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We can all feel a bit listless as the winter draws in. Cold rainy weather and short days can leave us feeling a little glum, and when looking for sources of comfort it can be easy to overlook how incredibly rewarding the act of supporting older people around us can be. In fact, practising kindness, from small gestures within your community to giving in a big way by volunteering or sharing your space with those in need, can deliver huge benefits not only for those you help but for your own mental well-being too. The act of giving can be connected to reducing stress, boosting immunity, combating depression and increasing self esteem, not to mention that actively engaging with helping others can be fantastically stimulating –…

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Are you tired of colouring your hair to cover greys? The habit is an expensive one and, while I’m all for investing in our appearances in the name of self expression, I have a bone to pick with feeling under pressure to look like something that doesn’t express our true essence. We should feel free to be our beautiful selves, representing how we feel on the inside in whatever form that might take! A few years ago I began noticing a local woman with the most extraordinary silver hair. I would see her in the grocery store, queuing at the bank and in the park on Sunday. She was an older woman with extraordinary beauty and grace and it was impossible to guess her age. The…

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“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen   Most of us have at some point experienced the loss of a loved one and wished that in the time we had we’d asked more questions, been more inquisitive about their youth, their passions, the lessons they learned and the things they saw. Why then, do we hesitate to see the value in our own stories? It’s easy to imagine that in this big world our experiences are insignificant, but in reality human beings thrive on stories. It is those intimate, personal tales that inspire and mould us, especially if they help us build a sense of our origins and heritage. For these reasons, writing your memoirs is one of the greatest…

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Ancient philosophers knew that human beings are social by nature millennia ago, so why is it so common that we allow ourselves to become more solitary and let loneliness creep in as we age? “Man is by nature a social animal” – Aristotle Interacting with a diverse community of people brings interest, stimulation and excitement, but with terms like “past their prime” and “over the hill” bouncing around in common vernacular, it’s not surprising that we might begin to drop our personal needs down the priority list in later life. I’m here to call “stop!” if you are experiencing loneliness. There is absolutely no reason why getting older should mean getting less out of life. You have so much to offer and so much to enjoy….

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Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a wonder-drug that could alleviate many of the aspects of ageing that brings us down? There is in fact such a thing, but it doesn’t come in a medication box. The answer lies instead in a furry form!  You might be surprised to learn that there aren’t many things about getting older that an animal can’t help with. If you haven’t considered what a great addition a pet might be, take a look at the strong advantages a new four-legged member of the household could bring, and what to consider before taking the plunge.   Boosted Psychological Health Through Animal Affection As much as we look after our pet, they look after us too. There are few things more…

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There is a tipping point with elderly loved ones at which roles reverse. Rather than being the strong, independent person we’ve known throughout our lives they become someone who needs our support. If this person does not live close by you might feel powerless to help, but the good news is that there is in fact a great deal that you can offer as a long-distance care giver. Try to dispel any feelings of worry and follow this useful guide to take control of care for your long-distance loved one…   Get An Overview Of What Is Needed Get as much information as you can together about the condition of your loved one. What medications do they need to take? What day-to-day assistance do they require?…

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When visiting older friends or relatives we tend to see them as we always have – the independent, experienced and wise person who has advised us on so many occasions – but as those we care about get older it is important to tune in to warning signs that they may be becoming less able to manage alone. It might be our turn to help, or to take steps to ensure that those we value get access to the support they need.   Signs Of Confusion Early signs of dementia can be difficult to spot because they set in so slowly, but indicators of cognitive decline to watch out for are things like persistent memory lapses and having difficulty problem solving or in grasping basic concepts….

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It can be difficult to witness the signs of ageing in our parents and it can seem very intimidating to talk about it. Those who took care of us when we were young now begin to need support and we wonder how this transition will progress. With a little forethought and preparation we can make this transition much easier to manage.   Prepare for the Conversation Your first port of call in your supporting role is to research what options are available. The better informed you are, the more easily you can present options as your discussion about care evolves. Consider what services are available in your area, from simple help with chores via daily visits, through to full time at-home care options and residential care…

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Most of us can recall a night of disturbed sleep. You’ve been tossing and turning for hours. It’s 4am and you find yourself staring at the alarm clock while your mind spins over all sorts of things that should be left in place until morning! Sleep disturbances can be so very frustrating. In our senior years this can become a reoccurring problem and while your instinct might be to chalk it up to ageing, don’t be too hasty. Healthy sleep is deeply important for our well-being and sleep deprivation will likely have a cause and can certainly be addressed. When we sleep we are in fact entering into a cycle of different sleep stages. We will move between stages of lighter sleep, very deep sleep and…

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As you or your loved ones grow older, it important to keep in mind that the elderly are a demographic that is highly targeted by scams. Often in our later years we have savings, property and other assets which make us tempting targets for those with bad intentions. It is sad to think that we cannot always trust those around us, especially those who present themselves in a trustworthy way, but some cautious savvy can protect us from what can be a traumatic and costly experience. A scam refers to a type of fraud that can come in many forms, but ultimately describes a scheme in which a scammer or scammers will attempt to dupe or coerce their victim into volunteering money or personal information for…

