Tuesday, 12 December 2017

5 Caring4Elders Top Tips for all our friends this Festive Season

Be prepared to care this Christmas by following "Betty & Liz" 5  x top tips when considering your elderly relatives and friends

Informal caring can be difficult at any time and even more so at busy holiday times when there are so many calls on care givers’ time and energy.  Our 5 top tips are designed to help you check for any changes that suggest more care is needed to help your loved ones be safe, happy and keep independent.  So, as well as reconnecting and enjoying precious family times together, work your way through our Christmas Prepared to Care top tips: 

1.  Take time to listen.   Older people can often be left out of family chat, they may be hard of hearing or the conversation may go too quickly for them.  Many people also find it difficult to talk about their worries and fears.  Sometimes people feel more able to talk about personal issues when they are not making eye contact, for example when walking together or carrying out joint tasks.  So, involve elderly people in present wrapping, sprout peeling and washing up and take the opportunity to have some quality talk.
2. Check for change.   Put on your Sherlock hat and check for any signs that may show your relative has health or other issues that are not being addressed.  Is medication organised, up-to-date and being taken? When was the last dental or opticians’ check?  Age related macular degeneration is treatable when caught early but otherwise can lead to blindness.   How is your relative’s balance/memory/weight/hygiene?  Are there letters from the GP, hospital, or other service which indicates that all is not well?   Are there any new ‘friends’ on the scene who might be taking advantage of your relative/?
3. Do a house audit.  While you are there check that your relatives home is being maintained.  How is security – door locks and window catch in good order and being used?  Would an outside security light be helpful?   Are there ‘lights on timers’ for when your loved ones are out of the house?  Are there trip hazards, loose mats, frayed carpets, dodgy slippers?  Are everyday items in easy reach?   Are mobility aids working correctly?  Are there any adjustments, for example walk in showers, easy turn taps that would make everyday life easier?  Is the house warm? Do any of the jobs that you have been asked to do suggest that regular extra help with everyday chores is needed?
4. Finances. Are there unopened bills? Check bank statements to ensure no unusual transactions. Is money left around the house?  Do unauthorised people have access to cards/pin numbers?  Is your loved one at risk from identity theft?
5. Connect with neighbours.  Take the opportunity to go and see neighbours. They are on the spot and many ‘keep an eye out’ for elderly local people.  It’s a good moment to thank them for their help and make sure they have up to date contact details for you in case of emergencies.  A small gift is a nice way of showing your appreciation.  Make sure too that you have up to date contact details for your relative’s GP, neighbours and friends. Do look into Personal Alarms as a reliable method for elderly people to contact others . Most Councils offer a system as well as the  large range of models available through charities and private providers. Wearing a pendant round the wrist or neck means that the elderly person can make contact from anywhere in the house and garden.
 Season's Greetings 🎅

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