Essential Gadgets for Carers

The top 5 essential gadgets for carers

If you are looking after someone who is no longer physically or mentally capable of looking after themselves, this responsibility could pose a broad array of challenges. However, you could ease many of those difficulties with the use of the right equipment.
The following gadgets can help carers better handle people suffering progressive or neurocognitive health conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s or cancer.

Motion-sensing alarm

With this kind of alarm in your loved one’s bedroom, you can be alerted whenever it detects them moving in this room. This can be crucial if the person is prone to epileptic fits or falling off their bed.
Such an alarm can also help you avoid issues arising from someone getting up during the night for a bathroom trip – or someone suffering from dementia trying to leave the house at inopportune times.

Devices with large buttons

Older people can often struggle to see – and also, therefore, use – the small buttons and controls on modern mobile phones and remotes due to failing eyesight.
However, you can buy alternative devices with buttons large enough for patients to see – enabling them to fulfil tasks as simple as phoning someone such as you.

Dementia tracker

Another way of keeping track of unexpected walkabouts made by a person living with dementia is giving them a bracelet-like device known as a dementia tracker.
This little device can keep you informed of your loved one’s location, which you could also ask the police to monitor in more urgent situations.

Day clock

As dementia continues to adversely affect a person’s brain function, they could falter in their efforts to keep track of the time and date. Standard clocks and calendars could soon seem too complex for them to read, perhaps leading them to have difficulty distinguishing between day and night.
However, it’s possible to purchase a “day clock” which indicates the time with a single, easy-to-comprehend sentence – like “Now it’s Thursday morning”.

Bulbs which mimic natural sunlight

Dementia can sap levels of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical; however, a lack of daylight can even further worsen that punishing effect.
One solution to the problem is installing, in the patient’s most commonly-used rooms, bulbs which replicate organic sunlight and so boost serotonin levels. Nonetheless, such bulbs should be ommitted from the bedroom, where a soothing and non-stimulating environment is necessary.

You might also need further help with home caring for loved ones. We can provide that assistance if you give our agency, Kentish Homecare, a ring on 0208 658 4455.

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Care of the Elderly

How does home care improve the lives of the elderly?

We know how distressing it could be for you to see a parent or other loved one increasingly losing their physical independence as they age. This can lead them to become more reliant on others. However, you might not always be available when your loved one needs you, while the mere prospect of putting them in a care home could also upset you. Here is where home care can help.

Older adults get to stay in their own homes

While the elderly may become more hindered in their independence over time, they don’t want – or, thanks to home care, need – to lose their familiar surroundings as well.
When cared for by our professionals, your ageing relative can stay in their reassuringly familiar residence – and, crucially, similarly comforting local area – for longer.

Home care can be tailored to what the individual wants

Our nursing staff understand that patients can vary in their requirements and preferences for homecare. For this reason, our staff are willing to work alongside you in putting together a care plan customised to take particular account of the individual.
Our staff are content to not only help look after patients’ health but also handle such routine chores as cooking and cleaning. Indeed, this degree of flexibility, which can extend as far as letting clients choose when to eat their lunch, is not always a practical possibility in retirement homes.

Home care can give elderly clients valuable companionship.

Other problems which older adults can face due to their loss of independence include feeling abandoned, socially excluded or simply lonely. However, in retirement homes, care workers can often struggle to find enough one-to-one time with clients to dissipate such adverse emotions.

Being instead served by a homecare professional – whether through regular visits or a 24-hour residency with the client – can help that client to overcome their emotional issues. The care worker can do this through providing one-to-one attention to that client, with whom they can develop a friendly, personal relationship that will long last.

Do you need home care for Kent-based relatives?

We have already brought these benefits to many elderly residents of Kent – and can do the same for other ageing loved ones in various parts of the county, including Bromley and Beckenham. If you require home care for an elderly relative in Kent, we invite you to phone our company, Kentish Homecare, on 0208 658 4455 to arrange a 60-minute consultation at no charge.

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Exercise in the later stages of dementia

Can exercise help with dementia?

