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There is a distinct chill in the air and leaves are beginning to turn a wonderful russet colour so we must be right on the cusp of autumn, in the northern hemisphere at least! The onset of winter can be a challenging time for our senior loved ones, particularly those who live independently, because a change in the weather means some basic preparations will be necessary. At this time of the year, a little help will go a long way towards making sure your loved one can remain comfortable and happy no matter what mother-nature throws their way. I have put together a short checklist of things that need to be addressed. Whether you instigate or merely make suggestions and offer assistance and guidance is entirely…

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I think, by now, that we all know that we need to keep ourselves fit and healthy, both mentally and physically for many reasons, but how do we ensure that we remain active as we age? After all, many of us find running and cycling out of the question and even walking can be painful, particularly if we have aching joints and weak muscles. One thing we can all do is swim because water helps to support our weaker areas and enables us to exercise more areas of our body than a thorough workout at the gym can even achieve. Not only does swimming exercise our bodies, it also helps our mental health too. Here are a few good reasons to take up swimming: Swimming is…

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Keeping fit and healthy is vital as we age, both for our mental and physical well being, but it can, of course, be more challenging to remain active when our bodies start to feel the pressure of old age. The good news is that recent studies have shown that a great way to thwart any decline is simply to dance. Thankfully we don’t all have to become budding ballroom dancers or master the Merengue to enjoy and benefit from this excellent form of exercise. It’s absolutely still of benefit to just lose yourself in some great music and shake your booty. So why is dancing so great? Here are three excellent reasons: Physical Fitness Regular dancing can help to maintain a healthy weight which in turn…

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Finding love in later life is a bit of a tricky subject for some people. I know lots of really kind hearted and wonderful people who have lost their loved ones and would absolutely love to find that close companionship again but are fearful of offending family members. At the other end of the scale, several of my friends actually enjoy the freedom of being single in later life and feel no desire to pursue love. According to statistics the largest percentage increase in marriage was for people between the ages of 65 and 69 which would suggest that there are certainly plenty of people who are looking for, and actually finding, love in later life. Feeling loved by another person is very important for everyone’s…

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Mobile phones are viewed as an essential tool in the modern world. We use them for almost everything from taking photographs through to keeping ourselves abreast of current events and catching up with friends and family on social media. I even use mine as a spirit level on occasion! For older people, they can be a vital line of communication; a way of staying in touch with family and friends on a daily basis and as reassurance that they can reach help should it become necessary. Unfortunately, not everyone finds mobile phones easy to use. Your loved one could be from an older generation who are mistrustful of modern technology, they may feel nervous about learning the correct functions or simply find it hard to see…

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The modern world can be a very strange place to grow up in, with many children spending much of their free time watching life on a screen or growing up in a virtual world, talking on social media with people they don’t really know in the real world. Spending time talking to and playing with older adults can help to alleviate some of the more negative influences of technology and bring reality back into their lives whilst also giving them a sense of purpose. The benefits of Intergenerational relationships for the young Talking to adults can help the young to develop essential life skills: The ability to converse, listen and empathise – all important skills which will help during the journey to adulthood. To recognise mood…

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Life has changed dramatically over the past century, including within family groups and relationships. The traditional version of the close knit nuclear family is becoming a historical factor rather than a fact in the modern world. Clearly, life evolves over the years and traditional values can’t exactly be expected to remain the same forever. In fact, we can celebrate some obvious improvements in the accepted diversity within families, but unfortunately, there are some areas of family life that seem to have suffered immensely from some of the changes.   Intergenerational relationships are one area, in particular, that appear to have diminished during the past several decades. Seeing extended families living under the one roof or even in the same geographical area seems to be a relatively…

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Can you imagine suddenly suffering from something that feels very much like a particularly extreme panic attack?   Unfortunately, a Ménière’s attack can occur in exactly that way with no warning and, until diagnosis, no way of knowing what on earth has hit you! So what exactly is Ménière’s Disease Ménière’s Disease is a chronic degenerative disorder of the inner ear. The symptoms usually strike suddenly at random and manifest as attacks which can last anything from a few minutes up to as long as 24 hours and every single person’s experience is different. Nobody seems to know what actually causes it and there is currently no known cure. Medication provides very limited long-term relief and surgery, although a cure for vertigo, usually results in permanent deafness….

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Most of us have long been aware that spending time outdoors is good for our wellbeing but increasingly human beings seem to spend more and more time inside staring at a screen rather than going outside and enjoying the benefits of fresh air and open spaces. Our obsession with spending time indoors seems to be becoming more prevalent as we head towards our senior years. It could be that as our body’s age we find ourselves less mobile so we tend to relax in a chair in front of the TV rather than dashing around exercising etc. Yet this is the time of our life when we have more time to enjoy the outdoors and gain heaps more health benefits, which can only be a positive…

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As we grow older there is a multitude of reasons to take care of both our physical and psychological selves in order to live a long, enjoyable and healthy life. But for many people, growing old can mean years of loneliness; not everyone has a family to fall back on for companionship and increasingly our friends and colleagues could be diminishing over the years leaving us feeling a little lost and alone in the world. However much we exercise and maintain a healthy diet, these things alone will not keep us happy and healthy mentally. However, there could be a solution that would suit many people because new research suggests a firm link between pet ownership and various health issues, both physical and mental. Below you…