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Early Onset Alzheimer’s is classified as the onset of Alzheimer’s disease before the age of 65 and accounts for only 5-10% of cases diagnosed. Both Alzheimer’s and Early Onset Alzheimer’s are still very little understood. While a genetic predisposition can be passed through family in many cases the cause of the onset of this condition is unknown. If you have concern for yourself or a loved one you can consider the following symptoms as alert signals but be aware that many of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s overlap with the symptoms of stress. If your instinct of concern persists, pursuing medical advice and assessment is always the best choice, allowing you to eliminate concerns or, in the unlikely case of a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s,…

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When a parent or elderly relative begins to show signs of struggle it can be a difficult decision to seek help. It may feel like we are letting our loved ones down, however is important to remember that it is perfectly normal to require help at this stage in life and seeking that help can be liberating both for the person in need of care and those around them. When supporting someone into old age, the amount of assistance we provide tends to evolve gradually over time. It is important to assess how much of an impact this has on our own lives and how well equipped we are to offer the help that is needed. When looking after others, our own self-care becomes more important…

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Most of us have a bucket list of things that we’d love to try, but so often in life we sell ourselves short with the notion that we’ve let the moment pass, or missed the boat. Novelist and poet Margaret Deland once wrote: “As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.” These inspirational Elders of past and present will show you that Deland was on to something – it’s never too late to begin a new adventure, and life is more fun when we jump in and live it fully!   Betty Goedhart “Maybe I can influence someone that would never dream of doing something they never thought they could by just saying, ‘If she can do it, so can I.’”…

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As we meander through life we accumulate numerous possessions, sometimes heaps of them! These personal effects could be household items that simply never got thrown out, the result of years of avid collecting or they could be the precious reminders of a lifetime’s worth of living, loving and belonging, with some items holding enormous sentimental value. In many cases, having a home chock full of possessions can become problematic; particularly if you find yourself in a position whereby you need to rethink your living space to accommodate a life change. You may need to dispose of, or re-home some items in order to continue to manage living independently or you could even find that too much clutter is becoming a danger, particularly if you become impaired…

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Planning our finances for retirement is something that many of us put off. Ok, there are lots of sensible people out there who do begin putting money away into pensions once they start work. However, there are also the rest of us who find it all too easy to delay saving for our old age and fail to give it any serious thought until our retirement is actually imminent. Unless you are literally retiring tomorrow, there are several ways to accumulate a little extra into the retirement pot. Perhaps not enough to traverse the world in splendour but certainly enough to help keep the wolf from the door!   Reduce Or Eliminate Your Debts Have a clear and concise action plan to reduce and eliminate debt….

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As we age there may come a time when we need some help in order to care for ourselves. Even the most independent of individuals can find themselves struggling with declining mobility or loss of eyesight, post-operative health concerns or diminishing mental acuity. A residential nursing home may seem the obvious choice when an elderly relative declines until they are unable to adequately manage alone at home. However, there is another option which could be the answer to ensuring that our loved ones receive excellent care, but in their own home rather than having to move to a care facility; the option of employing a live-in carer. If we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of opting for either system, it could make the…

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The number of older adults living independently has increased hugely during the last couple of decades. Whilst it’s very important that everyone feels safe and secure in their home environment, many do worry about becoming the victim of a burglary or the target for criminals specifically aiming at seniors and other vulnerable adults. If you are an older adult living independently, you are the carer of an older person or you are simply concerned that you may be vulnerable in your own home; the following are a few simple and largely inexpensive ways to safeguard yourself against becoming the target of burglars or scammers.   Door and Window Security Front door – fit the following: A good quality five-lever mortice deadlock. A night latch (traditionally called…

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That special bond that exists between a dog and its owner should never be underestimated. However, for older people, the benefits go far beyond the usual simple enjoyment that their pet can bring. For seniors, dog ownership can be an actual lifesaver, particularly for those who are living alone. Of course, it is always vitally important that certain considerations are taken into account. There is little point in offering a giant or a highly active breed to someone frail or with limited mobility or gifting an eight-week-old puppy to someone with no prior pet experience or with no outside space available. However, if the right breed and age of the dog are matched well to the individual, the experience can be extremely enriching for both the…

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Gardening is one of the UK’s favourite leisure outdoor activities with hundreds of thousands of people enjoying tending to their outside space regularly. Sadly as we age and begin to suffer from arthritis or other physical limitations, our gardening activities can turn from a pleasure to a pain. Thankfully, there are any number of gadgets and aids on the market which can prolong the enjoyment by taking away the strain of some of our most common outdoor tasks. Here are just a few samples of the items available:   Gloves There are a number of specially designed gloves that have extra padding in the palm and finger joints to help improve your grip and protect your hands, causing fewer calluses and blisters, while you work.  …

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Most people arrive at a time in their lives when they need some extra help around the home, usually due to an going health issue or because they simply can’t get around as easily as before. The majority of seniors would prefer to remain in their own familiar surroundings and remain mostly independent. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for close family members to step in when this situation arises; because of work pressures or commitments, physical distance or simply because a little daily help is not sufficient for the recipient. Fortunately, there is an option outside of having to move into an assisted facility. With live-in assistance, your loved one can remain in the comfort of his or her home and still receive all of…

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