The subject of the extent to which exercise can relieve dementia symptoms has recently attracted a fresh flurry of interest due to a University of Cambridge study which took into account more than a decade of research into dementia. The study had some intriguing revelations…

Physical inactivity: a leading cause of dementia

Statistics have suggested that relatively few people with dementia physically exercise to an adequate level; however, is this a case of correlation or causation? While more rigorous research is needed to precisely determine exercise’s impact on dementia, the Cambridge study has shed more light on the subject – and particularly Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
The study found that someone can nearly half their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease if they simply engage in an hour of exercise weekly. In fact, physical inactivity could increase the Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 82%, making it the biggest risk factor of the seven main ones studied.
The next most significant risk factor was depression, with a 65% score, while midlife obesity was not far behind with 60%. However, research has vindicated theories that physical exercise can, in itself, help counter depression and obesity. This even further clarifies its powerful anti-dementia effect.

Could you cut your likelihood of suffering dementia?

How much exercise should you pursue if you want to lower your own dementia risk? The Cambridge study’s findings suggest that, on a weekly basis, vigorous exercise – like running – over three 20-minute sessions or moderate exercise, such as walking, across five 30-minute sessions is a wise goal.

Furthermore, in adjusting your exercise regime to suit, you could help yourself to prevent an array of adverse factors which have been attributed to heightened dementia risk. Such factors include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

What if you care for someone who already has dementia?

If a loved one – whether that be a relative or friend – has dementia, it isn’t too late for them to reduce adverse effects of dementia by engaging in physical exercise. For example, it could help them prevent their muscles weakening and so contributing to mobility problems.

Dementia can often cause stress and depression, both of which can be relieved in part due to exercise. However, if you are unsure whether they really should exercise, we at Kentish Homecare employ staff who can discern the answers through providing them with dementia homecare.

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Activities For The Elderly

Summer activities for elderly patients

Now that the summer sun is out, you might be eager to make the most of it, but fear that an elderly patient under our care – or yours – wouldn’t be able to join in. However, fun in the sun can meaningfully benefit old people – provided that you take sensible precautions.
Here are some examples of enjoyable and safe summer activities for the elderly.

Watching the sunrise or sunset

Even for younger people, it can be easy to underestimate the aesthetically stunning effect of a sunrise or sunset – especially during summer, when utterly beautiful colours can emerge.
Of course, to see a sunset, you and your relative would need to wake up particularly early – and this would also save them from extreme temperatures that can cause dehydration, to which the elderly are especially vulnerable.

Relaxing or exercising in a swimming pool

Staying on the subject of keeping cool, your relative can also effectively do that in a swimming pool. Check that the public pool in their area offers swim times especially for the elderly.
Your relative might be physically capable of taking part in water aerobics classes. These might be held at the local pool – and help your loved one increase their heart rate while easing pain which they may regularly experience in their joints.

Taking a stroll in the morning or evening

Your relative could get a much-needed emotional lift from walking in the sunshine. Even if they often struggle to walk, taking that trip in a wheelchair could be nearly as beneficial for them.
However, you should avoid taking them on walks at midday, when temperatures for the day would be at their highest. Instead, stick to mornings and evenings, when the climate would be cooler, but the patient could still get some healthy vitamin D. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen for everyone.

Actually, it can be easy being green

If your loved one used to spend a lot of time gardening, they may recently have had to hold off due to their decreased mobility. If this is indeed the case, you could take that garden to them instead.
They could pot plants and advise other, less experienced gardeners. Meanwhile, abundant newspaper coverings beforehand and a bit of vacuuming afterwards can help you deal with mess that they might make along the way.

If you struggle to care for the elderly while they are in the home, we at Kentish Homecare can step in; call us on 0208 658 4455 to learn how.

