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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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Family structures have always been an ever-evolving entity as each new generation is born and the old one slips quietly away. However, in a society where the average life expectancy is increasing, helping our parents adjust to life as they age and become less and less mobile may come at the expense of our own emotional stability. Many adult children struggle through a tug of war as they face up to their self-inflicted moral and ethical obligations in relation to the care and wellbeing of their parents. Often, in the beginning, the extent of our assistance comes in the form of taking over small tasks; a little shopping, laundry, gardening, etc. which gradually increases to the point where you feel that your own life has to…

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From a very young age our most basic human desire is to gain independence and for the rest of our lives, we fight to maintain our autonomy, whether it be from authority or family members. We have all seen children persist with an activity to the point of frustration simply because they NEED to do it themselves. That need does not lessen as we age and one of the greatest wishes voiced by most seniors is the desire to remain independent. The majority of us want to grow old in our own homes, surrounded by our family and friends. Occasionally retaining total freedom proves impossible but in the modern world of technology, there are many ways with which to maintain a good level independence. Here are…

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One of our most treasured icons, Dame Vera Lynn, turned 100 years old on the 20th March. In celebration of an auspicious career, which began at the tender age of 7, a 350ft portrait of her face was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover; a fitting tribute to one of our most cherished singers and her memorable recordings. A newly released commemorative album, featuring orchestra-backed recordings of her beloved music, marks her down as the first centenarian singer to have released an album and in the process broke her previous record, from eight years ago, after she became the oldest living artist to land a UK Number One album! Dame Vera was born in East Ham in relatively humble circumstances; nevertheless by the time she…

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Genealogy is a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person or family group. Basically, it is the study of family ancestries and histories. Years ago, generations of families stayed in the same village or town for centuries and family history was mostly oral. The stories were perhaps more folklore than fact but they kept our knowledge and respect for our ancestors alive. For the past few decades the tendency to move away from our roots has left us mostly unaware and perhaps in the main unconcerned about the past. Perhaps you were ambivalent about your ancestors throughout most of your early life. After all, life was busy and granny and grandad were always banging on about Great Uncle Jeremy who sailed off into the sunset to explore the ‘New World’, or Aunt Elsie…

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In this week’s blog, we return to the thorny subject of how we can continue with our favourite hobby even when our body decides that enough is enough and begins to protest! There are plenty of options on the market, which make gardening a viable option for the less able bodied, however, here we are exploring ways to recycle and repurpose everyday items, to minimise the expense of creating a more accessible garden. Builders Blocks Blocks are a fantastic option as a permanent solution to create a raised bed. However raised beds aside, the good old block offers such versatility that it deserves a place in my top tip gardening recycling/repurposing adventures. Grab however many you can find kicking around, unused and unloved, and have a…

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Useful tips and ideas for anyone who loves this wonderful healthy hobby, but lacks the strength and mobility of their younger years. There is a certain irony for the avid gardener. During your fittest youthful years you are probably working all hours just to keep your head above water. Gardening is perhaps that hobby that slots into balmy summer evenings and frantic weekend frenzies of mowing and weeding between showers just to keep the place looking respectable. Fast forward a number of years and suddenly you have endless hours to indulge your vast soil based whims and passions because you have finally achieved the long-sought halcyon of retirement. The irony? Now you have the time, and even perhaps the money, but is your body as willing…

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If you decided to care for your elderly parent(s), would it be a minefield, a minor inconvenience, or an opportunity to reconnect with the person or even persons who laid the foundations that made you into whoever you currently are? I’m guessing that for the majority of people, the prospect of caring for an aging and perhaps increasingly infirm parent, the truth lies somewhere between the former two; slightly less than a minefield but perhaps more than a minor inconvenience. After all if your parent(s) have reached an age where they need help to manage their everyday life then you have probably just arrived at a particular point in life yourself, when you feel you can indulge yourself a little. Maybe your grown-up kids have finally…

