Looking After Elderly Relatives From A Distance

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Looking after elderly relatives is challenging at the best of times. But trying to care for parents when living some distance away adds an extra level of difficulty.

Jumping in a car, train or plane every time you get anxious or there is a health status change quickly becomes unsustainable.

Having family close by helps, especially if there is a spouse or sibling. Ultimately, having a sick parent in another part of the country (or world) is unsettling.

Given our increasingly mobile society and more people moving away from their hometowns, the number of distance caregivers is growing.

Typically distance caregivers spend time scheduling appointments, paying bills, making phone calls and other related duties. The majority of distance caregivers are employed, many miss days of work or rearrange their schedules to be able to care for someone. Up to one-third of carers either have to reduce their work schedules or stop working in order to manage all the aspects of caregiving.

Long Distance Care Strategies

Distance caregivers – compared to local carers – have higher stress, feel less support, have higher anxiety and more burden. But there are ways of distance carers reduce stress.

Technology

Often, the first step is meeting doctors, nurses and physicians and getting permission to call them for updates. This helps carers stay updated with treatment and progress. Using video (for example Skype or Facetime) during consultations means relatives can hear what the professionals have to say and ask any questions.

Using technology like this can help distance caregivers connect with their loved one in meaningful ways.

Don’t neglect well-being.

It is easy to become completely focused on the well-being of a loved one. Although it can be difficult, and even guilt-inducing, making time for oneself is a prerequisite to providing sustained, effective care for others and preventing burnout.

Check in regularly.

When caring for someone from a distance, there is always a lot to sort out, but it is important to regularly talk to the person being caring for. Avoid waiting for them to call (often with another problem). Stay in control, work to a schedule and prevent a crisis.

Share the load

If there is a sibling or other close family member, divide the care tasks. This could mean that one person focuses on finances while another handles the medical aspects.

Stay connected.

If you decide employ the services of a local care agency to help, make sure they use a system that keeps you updated with the care being provided. This often comes in the form of email notifications when carers turn up. In addition they should provide an online portal so you can access appointment notes and comments from the carer.

One system care agencies use is https://www.homecare-software.net.

If you are not using a care agency, and splitting the care giving with siblings, use tools like shared calendars.

Be realistic.

This involves speaking with employers about needing time off from work. Be honest about why schedule adjustments might be needed, and realistic about the amount of time required.

The ability to work remotely is helpful – but even then it can be difficult to keep up with conference calls and emails alongside doctors appointments.

Distance caregivers also often have families of their own, placing them in the “sandwich generation,” with obligations to both their parents and children.

Keep it in perspective.

Caregiving isn’t all about feeling overwhelmed and living with anxiety. Long distance care can increase positive emotions and offset stress.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester. Read more about our independent care service on our website here.

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Robot Trousers to Keep the Elderly Mobile

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“What we want to do is give people that extra bit of boost, to maintain their independence as long as possible.”

British researchers think the future of improving mobility for the elderly lies in wearable soft robotics.

They’ve developed robotic muscles; air-filled bubbles of plastic that can raise a leg from a seated to a standing position. It is set to give that added boost to our ability to stand and walk when we need it most – although it may take a number of years before people start to benefit.

The next phase of the team’s work is going to involve working with clinicians, charities and prosthetic device companies.

Read more about the research here

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly. Read more about our independent care service on our main website.

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Elderly people needlessly admitted to hospital

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According to Age Uk analysis, almost 1,000 elderly people a day are being admitted to hospital needlessly amid a crisis in social care.

Reporting of NHS figures by the charity found that there were c341k avoidable admissions for people aged 65 and over during the year to April 2017.

1 in 10 have no children and 1 in 3 over-65s live alone. These figures are expected to rise as younger generations reach retirement age.

Those who do have loved ones to care for them rely on elderly relatives who may have health problems of their own.

Its report also highlights the problem of older people stuck in hospital and unable to go home. Bed blocking  puts even more strain on the healthcare system.

Care not being in place was the main reason there were delays for older people leaving hospital last year.

