Feb 15

MPs Call For Govt To Address Elderly Housing Problems

Matthew

More help should be given to elderly people in the UK so they can adapt their homes to suit their changing needs and reduce the number moving into residential care, MPs have urged in a new report.

The Communities and Local Government Committee’s Housing For Older People document highlighted the problems faced by the ageing population to stay safe and comfortable in their homes.

The report noted that this group of people’s issues are diverse, but called for a “national strategy, which brings together and improves the policy on housing for older people”.

Among the suggestions are readily available handyman services to make repairs, adaptations and maintenance to enable residents to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

The green paper also recommended all new properties be made to Category 2 Building Regulations standard so they adequately satisfy people’s needs as they get older; it called for councils to address how they intend to deliver appropriate houses to the elderly; urged lenders to improve customer service and guidance for older people applying for mortgages; and to increase access to shared ownership and equity.

This strategy is urgent, the MPs claimed, as 18 per cent of the UK population was over 65 years of age in 2016. What’s more, the number of people 85 and over looks likely to double over the next 25 years.

One thing that elderly people do need to change in their home is their bathroom. As they become less mobile, walk-in baths or easy access showers are much easier to use than standard facilities.

By making these adaptations to their bathroom, they will be able to wash themselves more easily without any help. Therefore, they will stay independent and in their own home for much longer – a liberty most people want to hold on to as they get older.

Feb 10

British Red Cross Criticises Elderly Care

Matthew

Small walk in baths are just some of the many ways in which people can maintain more independence at home as they get older.

This is important for many people, and can actually benefit the mental health of some too.

It is also not a great time to be entering social care as the NHS and social care crisis has hit the UK harder than ever this year.

The two are thought to be exacerbating each other, with some saying the crisis in social care is putting increased pressure on the NHS.

Now the British Red Cross, which called the problems the NHS faced last year a humanitarian crisis, has claimed that many of the problems faced by the NHS are due to elderly people becoming stuck in an “endless cycle of avoidable hospital readmissions”.

Chief executive Mike Adamson told The Independent newspaper: “We believe that routine home inspections, when someone vulnerable is discharged from hospital, could flag basic steps that would prevent dangerous falls and repeat admittance to hospital. This could dramatically ease the flow of patients in and out of hospitals, helping to free up critical bed space.”

In a report, the charity says that elderly people are increasingly being sent home from hospital, without the right care in place only for them to end up back in A&E.

The report goes on to show that emergency readmission has risen 23 per cent over the past five years, and states this is due to the lack of care available for elderly people. They criticised hospitals for not identifying the issues earlier on, and addressing them.

Liftseat
Jan 29

Council Hoping To Boost Use Of Assistive Tech By Elderly

Matthew

We all understand that as we get older we may need to make modifications to our homes to help us stay safe and live independent lives.

That might involve having things like easy access showers installed in our bathrooms, but now one council in the UK is running a scheme to try and get more elderly residents in its area to adopt assistive care technology.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council has received a £25,000 grant from the Local Government Association (LGA) to help it develop a project that it hopes will encourage more elderly people to make use of such devices.

Dave Tyrell, project manager, told UK Authority that it can be difficult to encourage people in this demographic to adopt new technology, which is why they’re going to work with a behavioural insights specialist to help drive take-up.

“I think people are sometimes put off because they think of technology as being complicated,” he explained.

Mr Tyrell added: “We want to look at what people understand about how it works, with the key words being ‘awareness’ and ‘training’.”

To help overcome any negative perception of the cost, the council will be offering people devices free of charge for a 12-week period, as well as providing them at no cost after they are discharged from hospital. The hope is that these devices will help people stay safe in their homes.

There are always new innovations happening where technology is concerned, and one of the latest comes in the form of an IllumiBowl light that can be attached to the rim of your toilet. Technabob noted that the light turns on and off using motion sensors, illuminating your toilet in the night and making it easy to navigate your bathroom.

Jan 19

Older People More At Risk Of Flu

Matthew

If you have need to use UK disability baths, it’s important that you also don’t threaten your independence by not taking care of your health as properly as you should.

You may already have heard of Aussie Flu or French Flu, so called because the flu strain took hold in Australia’s winter, and is now causing a crisis in France.

It hit the UK in recent weeks, and this virulent strain has been blamed for knocking people out for quite some time, suffering high fevers, stomach upsets and vomiting, coughs and extreme aches and pains.