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Signs of a Stroke

Strokes: the signs to watch out for

If blood supply is prevented from reaching part of the brain, a stroke will result. Symptoms of a stroke can vary, as they are largely influenced by the stroke’s severity and which area of the brain is affected. However, in this article, we look at the most common signs.
Symptoms tend to emerge abruptly – and you can quickly recall the main symptoms if you use the acronym “F.A.S.T.”. Therefore, if you care for someone who is elderly or has high blood pressure or diabetes – and, thus, is at high risk of a stroke – you could benefit from learning about these signs:

Face drooping

The person’s face – or just mouth or eye – might have drooped on one side. Ask that person to smile. One side of the face might remain drooping, and the smile may look uneven – if they can smile at all.

Arm weakness

You should also ask the person to try lifting both arms. They might struggle to do so – or keep them raised – if a stroke has weakened or numbed one of these arms.

Speech difficulty

Ask the individual to attempt uttering a simple sentence. Their speech might show signs of abnormality; for example, it may be slurred or incomprehensible. The person might even struggle to speak at all, however awake they may appear.

Time to call 999

If you see any of the above signs or symptoms, even if they quickly disappear, don’t hesitate to dial 999. You could reduce long-term effects of – or even the risk of death from – a stroke.

Are there other signs to consider?

The F.A.S.T. test can be used to identify the majority of strokes. However, on occasion, a stroke can give rise to other symptoms and signs which you could benefit from learning about.
For example, one side of the person’s body could become entirely paralysed, or they might suffer abruptly lost or blurred vision. They could also become dizzy or confused – or struggle to comprehend what you or someone else says to them.

They might also have difficulty swallowing; this is a condition known in a medical sense as dysphagia. This could be accompanied by a sudden, extreme headache causing a blinding pain.
However, you should remember to initially use the F.A.S.T. test - as, if you see any of the other symptoms, there could be causes other than a stroke. For dealing with strokes or health aftercare issues arising from them, our nursing staff from Kentish Homecare can assist.

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Hospital Rehabilitation

Getting back to normal after a long hospital stay

If you have only recently left hospital, don’t be disheartened if your mood stills feels far from that of your pre-hospital days. Leaving hospital doesn’t strictly mean that your health has been entirely restored; it simply means that you are sufficiently well to be home again. Therefore, leaving hospital can really be just another step on the road to rehabilitation recovery; so, how you can you continue to foster your recovery once you are back at home? Here are some tips.

Maintain a personal cleaning regime

Simple routines in looking after personal hygiene, such as showering and washing hair, can feel utterly exhausting in the aftermath of a lengthy stay in hospital. After emerging from a shower, you might feel the need to sit down on a towel for a few minutes to regain your energy. However, it remains crucial that you reliably keep yourself clean. Your hospital stay may have resulted in sores that, on your body, can heal more easily when you preserve your cleanliness.

Don’t miss follow-up appointments

Once you are out of hospital, you might still have regular appointments to attend with a medical professional. These meet-ups can leave you feeling like you have barely left hospital life behind. However, attending them is crucial for helping you fully return to wellness.

You should keep this in mind if your recovery is progressing at such an unexpectedly slow pace that you often feel the need to cancel plans with friends or forgo volunteer commitments.

Develop and maintain a support network

Galling though it may often feel for you to forgo meeting up with friends or family, you should still be aware of how much maintaining a broad network of supportive people could make the experience of recovering feel like less of an ordeal.
That doesn’t just have to mean keeping in touch with close friends, who could come to understand that your energy levels won’t be as high as they used to be. You could also join online communities of other people who have spent a lot of time hospitalised and so can relate to your struggles.

Don’t be afraid to seek help at home

In the wait for the more familiar feelings of home life to return, you may appreciate homecare assistance with carrying out a range of household responsibilities. Those could include washing yourself, getting dressed, vacuum cleaning, mopping and, on a once- or twice-weekly basis, doing laundry.

At Kentish Homecare, we have staff who can handle all of these tasks and more on your behalf. More details about our services in both personal care and housekeeping are on our website, while you can also phone 0208 658 4455 to further educate yourself about our services.

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Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy: daily homecare tips

Cerebral palsy refers to a set of movement disorders that emerge in childhood. However, the permanent nature of the condition means that it can continue to have many adverse effects as people with cerebral palsy progress from childhood to adulthood. It can even have fresh implications that necessitate special homecare for people with the condition.