Read more about the report here.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly. We enable people to live in comfort at home. Read more about our independent care service on our main website. www.deckchaircare.co.uk

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Social care needs predicted to double in next 20 years

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There has been growing concern over the cost of providing care for older and disabled adults. Spending on social care in English councils has shrunk by £7bn since 2010.

Research suggests there is going to be an explosion in social care requirements for Britain’s ageing population.

A recent study has concluded that health and social care services must adapt to the unprecedented needs of an older population with complex care needs, and warned the state should not rely on family carers as a sustainable solution to the problem.

“In the next 20 years, the English population aged 65 years or over will see increases in the number of individuals who are independent but also in those with complex care needs. This increase is due to more individuals reaching 85 years or older who have higher levels of dependency, dementia, and comorbidity. Health and social care services must adapt to the complex care needs of an increasing older population.”

Those who have dementia and at least two other major health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, will double over the next two decades, it estimated, suggesting an extra 500,000 people will need complex forms of care.

The government has promised a green paper on social care funding will be published in the autumn.

Social Care Trends

The study also highlighted different trends for men and women, with the latter likely to experience higher levels of care dependency than their male counterparts by 2035, and fewer years of later life spent free of care needs.

Prof Carol Jagger of Newcastle university’s Institute for Ageing, and a co-author of the Lancet paper, said the gender differences highlighted the importance of focusing on disabling long-term conditions such as arthritis that were more common in women than men.

Simon Bottery, a senior fellow in social care at the King’s Fund thinktank, said: “This study is further evidence of the scale of pressure building up on social care services from an ageing population, which is compounded by growing demand from working age adults with disabilities.”

Read the Lancet article here 

And a press article of the report from the Guardian here.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly. Read more about our independent care service on our main website.

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New ISA to Solve Social Care Crisis?

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Plans have emerged of a new ISA that the UK Government is considering to help people save to fund the cost of care in later life, and solve the country’s social care crisis.

The new Isa – would be exempt from inheritance tax.

Criticism has already been voiced from the Conservative back benches. ‘This won’t solve the care crisis at all. It only works for a small minority of wealthy people’, warns Sarah Wollaston

Sarah Wollaston, the chair of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, has said the plans were a “colossal mistake” and she claims that they would not solve the crisis “at all”.

It is understood that the Treasury has been reviewing proposals to include the new Isa in the social care green paper due to be announced by the government.

4.3m people over 70 have an average of £40,000 in Isa wealth. Meanwhile more than 12 million over-50s have saved tens of thousands of pounds in Isas.

Read the original article here

Click here for more information about Home Care in the Cheshire region

Home Care Frequently Asked Questions

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What are home care agencies?

Home care agencies are private companies that offer care services to the elderly or disabled in their own home.

What are home care services?

Home care services include:

  • Personal Care, which includes help with personal hygiene.
  • Help getting out of bed and dressed.
  • Meal preparation.
  • Medication prompts.
  • Help with household chores.
  • Social trips and companionship.

What does home care mean?

A carer visits a client’s home to an agreed schedule to provide care and carry out support tasks.

They can fulfill personal care and general household duties. The level of care provided depends on the individual needs and agreed care plan. It can range from social trips and housekeeping to high dependency, intensive personal care.

Home much does a carer cost per hour?

Private care – through a CQC regulated company – costs around £15 for a 30 minute visit.

If you employ a carer directly – i.e. not through an agency – costs can range between £10 – £14 per hour. However, you will need to arrange for holiday cover, insurance and pension payments. You will also need to think about cover for illness and ensure the carer is DBS checked and licensed with the local authority or regulator.

Home Care Funding Options

You may be eligible for state funding that will contribute to this cost. Contact your local social services department – they will carry out an assessment of your care needs.

If your local authority then agrees you need care, they will assess your finances. They will determine how much care will be funded by the state, and whether you need to contribute too. If your needs meet the national eligibility criteria, the law requires that it must ensure that these needs are met.

If you’re eligible for funded care, your local authority will point you towards their nominated care provider. They may also recommend a local service.

