Date: November 7, 2014Author: GarethWoodward
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With diagnosis rates of Alzheimers disease and dementia increasing year on year in most of the Western World, people are increasingly becoming concerned with its effects on society and their loved ones. As of yet there is no cure for these two debilitating afflictions despite scientists’ best attempts to find one. Rather than being able to treat it, family and friends are left trying to provide the best possible living environment for their loved ones.
It is for this reason that we are seeing increasing efforts and research going into how best to accommodate and treat people whose mental capacity and indeed memories may have been reduced to a shadow of their former self. People are increasingly finding that by changing the living conditions and environment of those currently suffering from these illness they can make living life a whole lot easier.
In the Netherlands there have been various experiments that have attempted to revert entire villages back to the state that they would have been in when patients suffering from dementia, usually the elderly, would have found them in when they were young. These villages also allow likeminded people to live, shop and eat together, creating communities of people who are in similar positions and conditions. Gizmodo did an excellent article on this here.
While creating an entire community for our loved ones may not be practical or indeed possible for the majority of us, there are a number of steps that we can take that can vastly improve living conditions for the people that we know. A friend of mine went about converting the decor of their house back to the state it was in when they were a child in order to create a friendly environment for their father. The house had a wooden feel which they tried to recreate as accurately as possible, they used wooden beams and things like cedar cladding from here to create a warm and friendly environment like the one they could remember from their childhood.
Putting up old pictures or belongings can also bring an air of familiarity to our homes. It is often comforting to those suffering with memory loss who often retain their long term memories, to see things that they remember and know. The truth is, no one really has the right answer but by sharing anecdotal information that has helped others, it can give people ideas to try things out for themselves.
If you have anything to add to this article, drop us a line, we would love to hear how you’ve helped someone that you know deal with these terrible illnesses.
Date: November 4, 2014Author: GarethWoodward
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One of the things that we can do as friends and relatives of elderly people in need of care is to make sure that their homes are built towards their needs. If someone is new to receiving care then many of their old ways of doing things may still be ingrained and many of the things that they’re used to doing for themselves can become more difficult.
Because the people receiving care are used to functioning independently as they have done for the entirety of the lives right up until this point, they may still want to do household chores themselves. In fact it can be pretty difficult to stop someone doing things that they’ve always done, even if it is for their own good. Rather than locking horns and telling them ‘no!’ when ultimately it’s their choice, it can be far better and far easier just to make certain tasks easier for them where possible.
A great example of this can be something as simple as drawing their curtains. Many curtains are positioned awkwardly or in such a way that requires stretching in order to access them. This sort of stretching which may seem trivial to them is what can often cause injury, especially if it’s done on a regular basis. We found a company that supplies a Silent Gliss Curtain track, which is a kind of electric curtain rail. With a push of a button, someone who has lost mobility or strength is able to close their own curtains without relying on someone else to do it for them. It’s small changes like these that can make a huge difference in peoples’ lives.
Not only can items like curtains be automated and operated by remote control but other common items like light switches can be too. It may take a little setting up and perhaps the help of a professional but the entire light system of a house can be operated from one remote control. This can be especially useful in the night when stumbling around in the darkness looking for the light switch can potentially cause injury to a person. Have a look at this company for some ideas on how to automate your lighting system.
We’ve just touched upon the tip of the iceberg here when it comes to what can be done with home automation. If you think outside the box and think about what your elderly loved one does on a regular basis that can be perhaps automated, then there’s probably a product out there than can automate it and before you know it, the whole family will be using them!
One of the most difficult times in peoples’ lives is when it comes time to tell someone that you care about that they may need to accept outside help in order to live. The difficulty comes from the fact that people love to be independent, after all they’ve been independently living their entire life, so a sudden change like this can feel like an intrusion. The intimacy of the care that people require can be another difficulty, very often the people in question need helping showering and bathing or perhaps feeding, this can be a difficult pill to swallow for anyone.
As life expectancies rise and people inevitably live longer lives, peoples’ quality of life can increasingly suffer as they develop more physical impairments that stop them from doing things. As a consequence of these impairments and longer life expectancies, the need and demand for people who are able to deliver care has increased sharply. Understandably, if you ask the majority of people whether they would prefer to receive care at home or have to move into a facility elsewhere, they would prefer to stay in the comforts of their own home.
Choosing someone to care for your relative or friend at home can bring its own trouble too. There are a number of issues that you must consider in order to make the best decision possible. Choosing someone presents it’s own risks, we are constantly bombarded by horror stories on the evening news where there have been instances of abuse or neglect, something no one wants for their own loved ones. People often consider the financial abuse risks too, not necessarily in the cost of a care worker but rather from that care worker being privy to a lot of confidential financial information or indeed money itself.
There are often difficulties that arise with the people that relatives are trying to arrange care for. One survey suggested that three quarters of the people asked who were currently receiving care didn’t believe that they needed care at all. Seeing care as unnecessary is something that relatives really struggle with, it can often be a big challenge to get the person who needs the care to even accept their carer into their home.
One suggestion that is often recommended is to try and take the ‘why don’t you humour me’ approach. This approach allows people who need help to accept a carer without too much injury to their pride, which is often what is at stake.
Carer costs can also play a big part in whether or not a full time carer is hired. This can be mitigated by only hiring a part time carer at specific times of the week and for specific jobs but nonetheless it is a major concern. What it comes down to in the end is the cost versus the benefits of hiring a carer. If you feel that your needs or the needs of the person being cared for outweigh the impact of the costs then hiring a carer may just be what you need.
Date: October 25, 2014Author: GarethWoodward
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Time to care is a blog dedicated to discussing issues that are relevant to both professional care workers and those voluntarily caring for loved-ones and friends.
Here you’ll find articles that cover things that the general media does not, we’ll be examining the untold impact that our again population is having on health care services particularly as they are stretched to breaking point.
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As well as getting into specific topics like tips on how to deal with caring for someone, we’ll be examining broader topics such as the effects that government spending cutbacks are having on our health and care services and what we can all do to help. We’ll also be looking at the increasing burdens placed on care companies particularly as bureaucracy and ‘red-tape’ increases.
We’re going to be discussing the fantastic work that organisation out there do such as Age UK, so read on for these topics and much more.