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Actually accepting that you might need help is a difficult thing for anyone to come to terms with and openly admitting it can be problematic in old age. Most of our elderly folk have managed a lifetime of independence leaving them feeling like they are giving in too easily when they start to feel that they are unable to manage alone. The responsibility of realising that our loved ones are not managing as well as they had previously usually falls to family members. So how would you recognise the signs that an ageing loved one may need more support than they are currently getting? There are a few key changes to watch out for in your elderly relatives: Sleeping for most of the day Difficulty keeping…

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During the summer months, one of the best parts is having the lovely warm weather to relax in and enjoy. However, dealing with a sudden and unexpected heatwave can be difficult, particularly when we are in our senior years; because the older we get the harder it is to regulate our temperature. Unfortunately, when the body gets too hot we can succumb to hyperthermia (not to be confused with hypothermia which literally means the opposite) which could result in life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke. Here are a few key symptoms to look out for: Dry skin with no sweat Nausea or vomiting Headaches Fainting Breathing difficulties Moody behaviour If you do notice any of these signs, in yourself or in a friend/companion, it’s time to…

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Long term commitment to an elderly loved one can become very stressful, resulting in you feeling exhausted and depressed. Caring is often a relentless and intensive task with seemingly no respite. For this very reason, many long term carers suffer symptoms of burnout without even realising it. Caregiver burnout is physical, emotional, and mental fatigue that is often accompanied by a change in attitude. These are the signs to look out for: Long-term ailments Stress can wreak havoc with your immune system. Illnesses that last longer than they usually would are a sure sign of a compromised immune system.   Getting sick more often. If you seem to be catching tummy bugs and colds frequently this is a sign of stress – take particular note if…

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As we get older our bones are likely to be much more fragile than they were when we were in our prime. Unfortunately, having weaker bones in our lower limbs can often seriously affect our ability to keep ourselves upright on our legs, making us far less steady. This coupled with the fact that our sense of balance and eyesight often deteriorates, means we are much more likely to take a tumble in our senior years. Add the weakened bones back into the mix and falls can leave us on the floor, sometimes with an injury to boot, and with no real way of knowing how to get back up on our own. It makes good sense to learn how to get ourselves back into some…

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Somehow even the most responsible and organised of people tend to stick their head in the sand when it comes to considering and then planning for their golden years. Yet in the modern world it may be one of the most important things to plan for. Medical advances have certainly increased life expectancy but one of the negative aspects of living to a ripe old age is the likelihood of experiencing a longer period of either physical or mental decline towards the end of our lives. Not too long ago families tended to care for their elderly at home, with multi-generational homes relatively common, so there seemed to be little need to worry about how you would cope in your senior years. Unfortunately, studies show that…

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Inevitably we are all going to get older but unfortunately, for many of us ageing appears to go hand in hand with becoming increasingly forgetful. For many of us, there seems to be an ever-present nagging concern in the back of our minds that we may have more than just a few memory lapses. I, for one, have often entered a room only to find I don’t actually have a clue what I went in there for. I even opened my fridge once to find my iron perched on the top shelf; I know I must have put it there because I’m the only person in this household who actually knows how to operate an iron! The question we should all be asking ourselves way before…

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Unfortunately, coronary heart disease (CHD) is the biggest killer in the UK, with around 73,000 deaths per year according to nhs.uk. CHD basically refers to the narrowing or blocking of your arteries which supply the blood to the heart and is caused by a gradual build-up of fatty deposits inside your arteries. Certain people will be more at risk of developing the disease than others: If you have a family history of heart disease – for example, if a parent or a sibling had CHD or a stroke (Under 65 for women or under 55 for men). Age-related – the likelihood of CHD increases as you grow older Men are more prone to developing CHD at an earlier age than women Given these factors, it would…

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Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is one of the keys to remaining fit and many of the delicious foods we eat can actually help to strengthen your immune system! If you are hoping to avoid a bout of the flu or an early summer cold now that the warmer weather is on its way, you could actually up your intake of the following foods to boost your immunity and hopefully avoid some of the nasty bugs which always seem to hang around at this time of the year… Citrus fruits – Vitamin C is thought to help with the production of white blood cells, which are the key to fighting infection. Your body cannot produce or store Vitamin C, so a daily orange, grapefruit or…

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If you provide any ongoing help or support to someone, whether it be ageing parents, a partner with health issues or a child with a disability, you are a caregiver. As such it is likely that you will be in need of some coping strategies to help you deal with the multitude of emotions that you are likely to wade through every single day. Although caring for someone can be a very rewarding experience, it can also be demanding and draining too. We may acknowledge the positive emotions that we go through, as caregivers, but are we as equally open about the negative emotions we may be feeling? The following are just a tiny example of the emotional rollercoaster most carers go through every single day:…

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Coping with your loved one when they are suffering from dementia is possibly one of the hardest things that anyone will ever go through. In all of its various guises it is a condition which affects the brain, is progressive and is likely to gradually change your loved one into a barely recognised facsimile of themselves. Some days will be good but others could be worse than bad with mood swings, personality changes and challenging behavioural problems. So how do you learn to cope with your loved one’s dementia? A few tips which may help you to deal with some of the changes: Learn as much about the disease as possible – You will be better prepared to deal with future challenges. Try to retain your…

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