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Men's Health Week

Men's Health Week 2014 specifically focused on health in relation to work, unemployment and stress, as health issues have been increasingly noticed following hardship brought upon men as a consequence of the recession, and issue which was far too often overlooked.

This year, healthy living for men will be the main focus of Men's Health Week, taking place from the 15th to the 21st June 2015. Promoting a healthier lifestyle and aiming to increase awareness of specific diseases, illnesses, and conditions related to unhealthy habits often showcased by men (such as excessive drinking, eating, smoking, and a reluctance towards routine check-ups and consultations), this week will be challenging men to change their routines for healthier alternatives.

Indeed, smoking, drinking, and food overconsumption are likely to lead to serious diseases, notably heart diseases and strokes which are more prone to developing. Although women are more prone certain illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's, heart problems in particular are increasingly experienced by men due to the laxer diet that is often permitted due to the common stereotypical belief that it is feminine and 'womanly' to watch your weight, and metrosexual to take care of your body.

Yet most fail to realise that with good life hygiene and a nutritious diet comes a strong immune system, health, and thus stability. The reluctance to consult when ill or injured is also a common behaviour observed in men, most likely due to a social pressure to display what is thought of as 'manliness', fighting diseases and showing strength and endurance as associated with a prehistoric basic hunting instinct that tells us to fight nature and battle the elements whilst striving for survival.

"Men are less aware of their symptoms than women, and are more reluctant to seek help" says Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum. In fact, a study by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) showed that men are less likely to seek medical advice or face-to-face treatments from pharmacists when ill, as well as being less willing to access NHS services than women, which can sometimes have devastating consequences.

As a result of this reluctance to seek medical advice or treatment, men are less likely to access disease screening or seek professional advice that will help them to shift towards healthier lifestyle alternatives (such as support plans to stop smoking). Unfortunately, this behaviour can lead to late diagnoses of serious conditions, and prevent adequate treatment from being prescribed as a preventative measure.

Indeed, this also continues through retirement, and notably when it comes to having to make the decision of whether constant care is required or whether home care services would be more appropriate. In light of an inherent need for independence (related to this need to identify with 'hunters'), men are often very reticent to the idea of a nursing home. Whilst we want to make sure that every single one of our clients receives the best and most appropriate care for their condition, we also strive to respect the choices and preferences of our clients, which is why we will always do our very best to provide the most supportive home care services for as long as possible.

This is why we provide a variety of domiciliary care services, from social companionship for emotional support to live-in care services when need be. We want to give men the chance to have their preferences made possible, whilst comprehensively helping them to remain as healthy as possible to enjoy the company of their loved ones.

Men's Health Week is therefore a great opportunity to raise awareness of such behaviours and trends whilst learning about the healthier lifestyles that are available. Father's Day also being almost upon us, remember to take care of your loved ones, and help them to look after their health as a preventative measure by offering them an essentially useful Health Manual.

Working hand in hand, lets make sure that all men realise the importance of their health and increase their sensibility when it comes to attending NHS check-ups and seeking adequate medical help or treatment.

For more information about the home care services that we offer and to discuss your needs and requirements, call us on 0800 688 8866 and get in touch with a member of our friendly team. Together, we can make sure that men get the support they need and deserve.
Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health is becoming increasingly important, and that's why Mental Health Awareness Week provides such a wonderful opportunity to educate individuals about mental health conditions, including how to deal with them in your own life, and how to help others feeling their effects.

Mental Health Week is an initiative organised by the Mental Health Foundation aimed at raising awareness about mental health, along with looking into possible causes and treatment options. Since the event started in 2000, it has helped to create more engagement around the subject of mental health, and generated public debates on a variety of topic areas. This year's theme is 'Mindfulness', and aims to teach people about how our actions can change our emotional reaction to different events. By using techniques such as meditation, breathing, and yoga, mindfulness can empower individuals to have more control over their emotions, and their impact on their mental health.

Mental health issues are more common than you may think, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem every year in the UK. Indeed, in early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, symptoms often remain unrecognised for a while, hence preventing people affected from getting adequate care services. This is why awareness of these illnesses is crucial, not only in educating friends and families about spotting the symptoms, but in making sure you or your loved ones receive adequate help and support. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the elderly population are also particularly vulnerable, with 1 in 5 experiencing mental health problems while living in the community, and a staggering 2 in 5 experiencing mental health issues while in a care home.

If you want to get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week, there are lots of events going on all over the country - visit the MentalHealth.org.uk site to sign up, receive updates about the initiative, and find out what's happening in your local area.

Receiving health care can be a difficult transition for those who have always lived independent lives, but at Sova Healthcare, we understand just how important mental health is to wellbeing, and that's why our care plans are tailored around individual customers, in order to give them the best quality of life possible. Our flexible approach means we can provide customers with true companionship and friendly assistance to enable them to live the life they've always known, allowing the best possible care experience.

To find out more about our tailored health care packages, please call us on 0800 688 8866, or contact us for more information.
Alzheimer's

There’s no denying that Alzheimer’s can have a terrible impact on the lives of sufferers and their loved ones, and with diagnosis rates steadily rising, management of the disease is now more important than ever. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimers, but, as its prevalence continues to increase, notably with the aging of the baby boomers generation, research has been stepped up, and it looks as though there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel.

