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elderly-care

Winter is a very difficult time for the elderly and their caregivers. In fact, it is during the Christmas holiday period that older people are most at risk of falling ill or having an accident, yet this is also a period during which they can be lonely due to reduced mobility, health conditions that preventing them from travelling, or having no direct relatives to turn to. 

Elderly loneliness at Christmas

This is why it's important to ensure that you pay particular attention to the elderly during this holiday period, whether you are a caregiver, a family member, or simply a friend.

So how can you prevent loneliness of the elderly and take care of them? In this blog post, we have put together some advice for carers to help reduce the risk of accidents and bad health during this time of the year, to allow this period to be merry for all.

Accounting for reduced mobility

Often, older people being cared for do not need your help too much, are quite independent and very active. By all accounts, they’re almost completely self-sufficient.  

Come Christmas time, this can change drastically. 

One of the biggest problems the elderly can face during Christmas is mobility. Whether it’s frosty walkways or slippery paves, these are big dangers for the elderly which reduces their mobility and independence, making it a lot more challenging for them to run errands, visit relatives or friends, or just exercise. From the caregiver's perspective, this risk of injury as well as reduced independence can cause a lot of stress and worry. 

Besides the actual risk of slipping or falling, there’s the fear of having a fall, causing older people to not be as confident when going out or even putting off doing so, which can then sometimes lead to malnourishment or loneliness. This is often because they would know of friends who have had bad falls, and a rational fear of being injured. 

Making sure your loved ones have appropriate footwear is a good start. Nothing heavy like hiking boots but preferably walking shoes or good trainers that will help give their feet traction when on slippery or icy grounds. If your loved one uses a walking frame, that will certainly give them more support, if they don’t, recommend that for the Christmas period they start using a walking stick to enhance their stability. 

If you know that your loved one’s drive or pavement does get frosty during cold weather, next time you visit them, salt or sand their drive to minimise the risks and encourage them to go out.

Ensuring that older people keep warm

Keeping warm is an important concern for the elderly, as catching a cold this time of year could lead to pneumonia or other illnesses that could be life threatening due to weaker immune systems. It is also one of caregivers’ biggest concerns, especially as they can’t be with them constantly. 

One piece of advice is to make sure your loved ones wear warm clothes and possibly heating. 
Take them on a shopping trip to buy some suitable clothes for the winter. It is also worth thinking about getting windproof and waterproof items to protect them from the winter weather.

Also ensure you check that their central heating is working as they probably wouldn’t go through the process of hiring a repairman, whom may also be short-staffed over Christmas.

Visiting and checking up regularly

Christmas is the busiest time of the year and your loved ones could feel, as you’re trying to get everything ready and organised, isolated and forgotten. Caregivers experience this struggle to finding time every year, trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones. During such a festive period, loneliness and isolation can be felt more intensely, yet by not wanting to “burden” anyone, older people might restrain from reaching out if they do.

Regular phone calls can really help prevent such a feeling, and setting them up with a basic tablet to be able to video call them can truly help them feel included if they can’t be with you. The latter can be more challenging, but it can really reassure them and avoid isolation. 

If you are unable to go visit someone you usually care for throughout the year during the Christmas holidays, you could look at home care services such as social companionship. It is a type of care service providing a companion, friend and carer to your loved one. This type of home care service enables your loved one to remain fully independent, whilst also reassuring you that they are well and not alone.

For more information about the different home care services available from Sova Healthcare, and to further discuss your needs and requirements, you can download our brochure or get in touch with a member of our friendly team.
Elderly care

Elderly care can be very challenging, the line between adequate care, attentive support and independence being very thin and sometimes delicate. When caring for the elderly, we can all do our bit to ensure that independence is being promoted. A recent article in the Guardian suggested that few in the UK feel older people have a good quality of life. According to Age UK, nearly 900,000 older people now have unmet needs for social care. With the proportion of older people in the country due to rise from 23% to 28% and the number of those aged 85+ set to double by 2030, we have a joint responsibility as a population to promote quality of life for older people and ensure that we are avoiding negative stereotyping and casual ageism.

This is why our various home care services can be adapted to every single client's personal needs and requirements, ensuring that older clients receive the quality of care that they deserve. At Sova Healthcare, we also ensure that all staff are compliant with Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Disclosed Barring Service (DBS) procedures, and that all of our care services are defined by providing the best quality of life for everyone regardless of age, gender, disability or illness. Likewise, we all have an individual responsibility to look out, care for, support and assist elderly people as much as we can whilst respecting their independence.

In doing so, here are a few aspects to consider and take into account when engaging with older people:

Older people can be lonely

Loneliness is a key factor when considering quality of life. Now considered a serious public health issue, isolation has been proven to impact blood pressure and is closely linked to depression. Helping limit isolation can help improve an older person's quality of life, while enabling them to remain in the comfort of their own home. Community initiatives are helping to tackle loneliness for those who do not necessarily have any family nearby to see, but likewise, many of us are able to have a positive impact on an older person's life by spending valuable social time with them. Your spare time can be a source of vital companionship and emotional support. Alternatively, we can also provide companionship care services, helping older people to manage their everyday tasks whilst also keeping them company.

Allowing for independence

If you are caring for an older person, promotion of independence is key to not only quality of life but also to their morale. Often, losing your independence can lead to compensative voluntary isolation, and sometimes even depression. Being supportive and caring is key, and yet not being overpowering or overbearing can really help to promote independence. Considering when you don't necessarily need to assist can not only help mobility but also remind older people that they are still independent and respected. For example, an able older person can often complete simple household tasks, and allowing for this ensures that they are not being made to feel fully dependent and therefore maintain their regular physical activities and morale.

Respecting, nurturing and valuing relationships

Maintaining the promotion of independence as integral to your relationship will naturally raise an older person's quality of life. Some older people may be reluctant, but if you can make someone feel respected and let them know that you are still seeing them as individuals, they will often be instilled with a sense of pride and a heightened sense of identity.

Ensuring that care needs are met

Allowing for independence is crucial, but you also need to make sure that care needs are being met, notably with recent concerns. An older person might decide to opt for domiciliary care services rather than going to a care home, simply to as to remain in the comfort of their own home and preserve their independence. This is a great decision - if the quality of the care services is adequate.

This is why we at Sova Healthcare strive to offer a wide range of home care services, such as night care services for the most independent. Indeed, we assess each situation based purely on an older person's needs, and there are a variety of enhanced care options available, such as assisted living, home care, and Alzheimer's and dementia care services.

If you are looking for specialist elderly care services, or if you would simply like more information, get in touch with one of our branches, email us, or call a member of our friendly team on 0800 688 8866.