Showing posts with label elderly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elderly. Show all posts

23 February 2017

Safety Tips for the Elderly At Home

Following on from my post last year about safety tips for the elderly in winter last year, today I wanted to talk about how the elderly can be safer in their homes, particularly when living alone.

This is a subject that I often ponder; particularly as I have a 76 year old mother myself who is thankfully mobile, independent and very capable of looking after herself.  But this is not always the case, particularly when people get to 80 and above and are living alone.

There are many things that can be done for an elderly family member to live safely on their own by just making some small changes to their home, and by putting routines in place that can keep them independent and not feeling reliant on their family.  This can mean so much as many elderly people would do anything to avoid being a burden.

Safety Proof Your Home
Six out of ten falls occur in the home.  Our home is our safe space and we rarely think about the dangers of falling.  Ensure that all floor surfaces are non slip, perhaps putting matting in strategic places if you do not want to go to the expense of changing your flooring (but tape them down so that they are secure).  Any wiring should be tired away and keep away from the floor surface.

One hazardous area for falls, particularly when you are elderly is the bathroom.  One idea would be to put safety bars in next to the toilet and the shower.  Many homes have a bath which is precarious to get out of at the best of times, let alone when you are elderly, perhaps unsure on your feet and have the challenge of climbing out of a bath.

How about looking at a wet room cost?  Having a one level room with perhaps a seat in the shower could be invaluable.

Share Your Keys
When my mum is home alone, she always locks the door to the house, which is important for security.  But if your relative is living alone and has a fall, it is imperative that you and the emergency services if needed can gain access.  I would recommend giving a copy of the house key to at least three people as many have busy lives and do not always have access to their phone at the right time.  An alternative would be to have a lock box outside of your door, with your family and your local doctor being given the code.

Check in with People
As I have said earlier in this post, the last thing that elderly people want to be is a burden.  But a simple call from a relative each day, even to just say hello is so beneficial; particularly if they worry about calling you as they don't want to bother you.

Interaction with fellow neighbours is also important and can be a great mutual support system.  We  have a neighbour who needs a little extra help and I know that the visits my mum pays her make all the difference.  

Create an "All Weather" Kit
As we all know, we can never rely on the weather in the UK.  One day it is sunny, the next we could have four inches of snow.  A good idea in the winter months would be to stock up on tins, make sure that there is a working flashlight and that medication is kept in good stock.

Many elderly people have to take a plethora of pills every day.  A list kept in the kitchen or somewhere easily accessible of all medication that they are taking is important to ensure that they do not run out and thereby preventing any emergency trips to the pharmacy.

I hope that these tips and ideas have been helpful.  Our elderly relatives are often though that have looked after us throughout our childhoods and these small tips and ideas can go a long way in ensuring that they can maintain a happy, safe and independent life in their twilight years.

*Collaborative post

9 February 2017

Style Through the Decades

I get the same bus to work every day.

My journey to work is filled with people watching as the bus passes by people on the street and (discreetly of course!) looking around at my fellow bus passengers; trying to guess who they are and what their day holds from the way they are dressed.

There are two people that always catch my eye.  An old lady, must be at least 85 years old, gets on the bus every Wednesday morning.  Where she goes to, I do not know, but I am always fascinated by the way she dresses.

Her highly polished black court shoes with a tiny heel.  A little hat on her head with a beautiful hat pin. A smart coat (blue for Summer, red for Winter) and a black leather gloves.  She always looks immaculately dressed and like she has stepped right out of a 1950s novel.

I can imagine her in her younger years dressed like this:

Whilst I see the occasional elderly lady dressing this way, more often it is the elderly gentleman who have stuck to the more formal styles of the 1940s and 50s.  Everything from a suit with waist coat or a tie, to the jumper, tie and shirt combination.  There is one elderly gentleman who waits at the same bus stop every day; standing there with his bowler hat, beige coloured army style mac and a suit.  He is obviously far too old to be going to work.  Yet this is how he dresses every day.  I love it.

Back in the 1940s and 50s it was common place to look smart when you went out.  The hair was done, the shoes shined, the good coat on, the dress or the suit immaculate.

Years go by, society changes and styles evolve.  I remember asking my mum when I was 7 or 8 (and she was 46 or 47) why she did not wear jeans or trousers and her scandalized face that she would even think of wearing anything but a dress or a skirt.  For her, at that time, it was not the done thing.  

Whilst I am glad that times have now moved on to the point where my now 76 year old mother isn't adverse to wearing a pair of jeans or smart trouser;, I cannot help but mourn for the bygone era where you dressed up when you were leaving the house or going on a journey.

Each year I see less and less of the elderly women and gentleman with the smart clothing, dressed up to the nines; even if they were just going to the post office.

I look ahead towards the future and wonder what younger generations will think of us.  Will we be  the generation of  tracksuit bottoms?  I hope not.  I have made a pledge to myself that I will always dress smartly when I leave the house, whether I am 37 years old or 87.  We cannot let our grandparents' generation down.  Style is timeless.

23 June 2016

Be Kind

Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  Mark Twain

It has been over six months now since we made our New Years Resolutions.  The promises that we make to change things about ourselves.  Those changes are rarely made and by this point in the year, most of us have even forgotten what they were!

I do not believe in New Years Resolutions.  The gym membership that you forget about after month two.  The three books a month you promise yourself you will read, but don't.  That glass of wine on a Friday after work that you swear you will cut out (who are you kidding?).