A new study, published in the journal of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in February 2015, claims that to have found a way of stopping Alzheimer’s in its tracks, which could lead to the development of a new drug which would have the ability to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, when taken in the earliest stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s is caused by the formation of plaques in the brain, which hamper nerve cells and interfere with brain function. However, the research revealed that the use of a certain molecule, found naturally in human lungs, can halt this process, and prevent the creation of more plaques.There is still some way to go before this research can be used to develop a drug, but nonetheless, this discovery could lead to a preventative treatment for potentially millions of individuals, allowing them to lead normal lives well into old age.

Another recent study, reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine in March 2015, was conducted by scientists from the University of Queensland, and explored the use of ultrasound to restore brain function in mice with Alzheimer’s. Ultrasound was used to remove the abnormal clumps of brain proteins caused by the disease, and the mice showed a 50% reduction in the amount of plaques following 5-7 weeks’ of treatment, which allowed them to regain lost brain activity. Again this research is in its early stages, but the results on mice were promising, and this will lead to medical trials of the treatment in humans over the next few years. 

Finally, some research from Duke University in North Carolina, published in the Journal of Neuroscience in April 2015, claims to have shed light on the cause of Alzheimer’s which could lead to a whole new wave of treatment options. The study revealed that when Alzheimer’s takes hold, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead start to consume an important brain nutrient called arginine, which leads to the suppression of the immune system. By blocking this process with a drug (DFMO), the team observed that plaques were prevented from forming in the brains of mice, leaving neurological function unaffected.

Currently Alzheimer’s and dementia affect more than 830,000 people in the UK alone, so the ramifications of these discoveries are very far reaching indeed. However, although these results are promising, treatment remains some way off, and even with significant advances in research, it will still be a number of years before any medication will be available to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s.

At Sova Healthcare we know the life changing consequences that this cruel illness can have, and that’s why we’re dedicated to offering a care package which is entirely tailored to you, to help make things a little easier. We will work with you and your loved ones to develop a unique care plan, and we can provide as much, or as little assistance as you require. 

If you’d like to find out more about care available for Alzheimer’s sufferers, please visit our dedicated Alzheimer’s Home Care page, or contact us to talk through your requirements with a friendly member of our team.

Photograph by Bev Sykes.
Over one million people have now signed up to The Alzheimer's Society's groundbreaking 'Dementia Friends' initiative.

Dementia Friends

The programme originally launched two years ago, and it aims to educate the general public on what dementia is, how to spot the symptoms, and how to help those suffering from the illness, in order to eradicate the fear and isolation felt by many with the disease. The plan is working towards creating 'dementia friendly communities' with support networks across the country.

Although there are an estimated 720,000 people suffering from dementia in England alone, many have not been diagnosed. Prime Minister David Cameron has called it "one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime", and the government has announced that it will be providing more than £300m to tackle dementia during the next parliament.

If you'd like to sign up to become a Dementia Friend, you can join the initiative here.

Learn how to spot the signs of dementia.

Do you know someone with the following symptoms?

  • Memory loss, especially problems with remembering recent events
  • Increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require organisation and planning
  • Becoming confused in unfamiliar environments
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Depression

How can Sova Healthcare help those suffering from dementia?

Dementia can be a very challenging condition to care for. Sufferers, and their friends and family, can be put under a lot of strain, so it is of vital importance that the right help is received. At Sova Healthcare, we understand that every case of dementia is unique, and that it will affect you and your family in different ways. This is why our specialist care package is tailored to individuals, so you can be sure that your personal requirements will be taken into account. Our highly trained and experienced carers will provide compassionate and sensitive care for those with dementia in their own homes, allowing them to retain their independence for as long as possible.

If you would like to find out more about our services, please visit our dementia care page, or contact us for more information.
There's no denying that more of us are now reaching old age than ever before - while this rise in life expectancy is thanks to excellent advances in medical technology and education, the knock-on effect is an increased strain on the NHS. With the post-war baby boom generation now already beginning to retire, our care system is about to face a strain like never before.


The Integral Foundation has projected that, by 2018, the proportion of over-65s in the UK will have risen by around 2 million, which at current funding levels will mean that spending per patient will have to fall by 9% to cover the increase in demand from this generation. When Simon Stevens, the current Chief Executive of the NHS, joined the organisation in 2014, he admitted that "service pressures are intensifying, and long-standing problems are not going to disappear overnight".

With this reality looming, more and more people will need to look to independent social care or healthcare to support both themselves and elderly relatives and to ensure thorough, high-quality care. While the NHS is undoubtedly a fantastic institution, and the envy of many countries around the world, the reality is that, with increasing demands, it can no longer offer a service which is tailored to its patients. Although NHS funded care homes are available, they are often oversubscribed, and of variable quality.

At Sova Healthcare, we adapt our care to you. We offer a wide variety of different service options, but we always take into account any special needs or requirements you may have in order to provide truly personal care. Our staff are all highly qualified and receive specific training and experience to enable them to perform their job to the high standards that we expect, and our customers deserve.

Although all our services are available privately, funding support is available if you require it. Your local authority may be able to help finance some or all of your care costs - simply contact your social services department to find out more. We are also one of only a handful of healthcare providers to offer an appointeeship service, which allows vulnerable adults and the elderly to receive financial help and guidance to enable them to live independently.

If you'd like to find out more about how Sova Healthcare could help you, or an elderly friend or relative, please get in touch with us today to talk through your requirements, or visit our FAQ page to find out more.