The epidemic has come at a time when the NHS is already suffering a significant crisis, with A&E waiting times at their highest ever. Both the health secretary and the prime minister have been forced to apologise for the situation in the health service.

Older people are being urged to have their flu vaccination if they haven’t already, as well as other vulnerable people.

There has in fact already been an improved uptake in the flu vaccination with over a million being delivered by November this year.

Older people are more at risk of catching flu, though there is conflicting advice over the impact vaccination has. Results out this week showed that last year’s vaccine had no impact on whether or not people over 65 caught flu, whereas a paper also out this week shows that immunity is improved with repeat vaccinations over several years.

Either way, if you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet and you are over 65 or a carer, you can still obtain yours from many pharmacies.

Jan 10

Do You Claim Carer’s Credit?

Matthew

If you look after a disabled person and are providing 20 hours of care or more a week, it’s possible that you might be eligible to claim carer’s credit. This is a scheme designed to help carers build up better state pension entitlements, so you could really benefit if you research it this year.

New research from Royal London, however, has just revealed that although each year of credits would add £237 annually to a carer’s state pension, the scheme itself has failed to reach 97 per cent of its target group.

“Governments cannot simply hope that people find the information on official websites or rely on the occasional ministerial press release. It is time for proactive communications with those who are meant to benefit so that far more people get the help to which they are entitled,” director of policy Steve Webb commented.

To qualify for these credits, the disabled person you’re caring for must be in receipt of one of the following benefits: attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance, disability living allowance care component at the middle or highest rate, personal independence payment or Armed Forces independence payment.

If the person in need of care doesn’t receive any of these, a health or social care professional will have to sign the credit application and confirm the details.

You yourself have to be over the age of 16 but under state pension age, and be looking after one or more people for a minimum of 20 hours a week. You can also still get carer’s credit if you take a break from caring (up to 12 consecutive weeks).

For advice and help with shower seating and other bathroom modifications, get in touch with us today.

Jan 07

13m Brits Argue ‘About Sharing Bathrooms’

Matthew

It can be difficult living with friends and family, but apparently one of the most challenging things about cohabiting for Brits is sharing bathrooms.

According to recent figures from Direct Line Home Insurance, 13 million adults have had an argument about the use of the bathroom in the past. For 800,000 of these people, the disagreement has been so severe it has resulted in the end of a friendship.

Dan Simson, head of home insurance at Direct Line, said: “Shared bathrooms can quickly descend into chaos, with families feuding over the ‘best bathroom’, couples bickering about whose turn it is to clean the shower and flatmates clashing over who used the last of the shampoo.”

The findings revealed the most common disagreement is to do with the state the bathroom has been left in, with 40 per cent saying this was the major cause of conflict in their house.

Some 29 per cent stated that arguments were usually about leaving the toilet seat up, while 23 per cent had disputes about how long people spent in the washroom.

These are just some of the reasons why many would prefer to have their own private bathroom, with 15 million Brits having to share the space with at least three other people.

It is not a surprise so many inhabitants share bathrooms these days – two million claim to use theirs with five or more people – as multigenerational living has become the norm in the UK.

Indeed, online estate agent Tepilo.com recently revealed that three in five Brits would consider purchasing a property with relatives, AOL reported. However, while families may want to live together, residing with several generations in one house could easily lead to conflict.

Older residents would fare better by having their own facilities, so they can install easy access showers or baths that are easier to climb in and out of.  

Jan 01

Optimism And Stubbornness ‘Can Help You Live Longer’

Matthew

Researchers from the University of Rome La Sapienza and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have carried out a study looking at the psychological traits that can help people live longer and happier lives.

The team spoke to residents in rural Italian communities who are aged between 90 and 101, as well as interviewing their younger relatives, aged between 51 and 75. They found that all of those who lived into their 90s tended to have similar personality traits.

Among them were positivity, a strong work ethic and stubbornness, although the researchers also highlighted their strong connection to family, the land and religion. The team also noted that many of the people they spoke to are still working in their homes or on their land.

Anna Scelzo, one of the study’s authors, commented: “This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”

Senior author of the study Dilip V. Jeste, MD, said that exploring the lives of those who not only live longer, but who live well, “enhances our understanding of health and functional capacities in all age groups”.