If you care for someone with cerebral palsy, here are some tips for how you can help make their day-to-day life easier when they are fulfilling even routine household responsibilities.

What is cerebral palsy

Someone with cerebral palsy has a disorder which affects their movement in various parts of their body. The condition typically results from the brain becoming injured during either pregnancy or the birth – or shortly following the birth. This helps to explain why cerebral palsy is often a common concern with children in particular; however, its effects on adults should not be overlooked.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, symptoms of which are highly numerous and varied. They include – but are certainly not limited to – stiff and weak muscles, poor coordination, tremors, and impaired vision and hearing. Such symptoms often first emerge during childhood; however, as the disorder is “non-progressive”, it will not worsen as affected children grow into adults.

How cerebral palsy can uniquely affect adults

While it is reassuring that the actual condition of cerebral palsy does not deteriorate during adulthood, this is not strictly the case for all of the symptoms of the disorder. A particularly common challenge for affected adults is premature ageing. This will typically become evident between the ages of about 20 to 40; signs of this ageing include struggling to complete routine tasks.
For these adults, even just ascending a small flight of stairs could take up all of their energy. These people could – as a result of the early ageing – experience increased pain, have more difficulty in walking, or have a greater risk of falling.

How to make sure such an adult is looked after

As distressed as you could be to see a loved one suffering such symptoms, and as eager as you may be to help them yourself, effectively fulfilling this responsibility might not be entirely within your ability. You might, for example, lack sufficient specialist knowledge of cerebral palsy to know how symptoms – and, therefore, challenges – of it can differ between adults and children.

Fortunately, at Kentish Homecare, we do have such expertise. We can provide homecare solutions to people of various ages – from young adulthood to old age – who have cerebral palsy. We are happy to share with you the responsibility of daily looking after a loved one with this condition. Please call us via 0208 658 4455 to learn more about ways in which we can help.

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Dementia Behaviours

A caregiver’s guide to dementia behaviours

Watching a loved one start showing dementia symptoms, including changes for the worse in their behaviour, can be heartbreaking. Dementia is a progressive biological brain disorder which leads to sufferers increasingly struggling to think clearly, recall things, look after themselves and communicate with others – and all of this can have adverse implications for how sufferers behave.

However, by learning how the condition can change people’s behaviour, you can learn how to handle and care for someone who is suffering dementia, as this guide further elaborates.

The link between dementia and behavioural changes

Dementia comes about due to brain damage brought by injury or disease. Therefore, conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease can be particularly responsible for the onset of dementia – and most of the condition’s causes are irreversible. When losing brain cells, someone could struggle to gain or access memories – and so start showing some peculiar behaviours.

You are unlikely to succeed in attempts to control or change these behaviours. This is due to the permanent nature of their condition. Trying to influence that behaviour could even lead to resistance from the person living with dementia. Therefore, you should endeavour to accommodate, rather than control, that behaviour – or change your own behaviour or the surroundings.

What types of behaviour should you look out for

Sometimes, dementia-caused behaviour can be strange but still openly revealed, allowing you to cater for it readily. For example, someone might insist that they sleep on the floor – in which case, you can put down a mattress for their comfort. However, there could be a greater mystery behind other behaviours – like adopting a daily habit of removing all of the clothes from a cupboard.

Dementia suffers are often unable to let us know what they want or require. However, many odd behaviours can arise simply because that person needs to stay busy and productive. Some behavioural problems might also arise due to underlying medical reasons; for example, pain or a side effect caused by medications. Behaviour can also be prompted by external “triggers”…
Those could include a particular action by another person or an alteration in the physical surroundings. However, you may have inadvertently allowed the settling of particular patterns which are leading to the strange behaviour. Therefore, don’t be afraid to sometimes change your approach – particularly considering that, as the disease is progressive, what works one day could become less effective, or even completely ineffective, surprisingly quickly.

