Jan 26

Advice To Make Your Home Safe For Someone With Alzheimer’s

Matthew

If you are getting ready to take on the role of caring for a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are a number of steps you should consider to ensure your home is a safe environment for them.

Channel3000 has offered some advice on what to prioritise and how to decide where to start with these changes.

The first thing to do is assess your home safety based on your loved one’s needs and condition. You need to think about whether they can still manage stairs, if they have fallen over recently, and how good their sight is, for instance.

Bathrooms are a good place to start, and there are a number of simple modifications that can make both of your lives easier.

Shower seating is advisable, as well as grab bars and a tap cover for your bath, as this can prevent them from injuring themselves if they slip while in the bath.

Making sure your floor is non-slip, as well as the shower tray or bath, is also essential to help reduce the risk of falls. Another tip is to ensure your water temperature isn’t too hot. Fitting thermostatic anti-scald valves or taps will limit the temperature of the hot water to a maximum of 48 degrees at the outlet.

You may also want to consider fitting childproof latches on cupboards where you store medication or cleaning products. The same goes for the kitchen, with the publication noting that it’s advisable to lock up potentially dangerous items like knives, matches and scissors, as well as cleaning chemicals.

Fitting safety knobs on the stove to prevent your loved one from accidentally turning it on is another sensible step to take.

Given that 520,000 people in the UK currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society, this advice could be useful for many people.

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.

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Oct 06

Home Adaptations ‘Could Save Councils Money’

Matthew

The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has called for councils to be able to raise money towards prevention measures through a two per cent precept on council tax in a bid to reduce social care bills.

LocalGov revealed that spending this money on options like home adaptations for the elderly could help alleviate some of the strain on the UK’s stretched health and social care services.

According to the DCN, by adapting 100,000 homes to meet the needs of the elderly, districts could save the NHS £69 for every pound they spend on the modifications.

This could include installing shower seating, bath lifts or anti-slip flooring to help reduce the risk of falls. Councillor John Fuller, DCN chairman, explained that a number of things could make a difference to reducing the number of people entering the social care system.

Fall prevention is one, but so too is improving home insulation and heating, as well as wider access to leisure and recreation services.

He stressed that district councils need to be given the resources to cover the cost of these kinds of preventative measures “if we are to reduce pressures on the NHS and stop people from entering the social care system unnecessarily”.

Last month, a survey of 101 MPs by Independent Age found that 90 per cent believe the current social care system in the UK is not fit for purpose. A cross-party consensus is required if the country is to tackle these issues and work towards a long-term solution, the charity suggested.

Feb 13

Disabled Access To Train Toilets Set To Be Improved

Matthew

Access to toilets on trains and in stations around the UK for disabled people is currently being improved, as part of the government’s Access for All programme that has thus far seen more than 150 stations upgraded in a bid to remove barriers to independent travel – which has included installing ramps, lifts and new signs.

Paul Maynard, rail minister, was spurred on to meet with representatives from the rail industry after British Paralympic wheelchair racer Anne Wafula Strike highlighted the issue.

The 42-year-old – who has an MBE for services to disability sport and is also a member of the board of UK Athletics – spoke out back in January about an experience that she said “completely robbed her of her dignity”. During a three-hour train journey on a service without an accessible toilet, Ms Wafula Strike was forced to wet herself on the train – covering her face with her hoodie in order to prevent anyone from recognising her.

As a result of Mr Maynard’s meeting with senior industry reps, clearer information will now be provided before journeys are made about the availability of accessible toilets, while staff training will also come under scrutiny in the near future.

Stephen Whittle, professor of equalities law at Manchester Law School, has just penned a letter in the Guardian calling for it to be a legal requirement for all toilets outside the house to be accessible by the year 2025. He went on to add that rail companies have no excuse for not offering accessible facilities, as it is simply down to service and having enough cleaning staff.

For advice and help when buying shower seating, get in touch today.

Nov 11

Winter Weather Warning For Elderly Brits

Matthew

There’s been much talk of snow here in the UK over the last couple of days and while it may not have materialised properly just yet, it’s a safe bet to assume that it’s well on its way.

In fact, The Met Office has just launched this year’s Get Ready for Winter campaign to help make people more aware of the dangers that come with wintry weather… and it seems that an awareness campaign is just what we all need, given the fact that 23 per cent apparently do nothing at all to prepare for freezing temperatures.

“Severe winter weather can have a terrible impact on communities and wreak havoc on people’s day-to-day lives. That is why we’ve provided almost £300 million to areas that were badly affected last year,” Andrew Percy, communities minister, said.

The Met Office is now calling on people to check on elderly relatives on a regular basis to see how they’re doing now that it’s cold outside. While some 26 per cent of Brits do already do this, there does seem to be quite a bit of room for improvement in this regard.

According to Age UK statistics, one person dies needlessly every seven minutes each winter, so for your own peace of mind make sure that you do pay a visit to vulnerable friends and family this season so you know that everyone is doing ok.

Also check that they are maintaining their homes at the proper temperature – this should be about 21 degrees C in the main living room and then around 18 degrees C in the rest of the house.

To find out more about shower seating, call us at Practical Bathing today.