Staying in your own home as you age appears to be one of the things that helps people stay independent and happy. That may mean making modifications to your property to make it viable for you to remain there.

Installing walk in power baths is one option for modifying your home to make activities like bathing easier and safer.

The strong sense of family that helps the communities in Italy may also be something we start to return to in the UK, with one estate agent recently suggesting that multigenerational living could grow in popularity. One in six of the people surveyed said they’d love to live like this.

Dec 20

How To Reduce The Risk Of Fractures Among Elderly

Matthew

Ageing brings with it an increased risk of fractures but there are ways to guard against the trips and slips so commonly responsible for fractures in older people.

Bones lose mineral content with age and become more likely to break during a fall. According to TheHealthSite, one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis, which is often undiagnosed until an accident happens.

To prevent such incidents, the website cites a number of considerations worth making at home from orthopaedic knee surgeon Dr Miten Sheth.

 

Declutter and repair

Keeping clutter to a minimum helps reduce the risk of tripping over items left lying around, especially in hallways and staircases, while repairing loose tiles or other hazards may reduce the chance of slipping.

 

Wear fitted clothing and shoes

Long, loose clothes can trail along the floor and be stepped on accidentally, potentially resulting in a fall. Likewise, wearing socks without shoes can pose a slipping risk, so wearing some shoes with a rubber sole or tread to better grip the floor may help lower the risk.

 

Well-lit and on one level

The surgeon advises older people to live on one level where possible, reducing the risks associated with falling on the stairs. Likewise, making sure the property is well lit is important – night lights can provide guidance in darkness.

 

Bathroom safety

The bathroom is a common place for trips and slips. Dr Sheth advises the installation of handrails for more support when using the bathroom, while easy access showers and walk in baths can help ensure the elderly can continue to use the bathroom safely yet independently.

Dec 07

Is Multigenerational Living Set To Rise In Popularity?

Matthew

You can barely go a day without seeing something in the news about the housing crisis in the UK at the moment, so it will probably come as little surprise that people are reconsidering how they live and looking at alternative options.

AOL recently highlighted a study by online estate agent Tepilo.com, which found that three in five Brits would consider buying a home with other members of their family and creating a multigenerational household.

What’s more, one in six actually said they would love to live in this kind of home. However, the biggest concern with having this sort of larger household was a lack of privacy.

To make multigenerational living bearable, having separate living spaces was an important factor, as were separate bathrooms and kitchens.

This does make sense though, especially as older members of your family may benefit from the likes of walk in baths that aren’t so appealing to those from younger generations.

In fact, having this kind of bath was recently cited as one of the best adaptations for older people to make to their homes, because they can help prevent slips, trips and falls in the bathroom, New Zealand-based publication GrownUps stated.

Founder of Tepilo.com Sarah Beeny commented: “I think some people are starting to turn off from the fast-paced, technology-led way of life that’s become the norm, and wish they could return to more traditional values.”

Although she did add that for multigenerational living to really take off in the UK, there would need to be an increase in larger fit-for-purpose properties on the market.

Dec 04

Physiotherapy Services Should Be Delivered In Full

Matthew

When a physiotherapist recommends a programme of sessions, they should be allowed to deliver it, rather than being encouraged to cut back on the number of sessions provided to patients.

This is the opinion of Dawn Skelton, professor of ageing and health at Glasgow Caledonian University, who addressed the British Geriatric Society this month.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), of which Professor Skelton is an honorary member, reported on her address in which she urged physiotherapists to stand their ground when asked to cut back on treatment programmes.

“We should treat it [exercise] like a drug and prescribe the correct dose and duration and the right people should be prescribing it,” she stated.

Professor Skelton said that if GPs were told they had to cut half of a treatment regime due to cuts to resources they would “create havoc”, and she argues that physiotherapists need to be vocal in protecting their treatment plans.

Delivering a 12-week tailored programme of either two or three sessions a week can lead to significant improvements in strength, balance and muscle tone among the elderly, she pointed out.

This can therefore help prevent trips and falls, which often lead to older people being hospitalised, putting pressure on health and social care services.

Making sure that homes are suitably adapted, such as by introducing easy access showers, is another step that people can take to reduce their risk of injury in their own homes.

Other hazards that commonly cause injuries in the home include stairs, slippery floor surfaces and loose rugs and carpets, according to research that was published recently in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.