You don’t have to handle the behaviour alone

This is because you can utilise external sources of support. Here at Kentish Homecare, we have expertise in caring for dementia sufferers; therefore, our own team of carers can free up time for you to spend on other matters, like looking after yourself. By contacting us by phone on 0208 658 4455, you can further learn how we can effectively care for people with dementia.

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What is the purpose of respite care

Many people, as they age, lose their ability to care for themselves or their home in ways to which they have become accustomed. However, at the same time, they might not be enthusiastic about moving into a care home; they might prefer to stay where they already live.
For that to be possible, they might need a caregiver – and a relative, friend or neighbour may volunteer to fulfil that responsibility without receiving payment to do so. However, looking after that older adult could be testing on the caregiver – and this is where respite care can help.

A change is as good as a rest

With respite care, the usual caregiver spends a predetermined period of time away from their usual care tasks while a respite caregiver takes over. This time freed up for the other caregiver can be hugely valuable, as they might have various other responsibilities that need attention.
That person might, for example, have children to think about or jobs on which they are financially highly reliant. They might also, of course, have their own house that needs to be lovingly maintained. All things considered, that caregiver might just feel the need to recharge their batteries.

During a period of respite care, the standard caregiver can spend time focusing on all of these things and more. There are also benefits for the older adult, as they will have someone new to chat to and can still receive the care that they require.
That person could even spend their time of respite care on a holiday or visiting a relative’s home. However, they can continue to benefit from specialist care that meets their specific needs – rather than a possibly unhelpful “one-size-fits-all” approach.

What can be specifically expected with a respite care service

As we know that home care service requirements can significantly vary between people who need homecare, we can tailor our services to suit. Respite visits can also vary in length – from a few hours to numerous weeks. So, what types of services can be included with a Kentish Homecare package?

Those services can include forms of personal care – like bathing and dressing the old person and assisting them in getting in and out of bed. Also included can be practical assistance in the home – including tasks like washing, cleaning, cooking and returning items to where they should be.
There is even more that a respite care and sitting service can provide. For details, you can look at the respite care page of our website or call Kentish Homecare on 0208 658 4455. We will be content to answer any questions you may have concerning our respite care offerings.

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Tips for looking after an elderly relative overnight

While the night can simply be a time of peaceful slumber for many of us, it can be much more uncomfortable for many older adults. They might often struggle to relax sufficiently to fall asleep – and convoluted sleep patterns can play havoc with such degenerative conditions as dementia.
If you have an elderly relative who is often restless at night, you may be able to personally attest to disruption this has brought to people who live with them. Here are ways that you can help prevent that relative overly suffering as a result of their night struggles.

Closely monitor their sleep patterns

Ideally, your relative should enjoy a lengthy period of largely or entirely uninterrupted sleep every night. However, even on a comfortable night for them, their sleep patterns could noticeably differ to yours, as these patterns can alter with age.
Nonetheless, check whether your loved one wakes up any more often than twice a night. This would be outside the range of normality and suggest that they may require a professional night carer.

Give them enough light and space for trips to the bathroom
Your relative might occasionally want to head out of the bedroom for a toilet trip or some water. That’s fine, but make sure that they will be able to clearly see where they are going when they do.
Look at the paths between both the bed and bathroom and bed and kitchen. Clear them of clutter and any loose rugs over which your loved one could otherwise trip. Also, set up strategically-placed motion sensor lights on both paths.

Counter adverse implications of incontinence issues

Older people can often suffer incontinence, which refers to insufficient control over the bladder. While you would be unable to control the condition itself, you can still prevent damage to the bed if you waterproof the mattress and give your relative adult incontinence underwear.

Seek professional care if this seems warranted

If you are unable to meet all of your relative’s night care requirements yourself, you could seek help from a professional night caregiver. We understand that taking care of a relative overnight can be testing; furthermore, we can take account of their unique needs.

We can do this when putting together a night care service for your relative. A Kentish Homecare caregiver can, if necessary, remain awake through the night; and, even with our “sitting service”, they can remain “on call” while napping. We invite you to phone Kentish Homecare Services on 0208 658 4455 for more details.

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