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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The different types of homecare available

You might have reached a point where, due to physical handicaps brought about due to age or illness, you are no longer able to get around your home as easily or take care of all of your usual household responsibilities. In this situation, Kentish Homecare can help. There are various kinds of homecare available – and which of them you should use will depend on the type of assistance you need.

Personal care

It is desirable to preserve personal independence, but this could escape you should you be unable to fulfil personal care tasks like washing or dressing yourself. Whether you prefer to shower or bathe and regardless of the kind of clothing you routinely wear, we offer staff who can help you handle a range of personal care responsibilities – from combing your hair right through to using the toilet.

Housekeeping services

As well as making sure you are personally looked after, you also need to extend such care to the house in which you live. However, if it is no longer possible for you to keep on top of housekeeping  duties like washing dishes, making beds and sweeping floors, we can provide you with a personal caregiver who can take care of all of these duties and more.

Night care

If your usual struggles with self-care usually continue – or strengthen – during the night, then you might benefit from a night caregiver. They can take over when the day caregiver – perhaps a relative, friend or partner of you, the person being looked after – goes “off duty”.
There are two types of night care service: waking service and sitting service. With waking service, the caregiver can stay awake right through the night should they be requested – or need – to do so. Sitting service, meanwhile, is for less demanding cases; the caregiver can nap but stay “on call”.

24-hour care

There are instances where you might require care right around the clock. Such instances could include the aftermath of illness, an accident, surgery or a lengthy stay in hospital. Alternatively, a friend, family member or partner might be about to embark on a long period of absence.
With 24-hour care, you can rest assured that professional assistance is always available. That assistance can come from one of our caregivers here at Kentish Homecare. More details about our 24-hour care service – and, indeed, our services in personal care, housekeeping and night care – are available when you call Kentish Homecare on 0208 658 4455.

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The benefits of the elderly owning pets

In the case of many people who reach an elderly age, their lives can feel barren and lonely. However, they can enjoy reassuring company from a cute and friendly pet. Many of us love our furry or feathery creatures, but there are especially good reasons why the elderly can enjoy owning and caring for pets.

A new friend with an optimistic sense of the now

Old age often means living alone, and this can be depressing. With fewer opportunities to socially interact and physically exercise than they might have previously been accustomed to, an elderly person could become stressed and preoccupied with negative thoughts.
Those thoughts could include what might happen in the future, a potentially very scary subject for an old person. However, pets very much live in the present moment without fretting about tomorrow. This attitude to life can rub off on an elderly owner and so perk their spirits.

A happy pet and a happy owner

When a new pet enters an elderly person’s life, it can be a delightful moment for both that person and their pet. Whether it be a dog, cat, bird or other animal, it could be a pet that was previously unwanted but now has a warm, comfortable home with a loving owner.
The bond formed between the owner and pet could also lead the former to research the type of animal or breed that their new friend is. This can benefit the owner through mentally stimulating them – and, of course, help them more effectively take care of their pet.
The mental stimulation could be such that the owner can, even if they suffer from memory loss, recall memories from a distant past. Caring for pets can also help distract elderly people from physical problems they might be suffering or loss that inevitably comes with ageing.

What if the owner becomes too ill to take care of their pet

Given all of these benefits, it can unsurprisingly be a trying time when the owner suffers an illness that prevents them properly looking after their pet. Though one apparent solution might be to remove this pet from the home while their owner is recovering, this can actually be problematic…
If the owner and pet share a strong bond, then taking away the pet – someone who unconditionally loves them and has long been there for them – could add to anguish that the owner is already experiencing as a result of their illness.

Fortunately, here at Kentish Homecare, we can provide a caregiver capable of looking after both the elderly individual and pet homecare. As a result, the owner and pet can stay together in their current, reassuringly familiar home. Please call Kentish Homecare on 0208 658 4455 to learn more about our pet care services.

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How to encourage independence in the home

You might know someone – like a friend a relative, perhaps even your partner – who has just come out of a hospital stay lasting several days, weeks or months and is now in a period of rehabilitation. You should keep in mind that this particular stage could last longer than you initially anticipated. However, in the meantime, you can still encourage your loved one to find their feet again.

Remote control? Yes, control more remotely

In the attempt to make sure that the loved one is – and will stay – okay, you might seek to control many aspects of their lifestyle. You could be afraid to relinquish this control; after all, couldn’t that person inadvertently stumble into trouble from which you could have kept them away?
However, by loosening your control only subtly, you can encourage them to direct their own life while still preventing them running into too much difficulty. So, rather than issuing orders at them, you could ask them what they are interested in doing.

Show positivity to encourage change.

When Bobby McFerrin sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in the 1980s, he could have easily been referring to the attitude that caregivers can benefit from adopting. After all, positivity can rub off – and that’s essential given how slow and challenging the path towards independence can prove.

Therefore, remember to acknowledge and celebrate whatever little victories your loved one makes as they endeavour to become more independent. In reaction to you, they are less likely to deem that journey hopeless. Remember: just feeling, rather than voicing, negativity could risk spreading it.

Give them a choice of friends and lifestyle.

Independence is fundamentally about having choice. For that reason, you shouldn’t be afraid to let your loved one do what they want in terms of hobbies. They should also be allowed to choose what people to invite into the house to meet up with. Through giving your loved one such choice, you can encourage them to grow and develop as an individual.

Draw upon professional rehabilitation services.

If you feel that you lack experience or knowhow concerning rehabilitation, you might take comfort in seeking professional assistance. We can provide such assistance – and tailor our rehabilitation service to satisfy your loved one’s particular requirements.
The service can include – for example – helping them with not only walking, but also personal care duties like washing and dressing and household tasks such as cleaning and cooking.
Call Kentish Homecare on 0208 658 4455 to learn how our rehabilitation offerings can help someone slowly transition to independence.

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