Archive for March, 2013

4 Important Ways To Up Safety in Your Elderly Parent's Home

Today we have a guest post from Alexis Bonari who tells us how we can improve safety in our ageing parent’s home.

As people grow older, they become more at risk of slips, trips and falls, which can be potentially life threatening. Even familiar and seemingly safe surroundings can become hazardous when eyesight dims and people become frail, leading to a bad fall or the fracturing of fragile bones.

If you have older relatives, it is important to make sure their home is as safe as possible to minimise the risk of accidents. Here are a few tips about how you can makeover their home to limit the risk of accidents for your older relatives:

Create an Accessible Area

Instead of asking your older relative to climb up and down stairs to get to a bed or a bathroom — creating the potential for falls — you may be able to create one area on the ground floor that has everything they will need.

Carry Out Repairs MR900027542

Loose floorboards, broken tiles, leaks and other issues can create the potential for serious accidents. Your older relative could trip on a loose board or tile, slip on water from a leak, or become injured in some other way. Make their home safer by attending to repairs. Even the small things can make a big difference in making their home safer.

Make Use of Experts

There are aids and adaptations their home may need. These may include safety rails next to the toilet or shower, railings on stairs and steps (even just the few steps by the front door), non-slip mats on any non-carpeted areas and covers or bumpers for hard surfaces and corners.

Get advice from an expert such as an Occupational Therapist or your elderly parent’s local Falls Team (contactable from their local Social Services office) They will not only give advice but arrange for the equipment to be delivered and installed on a long term loan basis.

Install an Alarm System

There are many alarm systems that are created specifically with older people in mind. These include call bells, buttons and bracelets that can automatically notify emergency contacts when there has been an incident. This will be especially useful if your loved one falls and no one is around or has a heart attack or stroke and is unable to call for help. There are many options, so you should research the ones that are right for their home and budget.

Making over their home can make sure it is a safe and welcoming place for your elderly loved one. These tips can help you make their home as safe as it can be to prevent accidents and serious injuries.

Have you made an elderly relative’s home safer for them? We would love to hear about it to share with others!

About the Author:

Alexis Bonari writes for one of the largest open databases of college funding opportunities. Specific topics like scholarships for veterans are described in detail to provide multiple resources for students.

Dealing with elderly stroke

Are you prepared if someone you care for has a stroke? In this article by Nikki Hill, deputy director of communications for the Stroke Association you’ll find all you need to know…

When a neighbour called to say that mum had been found buttering her bread with a clothes peg, I assumed she was getting rather forgetful.  Best to check it out I thought, so I collected up a few things and drove to Worthing
There I found her in her armchair holding court with a group of neighbours and sipping on her nightly ‘wee dram’
Well, I say holding court, but she wasn’t making much sense and the neighbours seemed rather relieved to see me. `Ah, look at the time, it’s quarter to Nikki’.
She seemed well in herself, so she polished off her whisky and the next morning the GP confirmed she’d had a stroke
She prescribed aspirin. So far, so wrong!

Recognising Stroke

  • Each year 152,000 people have a stroke.  It’s the leading cause of severe adult disability and yet, often it isn’t even on most people’s radar
  • Today health professionals recognise stroke as a medical emergency, so the sooner you can get your parent to hospital the better chance they’ll have of a good recovery
  • The important thing for families is to be able to recognise the signs of stroke and know what action to take

Anyone can do the FAST test Senior Man with Cane

  • Has your parent’s Face has drooped?
  • Are they able to lift their Arm?
  • Is their Speech is slurred?
  • If so it’s Time to ring 999.

You’ll probably have seen the television ads of someone with their head on fire  – those were the FAST ads that saw a 100% increase in stroke related 999 calls from the public.

TIAs or Mini Strokes

  • Sometimes the symptoms of stroke may only stay for about an hour or so and then seem to disappear.
  • This may be mini stroke otherwise known as TIA (Transitory Ischemic Attack)
  • Still ring 999
  • TIAs may be a warning sign that a major stroke is on the way
  • It’s important that they get to a TIA clinic where their stroke risk can be assessed and managed.
  • In fact, 40% of all strokes could be avoided by the better management of high blood pressure

What happens if your parent has suffered a stroke?

