May 14

Older People With Moderate Needs Waiting Longer For Care

Matthew

Older people with what are termed ‘moderate needs’ – such as those who could be at risk of a fall or of becoming malnourished – are waiting too long to receive the care and support they need.

The Independent highlighted the findings of a report by the Commons Public Account Committee (PAC), which stated that those who have the greatest need are being prioritised when it comes to arranging care packages, leaving those in moderate need to wait too long for their care.

The news provider noted that, should these people then be admitted to hospital because of a preventable fall or other health complication, this is likely to cost more money than providing the care they needed initially to remain in their own homes.

Age UK has stated that 1.2 million older people in the country currently have unmet care needs, giving an indication of the scale of the problem.

Part of this may be assessing the home environment and helping people to make changes, such as installing easy access showers to make their home safer and enable them to continue to carry out certain tasks for themselves.

Earlier this year, Age UK stressed the importance of helping more older people get active and remain mobile.

The charity noted that dancing is particularly good exercise, because it not only helps keep people healthy and active, but also reduces their risk of suffering from a fall at home. According to its figures, one in ten people over the age of 65 are regularly dancing in the UK.

The organisation also noted that dance classes are more popular and engaging than traditional fall prevention programmes, as well as being a great way to improve the mental wellbeing of those who participate.

May 02

Empty Nesters Improving Homes Rather Than Moving

Matthew

More and more people are choosing to stay put when their children move out of home rather than downsizing.

That’s the finding of a survey by Lloyds Bank, which revealed that 45 per cent of empty nesters in the UK are not intending to move, but instead plan to stay where they are and make changes to their family home.

In some instances, this involves repurposing a child’s bedroom into something like a home office or a hobby room, while others have taken the opportunity to carry out wider home improvements.

Kitchens and bathrooms were found to be the rooms that people were most likely to upgrade, with 43 per cent of those who stayed in the family home stating that they’d carried out some kind of home improvement since their children left.

Upgrading a bathroom is a good idea, and it’s worth thinking about how you can future-proof that space when you do so. Installing easy access showers, for instance, is simple and can still look very stylish, but means that as you age you don’t have to worry about how you will get in and out of the shower.

Thinking about how you can design your home so that it adapts with you as you age is very sensible, and can allow you to make changes gradually rather than having to splash out on big alterations later in life.

Smart technology for the home is something else worth considering, as this can be especially useful for monitoring your safety in your home. There is an ever-growing range of devices that you can install to help with everything from lighting and heating controls, to keeping track of your movements and alerting help if you have a fall or become ill.

Apr 26

How To Design A Home That Adapts As You Age

Matthew

With people moving home less frequently than in the past there is a need for properties that can adapt as we age, ensuring that we’re able to continue living in the same homes well into our old age.

The Daily Mail has highlighted an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, which explores the idea of homes that can adapt as you get older and your needs change.

It is taking the idea of flexible living to a whole new level, reconfiguring a space of 1,000 square feet from a home designed for roommates to one that can accommodate a multigenerational family, and finally a home for a retired couple.

Lisa Blecker, marketing director at Resource Furniture, told the newspaper that one of the main things people should take away from the exhibition is the idea that you should think about the future when making changes to your home.

“If you’re planning to renovate or reconfigure your home, it’s essential to think about the long-term opportunities for flexibility in years to come,” she stated.

With technology evolving rapidly, there is a lot to consider. Speaking to Crawley News 24 recently, spokesperson for The Southern Homebuilding and Renovating Show Michael Holmes said that smart technology is going to become increasingly important in households of all kinds.

From security and lighting to smart clothes that can monitor your health, there are constantly new innovations coming up. For those who have reduced mobility, this kind of technology could be especially useful in terms of monitoring their safety in spaces like the bathroom or kitchen.

Installing easy access showers can enable people to live independently for longer, and having a system that also monitors their safety in these spaces could also help alleviate worry and ensure that people are able to remain in their own homes for longer.

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.

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 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.  

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 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.

Nov 14

What Funding Is Available For Home Adaptations?

Matthew

As we get older, our bodies will naturally change and we’ll become more prone to accidents at home – which is why it pays to be prepared and make the necessary adaptations to our houses to cater for our evolving needs.

But how do you go about paying for these renovations and is there funding available? If you find you do need support with daily living because you’re disabled, have a long-term health condition or are elderly you can get in touch with your local authority to have a care needs assessment.

The amount of money you can get to help will depend on whether you need major or minor adaptations. Minor changes include hand rails in the bathroom or lever taps on sinks, while major alterations would be something like widening doorways, bringing the worktops in your kitchen down or installing easy access showers downstairs.

According to the Money Advice Service, if you live in England your local authority will typically provide you with small adaptations that cost under £1,000 and other disability equipment free of charge if you’re eligible and have been assessed as requiring it.

You’re also able to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if your council has decided that the work being carried out is appropriate for your needs and is necessary. The maximum amount for those living in England is £30,000 – but be mindful that the grants are means-tested so any income and savings you or your partner have will also be taken into account. Charities such as The ACT Foundation may also be able to help with funds.

Nov 02

Slips, Trips and Falls ‘Can Happen To Anyone’ In The Home

Matthew

The importance of easy access showers and other bathroom safety features has been made clearer than ever, as a fresh report has revealed that slips, trips and falls can happen to just about anybody in the home.

Reuters reported on a new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine revealing that people of all ages are being taken to A&E for sprains, strains, fractures and bumps.

However, older people, younger children and women were reported to be more likely to be seen by a doctor in the emergency department than other demographics.

Indeed, pensioners over the age of 85, children under three and young adults in their 20s had the highest injury rates, but over two-thirds of visitors to A&E were a mix of ages between 11 and 60.

Senior author of the report Dr Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, said: “Stairs are a common source of injury among all ages and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing.”

As well as stairs, slippery floor surfaces and loose rugs and carpets were identified as major hazards.

The study found that power grip facilities around the home, which allow people to grab a rail more securely, reduce more severe injuries in falls.

Myfox8 recently reported that regular eye tests and exercising can help prevent accidents around the home by keeping your peepers in the best condition to spot hazards, and to keep reflexes and muscles toned. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to dealing with injuries around the home.