles dies!). They allowed him to read his mail, read the paper and see finer details of things he needed to do.

Large-Number Phone

My Grandad’s house phone had the biggest numbers of any phone I’ve ever seen, which meant that he was able to see the numbers to dial the phone. He had an A4 sheet of phone numbers beside the phone too, and all of the numbers were written in 3-inch high letters!

Vibrating Doorbell

Grandad was hard of hearing even when I was little (I remember being about six and chuckling to myself because he’d turned his hearing aid right down so he couldn’t hear my Nan nagging him!) but as he got older it obviously got worse. He invested in a doorbell which had a little unit he could put in his pocket which vibrated when the bell was rung, so he didn’t even need to be able to hear the bell to know someone was at the door.

Grabbing Stick

This was one of my favourites, but mostly because I liked to grab people’s bottoms with it as they walked past me – Grandad had one of those things that convicts in America pick rubbish up with to help him pick things up off of the floor or grab things which were out of reach and it was really useful once his mobility became restricted.

Do your elderly relatives have any gadgets which make their lives easier? Leave me a comment below.

Tips for Caring for an Aging Parent

Watching our parents get older is never easy. The person who raised you, offered unconditional love, and served as a pillar of support now needs your help more than ever. If you’re caring for an aging parent, use these tips to help both of you through this journey.

Don’t Leave Your Job

When you discover your parent needs your help, it’s tempting to throw everything else to the wayside—especially in situations where you a short time left with them. While it’s understandable to want to spend as much time as possible with your elderly parent, you need to consider the consequences of leaving your job. If you no longer have an income, will you be able to cover care for your parent? If you have children, will you be able to fund schooling, housing, food, and college expenses?

If you intend to take a leave of absence, you need to rethink your lifestyle. If you work in an industry that’s tough to reenter, it may take months or years to reobtain your position. You should also consider your benefits. If your current position offers health insurance, what will you do without it? Before quitting or taking a leave of absence, be sure to talk with your employer and HR representative to consider all of your options.

Redefine Your Budget

If your parents haven’t set aside savings for end of life care, you’ll need to organize your budget and decide what you can afford. Seniors often deal with costly expenses, including medical care, in-home care, or facility costs. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle the costs that come with caring for an elderly parent, it’s time to do your research. Check out Medicare and Medicaid, and determine what your parents qualify for. Many assume these policies cover the bulk of expenses, but that’s not the case. It’s important to assess what you can afford, and use a budgeting app like Mint to stay on track.

Invest in a Medical Alert System

With a medical alert system, your parent is in good hands. The best systems are those that help you protect your parent both in and outside of the home. The medical alarm system by MobileHelp offers GPS tracking, which allows you to find your parent should they go missing. This is especially helpful if your loved one is struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or similar memory challenges. Your parent can also call for help whenever they need it with the simple touch of a button. The peace of mind this small device provides is more than worth the investment, and the addition of a MobileHelp system may help your parent feel more secure when they’re alone.

Have the Tough Conversations

While your parents age, it’s important to have the tough conversations. You’ll need to breach uncomfortable topics including drafting a will and understanding what your parent wants if you end up with legal power over their estate. It’s also important to talk about funeral arrangements to make the process easier. Doing so ensures your parent’s wishes are honored in their burial or memorial service, and also helps you understand the financial aspects. The modern funeral costs an average of $9,000 and up, and it’s important to have a plan in place to cover this immense expenditure. Financial issues are the last thing you should be worried about during a time of grief, and having the details ironed out far in advance will help you avoid this frustration.

Consider the Benefits of Professional Help

Both you and your aging parent might prefer if you took on the role of caretaker, but that’s not always realistic. You have your own responsibilities, and it might be in the interest of both of you to hire a professional that can provide the care your parent needs. If you opt for professional care, your parent will likely ask to stay in their current home. While this can be one of the most expensive end of life care options, there are many services that can make in-home care a pleasant experience for both you and your parent.

Taking Care of an Elderly Pet

One thing that we’ve come to realise now that Chuck is older is that taking care of an elderly dog is vastly different to caring for a younger one. His drives have completely changed now that he’s an old man (he’s the equivalent of around 80 years old in human years) and we’ve had to make some changes to accomodate him and keep him healthy for as long as possible. Here’s some of the things you might want to consider if you have an elderly pet:

Mobility

Just like with old people, old pets can struggle with mobility. Chuck used to race up and down the stairs with ease, walk for hours and think nothing of jumping up and down onto the bed or sofa to snuggle with us. Now, he’s a lot less mobile, so we’ve placed water bowls both up and downstairs so that he never has to go too far for a drink and we’re also looking into getting some pet steps so that he can get up onto the bed without having to jump.

Diet

This one is a double-edge sword. Now that he’s less mobile, he doesn’t exercise as much and therefore doesn’t need to eat as much. However, since his drives have turned away from procreation, they’ve turned firmly towards food so he acts like he’s hungry MOST of the time! We’re careful to limit table scraps and have moved him onto a senior diet which gives him the nutrients he needs with fewer calories so that he doesn’t get fat!

Exercise

We know for a fact that he’s suffering with heart problems and suspect that he had a heart attack sometime last year. This means that the dog who used to walk for literally hours now barely makes it 800m. We’ve decided that we allow him to completely dictate how far he wants to go; on days when he’s not feeling it, we leave him be or let him have a little plod to the end of the road and back, but if he seems pretty spritely we let him dictate the pace and distance and it seems to be working pretty well.