  • For those who have a stroke and are admitted to hospital, they’ll be admitted to a stroke ward.
  • Here, there’ll be a multidisciplinary team of people, including Stroke Association Life after Stroke staff, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who work with the stroke survivor to support them in their recovery.
  • Stroke can be cruel, it can cause a wide range of disabilities but it’s also worth remembering that more people than ever before are making a good recovery.
  • In fact, more than a third of stroke survivors go on to make a full recovery.
  • For people who are left with a disability, the most obvious problems are the physical ones, perhaps the loss of mobility in their leg or arm
  • But the emotional impact on the stroke survivor and also the family can be just as traumatic.
  • The sheer suddenness of a stroke turns people’s lives upside down and families are left to make sense of what’s happened and to create some kind of order and normality from what has happened.
  • Stroke can also affect people’s ability to speak and understand what is being said.
  • They may find it difficult to make sense of the everyday things around them and their ability to connect with others.

There are a range of services and groups that can help. The Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 can point you in the right direction.

Leaving hospital after a stroke

  • The burden of stroke often hits home when families bear the brunt of care after leaving hospital.
  • Support from the stroke team for the stroke survivor who has returned home can last up to about a year.
  • But it’s often after this time that people suddenly find themselves on their own.
  • Remember, no-one should be left to struggle alone and you can ring Stroke Association’s helpline for advice on 0303 3033 100 and to find out more of what’s available in your area.
  • It’s really important that stroke survivor’s needs are regularly assessed. By doing so health and social care professionals will be in a much better position to work with the stroke survivor and carer to establish what kind of treatment, care and support is needed.
  • If this hasn’t happened, speak to the key worker involved in your parent’s stroke, or ask your GP
  • Make sure your GP is aware of your parent’s changing health needs.
  • You can ask to be tagged on the records as your parent’s carer, that way, if you need to speak to the GP you can get yourself a ‘carers appointment’
  • This can be a really helpful way of getting things moving on those occasions when things appear to be stuck.

Long-term stroke management

  • The vast majority of strokes happen to people over 65 and, consequently, they are likely to have some existing conditions but new ones will constantly emerge.
  • This can be the most challenging and complex of things to manage, as health services are set up to treat a range of conditions rather than the whole person.
  • You may find that you end up doing much of the co-ordination of services as the only way to move things on.
  • Things are changing in that direction but there’s still a long way to go
  • Even if your parent has had a stroke, it’s still important to ensure that their basic health care is maintained.
  • It’s often the seemingly small things that cause people to become trapped in their own homes.
  • Try to ensure their blood pressure is regularly checked to prevent a second stroke, that their sight and hearing is regularly checked (stroke can affect vision and hearing) that their toenails are regularly clipped and their teeth are OK.
  • If their understanding of what’s going on around them seems to be changing, again it’s worth getting it checked out.
  • And if that’s not enough to be thinking about, loneliness, isolation and sheer boredom is probably the greatest enemy of older people.
  • Ill health can diminish people’s world significantly and if they’re unable to get out of the house it can lead them to feel as though their lives are of little value.
  • Small things can make a big difference.  Making time to have a proper chat, rather than ‘signing in’ to make sure everything is ok can make a massive difference to them.
  • Asking them their opinion on things going on in the world, asking them to do things around the house when you’re there sorting things out can help them feel as though they’re not just being ‘done unto’ but that they are actively engaging in life.

And as for mum?  Well, in spite of my incompetence and health professionals taking the wrong action, she survived, recovered pretty well and at 90 continues to enjoy an active, engaged and fulfilled life.  That generation was made of pretty stern stuff!

Reprinted with the kind permission of http://www.myageingparent.com where you can find further information on a whole range of issues relating to ageing parents.