Apr 18

Britain’s Pain Hotspots Revealed

Matthew

When you suffer from joint, back or neck pain, then everyday tasks can be a real problem – meaning installing an easy access shower could make a huge difference to your day to day life. You may have examined all the reasons why you suffer such pain, but have you ever considered that your location could be a contributing factor?

Research by the British Chiropractic Association has found a real regional divide in the ways that people suffer with neck or back pain, with the results varying as much as 17 per cent from region to region.

So who has got it worst? Well, seemingly it’s those who live in Northern Ireland. According to the study, 57 per cent of people there complain about neck and back pain, compared to just 40 per cent in the lowest scoring area, which is the south east of England.

Catherine Quinn, the president of the British Chiropractic Association, said that the UK has seen a 12 per cent rise in complaints of back pain year on year: “This suggests the occurrence of back and neck pain has increased over the past year, and it appears we should all be following the lead of the south-east where they seem to be managing it best.”

Londoners are most likely to take preventative measures when it comes to ensuring back pain doesn’t get any worse, while those in the Midlands are most likely to develop pain at an early age.

The research was commissioned to mark this year’s National Chiropractic week.

Apr 17

Number Of Carers Of The Elderly ‘To Jump To 6.6m By 2023’

Matthew

There could be as many as four million people caring for an elderly loved one up to eight hours a week in the UK, with this figure set to grow to 6.6 million in the next five years.

This is according to a survey by home insurance provider Neos, reported in the Daily Express, which found that the average carer of an older spouse or relative would carry out seven visits a week.

If you are inviting an elderly relative into your home to help care for them, or if you are helping to care for an elderly loved one by visiting them in their home, one way of keeping them safe without impinging on their dignity is by installing a shower bench or similar so they can bathe independently without any worry.

Moreover, the charity Carers UK advises turning to technology to ensure our older loved ones are safe and comfortable at home, recommending smart devices connected via mobile phone that can help the pensioner or their loved ones to detect intruders, spot water leaks and even prevent fires all through an app.

“Technology can make a big difference to carers, especially those looking after a loved one from afar or juggling work with care,” director of innovation at Carers UK Madelaine Starr was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Indeed, 57 per cent of us caring for an elderly relative find themselves in full-time employment as well, and many will also have dependents of their own to look after.

Apr 04

Sport England Launches Campaign To Keep Elderly Active

Matthew

More elderly people might start improving their health, strength, flexibility and activity levels due to a campaign Sport England has launched to help the over-55s stay fit for longer.

The group has unveiled its Active Ageing fund to encourage elderly people to get moving, so they can prevent illness till later in life.

The Telegraph reported Mike Diaper, executive director at Sport England, as saying: “Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age.”

Pensioners could find themselves attending volleyball classes run by Volleyball England, which allows older people to play from their armchair with an inflatable ball.

Or, they might be interested in lessons from British Weightlifting, which is encouraging the elderly to improve their strength by lifting water bottles and foam bars.

Getting fresh air is very important to stay healthy, so many people might be interested in making their way around the altered trails established by British Orienteering. This allows them to participate in the activity without having to walk far from home.

One of the biggest ailments people suffer from as they get older is arthritis, which can impede on their physical activity and make it difficult to stay moving.

However, advice from Arthritis Care highlighted in the Express could be of help to the elderly, informing them to keep fit by taking part in pilates, yoga, bowls and petanque.

No matter how much exercise you get involved with, it is important to bear in mind your physical abilities will decline as you age. Therefore, it is wise to install a walk-in bath in your washroom, as this will enable you to stay in your home and keep your independence for as long as possible.

Jubilee shower bath
Mar 26

‘Don’t Put Style Before Safety’ In the Home

Matthew

Many people might put off having a walk-in shower bath installed because they are worried it might not look good in their home, but these days there is plenty of choice to suit all tastes.

There is no excuse to put style before safety, which US website The Daily Commercial says is responsible for many avoidable accidents in the home.

The bathroom is a major hazard area for at-home injuries, and elderly people are especially at risk, with new figures from TheHealthSite showing that one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 now suffer from osteoporosis.

CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber and Supply Don Magruder told the news outlet that if you want someone to fall over, the best way to go about it is to use ceramic or porcelain tiles in areas that can get wet, such as a bathroom.

It might look beautiful but it can be slippery, particularly some of those more polished grades – and if tiles aren’t installed properly and are completely level they could become a trip hazard.

Instead, Mr Magruder suggests looking into other non-slip flooring, as well as installing ramps if there are irregular steps around the property.

The expert also recommended bearing in mind how you may find accessing parts of your home as you age, even if you are fairly mobile today.

Putting easy-access solutions in place for attics, high-up windows and hard-to-reach light fixtures could save you from injury or difficulty later down the line.

He said that while a vaulted ceiling might look beautiful with that aspirational chandelier, falling off a ladder changing the bulbs in ten years could be extremely damaging.

Mar 21

Many Dementia Patients Wait Years For Diagnosis

Matthew

There is a huge disparity between the care of dementia sufferers around the country, with people in some areas having to wait years to be given a diagnosis.