Vet Care

Some pet owners are lucky to rarely ever need to take their pet to the vet, but once they get older it’s vital to get at least a check-up. Chuck takes a variety of medications for his heart and an anti-inflammatory for his joints which means that he gets to live out his old age with minimum pain or discomfort. If you’re worried about vets bills, the PDSA offers treatment if you’re in receipt of benefits, so it might be worth having a look if you have an elderly pet.

Temperament

We’re incredibly lucky in the respect that Chuck is an amazingly wellbehaved dog with our kids and is soft and loving with them. However, now that he’s old and struggling with stiffness etc. we make a point to make sure that the kids aren’t too rough with him and give him plenty of space. We trust him completely but it would be heartbreaking for him to get hurt or feel overwhelmed and lose his cool with one of them. We don’t think for a second it would happen but it protects ALL THREE OF THEM if we remove the risk altogether.

Do you have an elderly pet? Have you found any new challenges have arisen since they’ve got older? I’d love to hear from you.

The Golden Years: Helping Your Parent Retain Their Independence

Seeing your parents grow old is one of the strangest experiences you’ll ever go through. For a large chunk of our lives, they’re the person we lean on for a roof over our heads and food on the table. Even after you fly the nest, you know that you can always call mom or dad for help. When they reach their senior years, the tables turn. Naturally, we want to take care of our parents, but it’s also important to let them retain their independence. Here’s how to do both.

Source: Wikimedia

First of all, introduce your parents to cell phones. More and more seniors are becoming just as tech-savvy as our kids these days, but if your parents still struggle with phones it may be time to give them a crash course. When they have a phone and need any kind of assistance, they can call the person or service without having to bring you into the picture. Obviously good families are there for each other, but having to rely on your child all the time obviously doesn’t feel great. Having a constant way to communicate will help them retain their independence a little more, and can be a big help if you opt for senior companion care.

Making sure they have a regular social circle is another great way to help your parents feel independent. They’ve worked their whole lives to provide for the people they love, and now that they’ve hit retirement it’s important for them to be able to enjoy it! It’s unfortunately common for people to hit their senior years, and become hostile to the idea of going out or seeing anyone. While going out can present more of a challenge when you’re getting on in years, having some kind of social life is good for our health, and I’m not just talking about mental health. Try and re-ignite their passion for a hobby, or try and introduce them with some of your friends’ parents. At the very least, you should make a point to bring them over for dinner with the family once or twice a week.

Finally, don’t overstep the mark when you help them with paying bills. This is a pretty tough one. Taking over anyone’s financial dealings will immediately make them feel like they’ve lost their independence. On the other hand, any mistakes with paying bills and banking can be extremely serious. If your parent has an illness which means it’s harder to cope with paying the bills, then you need to find a good middle-ground. When you suspect they’re not competent enough to take care of their financial matters themselves, bring it up in passing the next time you see them. Groan about how complicated this or that process is, and maybe they’ll join in by talking about their own responsibilities. Offer to help, or simply just to look at their bills for them. If you see they’re doing something wrong, tell them, but don’t become too involved. As long as you’re not taking over completely, they’ll still feel independent.

 

Has the Coalition Government Betrayed the Elderly?

Brought to you by Stannah Stairlifts

The care of our elderly citizens has been a popular news topic for some time now and the most recent reports are beginning to throw accusations at those responsible for allocating state-funded care to those most in need. Going under fire for betraying the elderly on earlier promises, the coalition government has come under great scrutiny lately – but are they really guilty?

Broken promises

According to a report on The Daily Telegraph, thousands of pensioners will be forced to sell their homes despite being promised that this wouldn’t happen. The scandal first gathered pace when it was announced that the government’s flagship scheme to stop old people having to sell their property while they’re paying for care at a residential home or in their own property would be means-tested.

The Government claims that this will improve prospects for the elderly so that they’re not facing unlimited care costs or being forced to part with their homes but other authorities have different opinions. They have claimed that thousands of pensioners could be put at risk but not qualifying for the scheme under the new means-test.

This would mean they would have to run down the value of their personal possessions and savings until it reached a figure lower than £23,250 at which point they would then qualify for the scheme.

Funding care

For those wondering what all the fuss is about, the crux of the issue lies with the cost of care. This has been rising for some time now, leaving older individuals struggling to cope with the bills. This led the Government to introduce a cap of £72,000 for the amount of money anyone should spend on their care over their lifetime with new rules on who can qualify for benefits and state-funded support.

The idea was that those who faced the idea of selling their homes to afford care would be able to talk to their local council and have their care bills settled via a long-term loan which was repaid from their estate so that they weren’t forced to relocate.

The means-test was introduced as a way to ensure that local councils were able to support this move financially but it is unlikely the battle will end here. With elections on the cards for parliament, social care is expected to be a big bargaining tool when different parties but their arguments forward. The coalition has already introduced a new model for elderly care payments with labour indicating that they are devising their own plans.

For those who rely on this care on a day to day basis, whether it be in the form of entering residential homes or adapting their own property with reconditioned stair lifts, this news is well worth monitoring. Checking eligibility for any additional financial aid or funding is vital if you need to pay out for regular care costs and the most important thing to remember is that the quality of service should not be sacrificed due to financial constraints.