Archive for April, 2015

What does The 2014 Care Act mean for older people?

With 96% of people over the age of 65 in the UK having not made any financial provision for potentially needing future care in a residential or nursing home, it is clear that more information is needed in the public sphere that will allow them to take an informed course of action and begin to plan for the future.

In addition, The 2014 Care Act has introduced major changes to the way that the government will assist certain people financially, as care and nursing home costs are not covered free of charge by the NHS – this means that anyone who moves into a home has to pay for it themselves. While the cost of residential care differs wildly from county to county across the UK, people need all the information they can get to ensure that they aren’t paying more than they need to wherever they are.

A new downloadable guide from Caring Homes explains these changes and lays out what people with different levels of capital can expect in terms of financial assistance if they require it for a move into a residential or nursing home. Given that the process is difficult enough to get to grips with as it is, it’s important that elderly people discover how to give themselves the best quality of life at the lowest price possible.

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State-funded or self-funded?

One of the most significant questions that the guide answers is the way that funding for residential care works.
Your local authority will determine whether you or your loved one need residential or nursing home care and then assess you financially. Whether you are state-funded, self-funded or a mixture of the two will be determined by their assessment of your assets and capital.
That financial assessment is based on the state of your income and assets, including interest on savings, bonds, investments, pension and assets such as your house. It does not include the value of personal possessions, nor does it include the income of a spouse, partner or family members.

• Ultimately, if your total capital is below £14,250 you will be completely financially assisted and you will not have to pay anything towards care bills.

• However, if your total capital is greater than £23,250, no financial support will be offered. This tends to be the case with most people who own their own homes. This however is set to be addressed in 2016 and is likely to change again.

• If you require a high level of care, which would mean that you struggle to perform simple tasks, you may be eligible for the £72k care fee cap which will be introduced in April 2016.

The guide explains the situation and the different options in more detail. Download it today to see what you or your loved one should be doing in preparation for potential residential care over the next couple of years.

Is the World Adapting to Help People with Dementia?

Caring for someone with dementia is a big responsibility and a 24/7 commitment. Carers can never truly relax, but with support and help from their communities, from businesses and from other people, those with dementia and those that look after them can have a slightly easier time.

But is the world adapting to people with dementia? Are more and more people learning what dementia is, what it means for those with dementia and how they can help?

The Evolution of Care

Person-centred care is one of the keys to helping people with dementia. Each person with dementia has different needs and requirements, but often the key to providing the best care is to help an individual to feel comfortable with their own memories.

Often, those with dementia remember distant memories as though they’re present-day memories. Correcting someone could cause confusion, worry and upset. Dementia sufferers can enjoy reminiscing about times gone by, and often connecting over old memories is the best way for relatives to experience a positive meeting with a loved one.

As carers understand more about person-centred care, things are changing worldwide. Hogewey near Amsterdam is the ‘dementia village’, where residents live in themed houses and can visit the shops and go about their daily lives with no awareness that they’re actually in a large care home complex with their neighbours being other dementia sufferers and the shopkeepers being their carers.

New Technologies

As technologies advance, more and more possibilities are opening up for people with dementia. Apps on tablet computers can help those with dementia to train their memory, or can provide memory triggers that encourage discussion. Touchscreen devices are intuitive to use, with no steep learning curve, making them ideal for people with dementia.Digital-World-75-EB201113-1100x1120

In complete contrast, Alzheimer’s Research UK is using technology to instead increase awareness for those WITHOUT dementia, helping more and more people to understand what it means to have the condition. Their FaceDementia app describes the symptoms of dementia using the user’s Facebook profile information.

Assistive technologies for dementia sufferers also include GPS devices and alarms, though sometimes cue cards and post-it notes are even better living aids.

Increased Awareness

Conditions such as dementia are becoming increasingly recognised and understood. As awareness increases, those with dementia and those looking after them will find a more understanding world around them.