The Alzheimer’s Society revealed research that looked at dementia detection across England and found many GPs are reluctant to give elderly people a label and, therefore, fail to offer them a diagnosis at all.

Figures from NHS Digital showed dementia patients in some locations were twice as likely to be diagnosed than if they lived elsewhere, the Daily Mail reported.

Chief executive of the charity Jeremy Hughes told the news provider some people wait years for an outcome, and 207,000 patients with dementia are currently left undiagnosed.

He said: “You would expect [a timely diagnosis] with any other disease and the fact that people with dementia don’t get it is denying their right to know what’s wrong with them.”

Mr Hughes noted that many people are turned away because they appear too young. However, he stated the assumption that Alzheimer’s is a condition that only old people suffer from is “false”.

West Somerset has the lowest levels of diagnosis, with only 42.6 per cent of patients with dementia having it confirmed. Comparatively, Stockton-on-Tees has the best diagnosis rates at 91.2 per cent, showing the stark difference between the two areas.

Those who do suffer from dementia need to make sure they make changes to their home so it is safe for them to live in.

Channel3000 advised assessing the condition of the patient and what they can manage first. Bathroom modifications, such as installing bath lifts, is advisable, as this helps those who struggle to get in and out of the bath on their own.

Sufferers should also have childproof latches on medicine cupboards, safety knobs on the stove, and locks where knives, matches, scissors and cleaning products are kept.

Mar 01

Advice On Exercise For Arthritis Sufferers

Matthew

Arthritis can be a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to do even basic daily tasks when it becomes severe.

However, doing certain exercise can help alleviate symptoms and make it easier to live an independent life for longer. The Express has highlighted advice about the best exercise to do if you suffer from arthritis.

Among the options are pilates and bowls, both of which can be beneficial to people who suffer from arthritis.

Speaking to the newspaper, Wendy Davis, from Arthritis Care, commented: “Those with arthritis can benefit from a combination of gentle stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercise – this includes yoga and pilates, or even sports such as bowls or petanque.”

Even low-impact activities like gardening or housework can class as aerobic exercise for arthritis sufferers, she added.

The important thing, according to the news provider, is to make sure you’re doing the right kind and level of exercise for your arthritis – this will ensure it doesn’t get worse.

Making changes to your home, such as by installing a walk-in shower bath and other additions to the bathroom that make it easier to use it if you have reduced mobility, may be another step you want to consider if your arthritis is worsening or becoming severe.

There are a host of other adaptations you can make to your home to ensure you’re able to stay there as long as possible, even if your mobility is reduced as you get older. One council in the UK revealed earlier this year that it’s trying to encourage more elderly people to make use of assistive technology.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is offering people devices on a free 12-week trial, as well as providing training on how to use them.

Half height shower doors
Feb 23

Advice On Designing Accessible Bathrooms Offered

Matthew

If you’re considering carrying out a bathroom redesign this year, there are a number of elements you should think about to ensure it’s future-proof.

Among them is to ensure that it’s an accessible space. An article in the Telegraph has offered some suggestions on how best to go about this without compromising on style.

One of the top suggestions is to install a walk-in shower. Because these do away with the traditional shower tray, they become easy access showers that make bathing safer for both younger and older members of a family.

What’s more, if you only have a small bathroom, a walk-in shower can be an excellent way to make the most of the space. By choosing simple tiles and a stylish shower screen, it can look elegant as well as being highly practical.

Another element worth splashing out on during a bathroom revamp is low-slip floor tiles. These are available in a range of colours and designs, so you should be able to find something that suits your decor.

Even taking the time to think about the kind of taps you install can make a difference to those with reduced dexterity being able to use things in the bathroom. The newspaper noted that by selecting long-handled, lever-style taps you’ll make it easier for people who struggle with their dexterity to use them.

In December, a study by Tepilo.com suggested that more and more families are considering multigenerational living, which could make it more important to make alterations like these to ensure everyone can safely use spaces like the bathroom.

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.

Feb 05

Politicians Ignore Stagnating Life Expectancy

Matthew

As people get older, it’s important to look into how to meet the lifestyle and healthcare needs as we get older – and disability baths are just one way to go about doing this.

Despite measures such as this, politicians in the UK government’s health department have been criticised for failing to target the stagnating life expectancy in this country.

The criticism comes as the government is looking at raising the pension age, a move which some academics say is unfair due to the stagnating life expectancy of many.

“Concerns about life expectancy have been raised by academics at least twice in 2017, and twice the [Department of Health’s] responses have been disappointing, even attacking the researchers involved,” they wrote in the article for the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Fingers are being pointed at other countries such as Scandinavia and Japan, where life expectancies continue to grow.

There are a number of reasons being given for the lengthening of life expectancy in many areas with the improvement of healthcare and the lack of natural disasters and epidemics being cited as reasons why life expectancy is growing.

The researchers also flagged the growing gap in life expectancy for people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and areas.

Though researchers argue that eventually a plateau should eventually be reached we are “nowhere near that”, and the stagnating life expectancy in this country is the worst in Europe.

Though the government has admitted they think the socioeconomic disparities are cause for concern, they say that there is still improvement as a result of the money they have pumped into the NHS.