Personal Care Budget

If you are entitled to it, your local authority will sometimes pay what it can fund for you directly into your bank account. This is referred to as a ‘Personal Budget’ or ‘Direct Payment’ and you can use it to pay for care yourself. This gives you more control over your care and allows you to buy care services from your preferred provider. If you can’t manage your Direct Payment yourself, you can choose to have it paid to a family member or friend. They then take on the responsibilities for you.

Find out more at:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support/assessment-care-needs/

Find out about more about the home care services Deckchair Care provides.

What are the early signs of dementia?

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850,000 people in the UK have dementia (according to the Alzheimer’s Society), with one in six aged over 80. Although there is no cure, early diagnosis can help ease the symptoms, which include behavioral changes and memory loss.

The symptoms can be divided into three main stages. It can take years to progress from mild to serious, and each person will develop them at a different rate.

The NHS state that the most common early symptoms are memory lapses including:

  • Forgetting place or object names
  • Forgetting recent conversations
  • Regular repetition or asking the same question several times
  • Poor judgement and finding it tough to make decisions
  • Forgetting events or whereabouts of household items
  • Becoming less flexible or resistant to trying new things

There may also be mood changes, increased anxiety or confusion.

As the disease develops from the early stage, memory deteriorates further, with names of loved ones harder to recall. Even recognising friends and family can become difficult.

For more details, go to alzheimers.org.uk

For more information about how we help people and relatives of those suffering from dementia, please see our main site: https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk

Is the Government Ignoring Dementia?

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Senior figures from Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dementia UK, and Alzheimer’s Scotland have urged the health secretary to put dementia “at the heart” of health plans for the next 10 years.

“We are deeply concerned that dementia has not been recognised in these top areas of focus,” the charities write, describing dementia as “the greatest health challenge of our time”.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia takes a huge amount of resource for the NHS – one in four hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, and the condition currently costs the UK economy more than cancer and heart disease combined. It’s imperative that our health system is able to respond to the challenges dementia poses today and in the future, and we must begin by placing dementia at the heart of its priorities.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We remain committed to making this the best country in the world for dementia care, support, research and awareness.

“NHS England is committed to offering support for patients diagnosed with dementia and over the last few years has seen the diagnosis rate increase from half, to more than two thirds of patients, enabling earlier care and support.

“We maintain a focus on diagnosis and support for people with dementia and their carers, as we develop the ten year plan.”

For more information about how we help people and families help care for dementia suffers, see our main website:

https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk

Encouraging the Elderly to Exercise

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Research shows it’s never too late to adopt and reap the health benefits from a more active lifestyle.

For example, older adults who are active will reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke to a similar level as younger people who are active.

If people have been inactive for a while, they can gradually build their activity to reach recommended levels.

Physical activity and exercise can help you stay healthy, energetic and independent.

Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down. This inactivity comes at a high cost with higher rates of falls, obesity and heart disease.

As we get older, it becomes even more important to remain active if we want to stay healthy and maintain our independence.

There’s strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

It is reccommended that people aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week, for example 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

Examples of moderate activity include:

walking fast
playing doubles tennis
pushing a lawn mower
water aerobics
riding a bike on level ground or with few hills

Even if people aren’t very active there are ways to safely increase the heart rate and start benefiting from the health benefits.

The NHS has some great resources to encourage the elderly to exercise, find out more on their website here.

For help looking after the elderly and more about how Deckchair care can help, see our main website https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk

Take Part in the Largest Dementia Research Study Ever

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Playing this game can help research dementia.

Sea Hero Quest has been created to help research the disease, help diagnose dementia early and eventually find a treatment.

One of the first symptoms of dementia is loss of navigational skills, Sea Hero Quest has so far provided enough data to help create the world’s first benchmark for human spatial navigation.

3 million people have played the game so far, making it the largest dementia study in history.

Partners of the initiative include Alzheimer research, University College London and the University of East Anglia.

Find out more here: http://www.seaheroquest.com

For help looking after someone with dementia, see our main site : https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk