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Keeping the older population protected during the colder months

wintermittensmugWith autumn here and winter creeping ever so closer, there is certainly a nip in the air. With this weather comes certain obstacles, especially for elderly people. As a younger person, there are plenty of things you can do to make these chilly seasons a lot more enjoyable for them.

Avoiding Slips and Falls

The first thing you can do to help your elderly friend or relative is to find a good, sturdy walking stick or mobility aid. This will not only reduce the strain on the legs and the knees, but it will also provide that extra bit of stability for a whole host of outdoor activities.

Many people believe it is only the height of the user that determines the walking stick height. But in reality, people come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and proportions. The secret to measuring your walking stick is by following this method:

walkingstickmeasure

Walking Stick Measure

Once you have helped them choose the perfect walking stick, make sure you accompany them on a couple of walks as they get used to the conditions. If you notice they are struggling, perhaps invest in a sturdy ferrule to put at the bottom of the stick.

If they have a garden or driveway, make sure it is gritted each week, as the bags can be too heavy for an elderly person to lift. You could also buy them a handrail if they have slippy steps at the front door.

The Right Clothes

Having the correct indoor and outdoor clothing is essential. Make sure they are a wearing at least a couple of layers as this is more effective than just one thick layer. Thick shoes for outside and nice warm slippers for indoors will keep their toes from freezing. Thick socks, gloves, a hat, and a scarf will ensure their face avoids a chill, as well as protection from illnesses.

Indoors

Try and keep the temperature inside their home above 18 degrees, as being alone in a cold house can cause many problems, including hypothermia. Help out your elderly friend or relative by providing them with a talking thermometer. This will help them keep on top of the temperature in their home when you are not around.

Also, try and organise it so their heating is serviced each year by a professional. This will make sure everything is safe and cost effective to keep their home warm throughout the cold months.

Perhaps treat them to a lovely home cooked meal like a hot bowl of soup or some shepherd’s pie. This will give you peace of mind that you are doing all you can to ensure they are eating enough.

If you need more information on looking after elderly people in cold weather, check out the NHS guide on winter health.

This guest post was provided by Rachel Campbell, a Digital PR Executive for Ability Superstore (https://www.abilitysuperstore.com/)

Four Fantastic Ways Technology Can Support Your Elderly Relative

We often hear the term “golden years” used to refer to the time between retirement and when we leave this earth, yet many do not understand its meaning. For many, their final years can be a difficult period, fraught with illness, loneliness and general despair. It often falls into the hands of family members to look after and assist their elderly relatives during this time, which can be quite difficult if you’ve never before had to help take care of a loved one. We live in an amazing world these days: the combination of medicine and technology can mean that life is not just extended, but enhanced. If you are helping a loved one and want to keep them happier at home, then continue reading to find out about four ways that technology for older people can help maintain their independence.

MedMinder

It is quite rare to get to the end of your life without ever needing to take some form of medication along the way. Unfortunately, the ageing of our brains can hamper our ability to remember to take our medicine, which will only accelerate the process of deterioration. The Tabtime Medminder offers a solution for this problem, and revolves around a combination of technology for the elderly and smart medicine. The device in question is a pill dispenser, which can ensure that your loved one takes his or her medicine when they need it. This inexpensive and portable solution offers the following:

  • Easy to use interface with no confusing technology for older family members
  • “Set it and forget it” programming: an alarm will alert the family member when it is time to take their medicine
  • Storage of up to one week’s worth of medicine at a time; can hold dozens of pills
  • Large LCD buttons and screen for configuring alarms – perfect for those with bad eyesight
  • Flashing lights and auditory responses will gently yet effectively remind the user when to take their medicine
  • Detachable daily pill blocs can be attached to the alarm keychain for on-the-go use

The MedMinder pill dispenser is available for around £20 on Amazon and through other retailers – a small price to pay for peace of mind for you, and better health for your loved ones.

GPS Watches

While not true for everyone, many older people resist technology due to a feeling of intimidation and a fear of the unknown. This can make it difficult to monitor or engage with the elderly in a remote fashion, but you want to be able to keep an eye on them no matter what. We all understand just how difficult this can be when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, so a passive solution is needed. Enter the concept of GPS watches, which are making big waves in the world of technology for the elderly. So how do they work?

GPS watches include a cellular responder that constantly tracks the location of the wearer. Anyone with a provided phone number or login from afar can pinpoint the exact location of the person at any time. This in turn will display the location on Google Maps or a similar mapping software, which can help you find the person in the event they have wandered off – or if they are currently at home.

Home Sensors

In the past few years, integrated home technology for the elderly has become increasingly common – especially for areas of the home where accidents are common (like the bathroom). A variety of home sensors are now available that can tell you a whole slew of things about what your elderly relative or friend is doing. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Whether the lights in the home have been left on or off
  • When the last time the front or back door was opened
  • If the person has entered the bathroom or bedroom
  • Home intercom systems that allow for instant help in the event an accident occurs
  • If appliances like the refrigerator or stove have been left open or on

Many people seek a new, optimized place for their loved ones to spend their retirement. If you are considering the purchase of a retirement home for your parent, grandparent or other relative, then asking about whether any smart home sensors are included or available is generally a good idea.

Phones for older people big-button-phone

Regardless of resistance to technology, one piece of technology for the elderly that most enjoy is a phone. Being able to chat with friends and family – as well as access emergency services if needed – shouldn’t be a hard sell. Many phones are not easy to use for older people, however, this has led to the development of many different phones being developed specifically for older people.

Some of the main features you can expect to find on a phone for older people include improved speakers for better hearing, large buttons that can be easily read and an emergency call button. A good example is the Big Button Memory Phone Not only does it come with extra large buttons to help them see numbers accurately, it also offers 8 picture customisable memory buttons so that loved ones can be reached easily.

New technology is coming on the market every day so if your elderly loved one is facing a challenge do get in touch and I will try my best to help.

Contented Dementia: 24-hour Wraparound Care for Lifelong Well-being

contented-dementiaDementia can be a frightening condition both for those who live with it and the people who care for them.  Like many people, I have had to witness a beloved parent – my mother – go through this incurable illness and it is heart-wrenching to see how this once sharp, smart and very switched on lady gradually lose her memory and understanding of everyday life.

I found this book the best I have read on the subject (and as a professional who works with older people, that’s a lot) Despite professional training and years of experience working with older people and dementia, it was so different experiencing it personally when Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This book helped me understand and implement a way of managing difficult situations with Mum. It is a ‘must read’ book if you have an elderly loved one living with dementia and I highly recommend it to you.

This is what other people say in the reviews of this wonderful book say it all:

  • “Practical, helpful, sensitive, comforting, illuminating, brilliant, constructive”
  • “This book revolves around an emotional, loving plan to make the safety of your ‘client’s’ well-being achievable.”
  • “If you only buy one book to help you work out your care plan, buy this one, dont hesitate, just buy it”.
  • “This book gives helpful tools and tips to ensure the time you have with your loved one is optimised for both carer and loved one. It has enabled my mum and I to have a fulfilling relationship despite her disease.”

The book is just over 300 pages and available in paperbook or Kindle version.  It’s been given more than a hundred 5 star reviews by its readers many of whom describe it as an absolute ‘must read’ for carers of dementia sufferers.

Click here or on the picture below to check out current pricing and purchase from Amazon.

contented-dementia

 

'Alarm Reminder' Clock for People Living With Dementia

The Dementia Care Aid from MemRabel is a regular looking clock that has the ability to set up to 4 alarms, each one with a recorded message, to help the user remember when to carry out regular daily activities such as eat lunch, watch their favourite TV programme and call a loved one. Just small reminders can make a huge difference in the quality of life of someone with dementia and also give family members peace of mind, knowing that their loved can still live independently and not feel like a burden.

The clock is well built and large to enough to be easy to read and set up, without being too bulky.

Click on the picture below to see current prices and buy from Amazon.

Listening Monitors – Peace of Mind for Carers and Loved Ones

Remember the relief that baby monitor brought you when your baby went down for her afternoon nap or night-time sleep?  How it let you relax or get on with household chores without worrying and constantly checking on her?

A baby monitor can be the perfect gadget for those of us looking after loved ones who are elderly or living with dementia.  Our favourite monitor, the Tommee Tippee ‘Closer to Nature’ Digital Monitor, has room temperature display, an out-of-range indicator, two-way talk-back and a light.

The technology is wireless and inexpensive, an invaluable and reassuring aid for you and your elderly friend or relative.

Check out the monitor here.  Available on Amazon for your convenience.

The 'Dignity' Plate – Easy to Hold Plate for Arthritis Sufferers

As we get older, fingers can become stiff with arthritis or other joint/bone related conditions, and everyday tasks can become more difficult.

If carrying or keeping the food on your plate is becoming harder, then the Dignity Plate from Wade could be very useful. It has a larger than normal lip to allow carrying the plate and is made from toughened earthenware to withstand knocks. It’s also designed to be a bit deeper than usual, helping the user to keep more slippy food items on their plate when eating.

Click on the picture below to see current prices and buy from Amazon.

TV 'Independence Day' with this Large Button TV Remote Control

Watching TV can be both stimulating and very enjoyable for less able and elderly people, but these days the technology involved in actually using a TV set can be confusing for anyone let alone a less able person!

The 321 remote from Doro simplifies TV use to the extreme. With only 7 large and tactile buttons it helps the less able user to keep watching their favourite shows without needing assistance.

Click on the picture below for current prices and to buy from Amazon

Magnetic Whiteboard – A Brilliant Low-Tech Reminder Tool

Using a magnetic whiteboard in a prominent place around the home can be a brilliant reminder tool. We put one on Mum’s wall in her room at the care home. We ruled the days of the week using a permanent marker and then complete her weekly diary using a non permanent marker. Each week we put our visits, my brother’s work rosta and any appointments she has on it.The staff thinks it is wonderful and refer to it all the time.

This low-tech tool does need constant manual changing for the user, but if electronic items are simply too complicated for the user concerned then these can really come into their own. Multiple boards placed around the house can remind users to do all sorts of tasks, what day it is and who to expect at the door that day. All helping the user to keep living independently and be more secure in their own home.

Click on the picture below to see current prices and buy from Amazon.

Keep Them Calling! Big Button Phone with Memory Buttons

If technology is starting to get too much for an elderly person you know then this big button home-phone could help solve a few problems. Not only does it come with extra large buttons to help them see numbers accurately, it also offers 8 picture customisable memory buttons so that loved ones can be reached easily. My mother found the pictures particularly useful when her dementia was in the early stages.

Other features include and a handsfree speakerphone and a fully adjustable receiving volume as well as a visual indicator to let them know when the phone is ringing.

Click on the picture below to see current prices and buy from Amazon.

Keeping Hands Busy – Tactile Stimulation Activity Apron forPeople Living With Dementia

Many people with Alzheimers and dementia-related conditions have a need to be doing something with their hands. This apron which is simply tied around the waist of the user can really help calm this anxiety and avoid the constant cardigan unbuttoning and the knick-knack moving. It can have a real calming effect on both the user and those closest to them.

Click on the picture below to see current prices and buy from Amazon.