Instead of thinking of ourselves and making promises we cannot keep, why not simply set ourselves a new challenge.  Be kinder to others.  It isn't hard to do and unlike that gym membership that is still coming out of your bank despite you not setting foot there for months; it will make you feel better.

There is a saying "treat others as you wish to be treated yourself".  I believe that the best way to be kind to others and be more selfless is to instead treat people the way you would want a beloved family member to be treated.  Pick the favourite person in your family: your mother, your grandpa; your auntie.  Think about the way you would wish a stranger to treat them, and act that way.

I have found that treating others as I would want a loved one to be treated has subtly changed the way that I interact with strangers.  For example my mum is 76 and sometimes struggles with the high bus step.  For this reason I always linger now if I have an elderly person behind me when I get off the bus, just in case they need a hand.  Because my mum would never ask for help with that, but she would appreciate it.

Visit your elderly neighbour living alone because you wouldn't want one of your grandparents to be living alone and lonely.

Ask the person upset on the street if they are ok, because you wouldn't want your sister to be upset alone.  Sometimes just a simple "Are you ok" showing you care means the world to someone when they are upset.

Carry a spare pound coin in your pocket for that occasional person who has no change in the car park. Let's face it, that has been all of us once.

All of these things take no time or effort, but can mean the world to someone else.  Go out into the world and be kinder.  It will make your heart happier.

25 November 2014

Winter is Coming

As I have been mentioned before on this blog, the thought of winter and the snow that follows has always filled me with dread.  

Last year I wrote about some ice cleats that I had bought which have definitely made winter a little easier for me.  

The NHS have created some top tips for getting through the winter:
  • Avoid going out in bad weather but if you do wrap up warm in plenty of layers, and wear a hat, scarf, gloves and shoes with a good grip on the sole.
  • Try to be active during the day. Visit a local leisure centre or shopping centre if you can. If you can’t get out then get up and move, as light exercise will help to keep you warm.
  • Make sure your heating, radiators and boilers are serviced to reduce the risk of breakdown in cold weather.
  • Use a room thermometer. Your main sitting room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F).
  • Have at least one warm meal each day and drink warm drinks.
  • Sweep the chimneys, in preparation for winter.
  • Set heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed.
  • Get snug in bed with fleecy onesies, socks, thermal underwear and a hat. 
  • Take care of elderly friends and neighbours. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and they have supplies of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
When you are young and have family around you, it is easier to think of just oneself when it comes to surviving winter but what your neighbours?

My street has many elderly people, my parents included, who all make the effort in winter to help out each other, but what about those who are more isolated?  My mum was talking to an 83 year old lady on the bus the other day who told her that her neighbours never speak to her or offer any assistance and she was worried about the winter ahead.  

It is important when winter arrives that we do not just think of ourselves.  Clearing an elderly neighbour's drive of snow or offering to get some items for them in your weekly shop isn't a big encumbrance to you but can make all the difference to someone who is elderly and alone.

I will be actively doing this when the snow comes.  If my mum lived alone I would hope that somebody would do the same for her.  When the temperatures drop and the ground gets icy, we all need to take a little extra care and if that can be extended to the people around you, maybe the winter won't seem to long after all.

30 October 2014

Safety Tips for the Elderly This Winter

Winter time can be especially cold if you are in your advancing years. A combination of dark nights, icy conditions, and hefty heating bills can make it a stressful time of year for pensioners. It is particularly troublesome for those who live on their own. So if you are worried about the next few months or have a relative who you are concerned about here are a few tips to help the elderly keep safe this winter.

Get Care
Services such as Extra Care At Home provide a helping hand in various aspects of a person’s home life from help getting up in a morning to and housework to providing companionship which can be very important during the isolating winter. Such organisations provide all the benefits of a retirement care home without the person having to uproot from their home.

Outdoor Physical Activity
It is important not to exert oneself as the cold weather will already put extra strain on the heart as it works overtime to keep your body warm. Do not attempt to shovel snow or carry heavy shopping, instead get a younger family member or carer to run such outdoor errands.

Prevent Falls
Wear boots with non-slip soles and keep paths and steps carefully cleared of snow or ice to avoid falls in the cold weather. Put a rubber tip on any cane or walking stick needed to walk to prevent it from slipping.

Wrap Up
Frostbite is a very real risk during extremely cold weather so it is important to cover up as much of your body as possible as areas such as your nose, cheeks, ears are most at risk as are fingers and toes. Frostbite is especially common amongst people with poor circulation and heart disease.

Keep Warm Indoors
Cold homes can lead to serious effects on a person’s health. Flu, depression, heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia can call be caused by chilly houses. Measures such as electric blankets, eating well, wearing warm indoor clothes can all help your body keep in check when temperatures plummet.

Get a Flu Jab
It is recommended that all over-65s get a seasonal flu jab as the illness can escalate into pneumonia.

Stop Smoking
This is good advice for any time of the year but it is especially pertinent for winter. A smoke-free life will allow you to breathe easier and return your immune system to its best.      

Keep Social
To prevent the winter blues, keep in regular touch with friends and loved ones via telephone. If you feel like widening your circle of friends there are great services such as Age UK’s BefriendingService which assign older people with a befriender who provides friendly conversation on a regular basis.