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“How can I help an elderly friend or family member after a hip fracture?” This is a question that is often asked. How can I help my Nan to move without causing her pain? Is it safe for my Dad to have a bath?, The toilet seat is so low, is there anything I could buy that would raise it?, What about exercise, is it safe and will it help the hip to heal?, I’m worried my Granddad will fall again, what can I do to try and prevent this from happening? These are all valid questions along with many more… How long could it take to recover from a hip fracture? As you get older, the risk of breaking a bone is greater, because you…

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The winter months can be challenging for all of us, but it is particularly important for the older generations to ensure they take good care of themselves over this season when they can be more vulnerable to illness and injury. These tips will help to ensure strong immune systems and sensible precautions as the icy season draws in. Take Extra Care To Eat A Varied Diet In the wintertime, our immune system needs extra support to ward off any of the nasty colds or flu that are going around. Eating a wide and varied diet including fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial, despite the temptation to avoid going out to buy groceries! Try eating nuts, beans or red meat for Zinc, dark leafy greens for Iron,…

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Receiving a diagnosis of Dementia can be an overwhelming experience and you may be wondering which way to turn, but there are several ways that you can help yourself in coming to terms with your diagnosis and finding positivity as you move forward. Feeling Different Emotions Begin by thinking about your emotional reaction – many people will find themselves feeling a broad spectrum of different feelings. You may feel a sense of shock, or even denial, which is a form of self-protection and is perfectly normal. Try not to put pressure on yourself to change your feelings, but rather know that with a little time your diagnosis will feel less daunting. You may feel a sense of sadness for the loss you and your loved ones…

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Meeting nutritional needs in later life can be a challenge. Often elderly people experience reduced appetite, and this combined with an increase in a variety of common ailments makes it all the more important to reach for highly nutritious and convenient sources of goodness. Kefir offers us a fantastic source of nutrition, as you will read below, but with its strange name it often goes undiscovered! What Is Kefir? Kefir is a traditional fermented drink, which has been consumed in Russia and Central Asia for centuries. This nutritional powerhouse of a beverage is now becoming popular all over the world and happily, it can be made at home, easily and inexpensively. Many like the taste but even if it’s not your favourite thing it can also…

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You can make a huge dent in the scale of your personal items by exploring the opportunities presented by space saving technology. In last week’s blog we focussed on photographs and books. This week we turn our attention to music collections and films… Converting to digital files can make a huge difference in terms of accessibility and convenience. Read on to find out how you could implement some practical changes and significantly reduce your ‘stuff’! Digitalise Your Music Collection Any physical music collection will take up precious space in your home, not to mention collect dust. This can therefore be a rewarding ‘library’ to tackle in order to downsize or reduce the scale of your possessions. Vinyl is a commodity that can be hard to release…

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It can be incredibly hard work keeping a sweet tooth under control, those sugar cravings can be overwhelming and just the sight of a favourite treat can see your good intentions flying straight out of the window! As a substance, sugar has us hooked because it triggers the pleasure sensors in the brain, just like any other addictive substance. We crave sugar, eat sugar, and it makes us feel so great that we are often driven to eat a little bit more than we originally intended to. Sugar Highs & Lows – An Unhealthy Cycle Once consumed, the simple carbohydrates that are contained in sweet treats, rapidly convert to glucose in the bloodstream, causing a sharp spike in our blood sugar levels. The same carbohydrates are…

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Sorting through your belongings and having a clear out can be a daunting experience at the best of times, particularly when you are dealing with items that hold any sentimental value. There are numerous barriers that make it harder for many of us to part with our belongings the older we get – as aside from the obvious emotional barriers we may be faced with, there are other more practical issues such as physical strength and mobility which can come into play. These challenges can make the process of accessing, lifting and processing belongings far more difficult. Having a regular sort out of items can prevent a situation where we become overwhelmed with too much ‘stuff’ and filtering down our clutter can be extremely beneficial in…

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