Archive for September, 2013

How to make the home safe for mum and dad

One of the major problems for the elderly in the home is trips and falls. According to the CDC, one out of three adults aged 65 or over fall each year, resulting in injuries ranging from hip fractures and head trauma to grazes. To make the home safer for mum and dad, you should consider the following:

To begin with

  • Suitable footwear: Make sure non-skid, secure footwear is worn by the elderly in and out of the home. Also, have your feet measured when buying shoes as foot size can gradually change.
  • Sudden movements: Loss of balance can result from sudden, unsteady movements when getting out of a chair or bed, for example, which is why slow, steady movements should be promoted.
  • Hazards: Take time to look for any possible hazards, including clutter, loose carpets and spilled liquids.
  • Lighting: Access to a light switch should be available before entering a room.

Visit the doctor

Regular visits to the doctor are important for identifying potential problems and will generally include an examination of vision, hearing and mental status. Other health factors to consider include:

  • Mental health and mobility: Mental health problems such as dementia can lead to mobility difficulties affect decision making.
  • Medications: Lethargy or wooziness can result from some over-the-counter drugs. Be aware of this and consider moving away from medication to relevant exercise or nutritional changes.
  • Health issues: Arthritis, diabetes, low blood pressure and bone-weakening conditions such as osteoporosis can lead to falls in the house. Be aware of this and make sure safety guards are in place.
  • Occupational therapist: These are medical professionals who can help to improve the safety of daily living tasks for the elderly.

Safety tips for around the home

To improve safety for mum and dad in the home, you may wish to consider an emergency response system, using colours to indicate changes in surface levels or having a phone extension in each level of the home. Other rooms where you need to consider safety include:

The bedroom

  • Nightlight: Include a nightlight in the bedroom to ensure seniors can see what they are doing.
  • Clutter: Remove and store away clutter such as clothes and shoes.
  • Bedside rails: These provide a sturdy surface when transferring to and from a bed row when getting changed.
  • Adjustable bed: These are easily adjustable and will often improve comfort and safety in the bedroom.leg-lifters

The kitchen

  • Easy to reach: Keep safe to use kitchen items easily accessible.
  • Cords: Ensure any wires or cords are not likely to result in trips or falls.
  • Stool: Have a step stool at hand to aid the elderly when reaching for highly placed items.
  • Non-slip: Try not to use floor polish or wax which make the kitchen surface slippery.
  • Handy devices: Consider safer utensils for mum and dad such as kettle tippers, knob turners and thick-handled cutlery.

The bathroom

  • Non-slip surface: Because the bathroom can often be slippery, it will make a big difference if you install non-slip mats inside and outside of the tub.
  • Grab rails: These can provide support in the shower or when transferring from inside and outside of the tub. Placing one next to the toilet can also help when getting up.
  • Shower chair: These are ideal for stability in the bathtub and will also increase comfort.

Your parents are unique

No two elderly people are the same and the needs of one person will ultimately differ from another. It is therefore important that you consider the unique needs of your parents and implement home safety changes according to their needs. If you would like more information on home safety for the elderly, or if you have any further advice, please let us know in the comments.

This article was provided by Carol Robinson who works with Manage at Home, a leading provider of mobility aids for the elderly and disabled.

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.



'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.

Ideal for Arthritis Sufferers -The Simple 6 Button TV Remote Control

My Dad was always getting muddled with his remote control until I found the Tek Pal Large button remote control. It is ideal for those who get confused by all the buttons on new remotes or who suffer from arthritis and other joint/ hand problems.

With only 6 buttons to worry about, it’s quick and easy to get used to. In fact, there’s very little that can go wrong!

It fits comfortably in the hand and is powered by 2 AA batteries (not supplied).

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