The average person on the street now understands the symptoms of dementia, at least in a basic way. That wasn’t always the case. Medical professionals are also encouraged to recognise the signs and symptoms of dementia and to diagnose it properly so that the correct help, support and financial assistance (where relevant) can be provided.

Living with dementia isn’t easy. Living with someone that has dementia will always be difficult, stressful and emotional. However with more awareness, the latest technologies and an increasing number of dementia-friendly care services things are getting a little bit easier. And, with an increasing number of ‘Dementia Friends’ across the UK, those caring for someone with dementia will find more people to turn to in time.

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Saying Goodbye To My Parents

My father passed away in February 2012, the day after his 90th birthday. Until his latter years when his health failed, Dad lived well and never failed to be grateful for it. Mum died recently, the day after Mother’s Day on March 16th 2015. My parents’ deaths, after important and memorable dates, have and always will be milestones. I could never have imagined the intense pain I have been feeling and the tears that have flowed since my Mother’s death, often coming out of the blue with no obvious trigger. I felt orphaned, abandoned and totally bereft.

I just never anticipated how much my second parent’s death would bring extra baggage or the strength of loss I would feel for the unconditional love that I was lucky enough to be given by my parents. It feels as though I have lost my family — the family that I grew up in. Although they haven’t done so for years, they will no longer be around to share their wisdom when I have a problem and I feel propelled into a new level of adulthood.

Mum’s demise has triggered grief for other losses, reactivating my husband’s death and more recently, my fathers. There was so much to do after Dad died, including selling their property (Mum had moved into a care home) and preoccupation with Mum’s needs and at times challenging, behaviour. Her death has plummeted me into what feels like a bottomless pit of emotion as I struggle with grief that I had not previously fully acknowledged. It seems grief comes when we least expect it. FullSizeRender

Despite the fact that my parents declining health had reversed the adult parent relationship years ago, I feel a horrible emptiness, like all my back-up has gone. I feel very alone and more vulnerable than before. Gone is the shield that seemed to separate me from my own old age and death, along with any illusion that I will always matter and be able to overcome adversity. Now I am next in line and through no effort of my own, I have stepped up.

The realisation that I will never play the role of daughter again makes me instantly feel older.

Before my parents died I didn’t really feel grown-up and often speculated that this was perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of life, that nobody ever really feels grown-up. Now as the eldest of three siblings and a mother and grandparent, I have to face the reality that there is no one between myself and death. Losing the last generation forces us to re-examine our own mortality. When a grandparent dies, there’s still a whole generation between us and death. With a parent’s death, our own eventual demise feels uncomfortably closer.

The loss of our parents severs a fundamental tie. A generation disappears. A hierarchy ends. The pieces of the jigsaw are rearranged. Our parents are the keepers of our wisdom. We spend a lifetime looking to them for answers. They have been the archive of knowledge about our history, our upbringing, family traditions and the names of all those faces in old photos. With their passing, so to goes the information and insight that hasn’t already been communicated.

Because they were such wonderful people as well as parents, losing them has been especially hard. However I am aware it must be so much harder for an only child without the love and support I have experienced from my brother and sister. I am lucky to have had such wonderful role models in my parents and the support of a loving family following their demise. I am aware that not everyone is so lucky in this respect and I am truly grateful.

My parents were wonderful role models. Their strength of spirit, integrity, sense of justice and values are a fantastic legacy. They ignited my passion for holidays abroad, reinforced my strengths and overlooked my weaknesses. I only hope I can do half as well with my own children.

It is so hard sometimes to walk this life day after day, letting go one by one of the people we love… the people that provided the foundation for our being….the people who loved us unconditionally.

Now I must summon the strength my parents applauded, for its time to move on, to take the first tentative steps on my transformative journey and put my parent’s legacy into practice, just as they had to do when they lost their own parents and my own children will have to do with me.

 

“Treat your parents with loving care…

For you will only know their value

when you see their empty chair…” (unknown)