Care Harmony Solutions
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Tips for Healthy Aging and Independent Living

All tips are extracted from reliable research sources or given by experienced individuals. By individuals we mean practitioners, carers or someone who has personally experienced a condition. We intend to update this page regularly.

Summer Tip

Although it makes every day seem a whole lot better, the hot weather is dangerous. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is a very common aftermath of a hot day, and the elderly are prone to this threat.  

Here are some ways to prevent this:

  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Keep the curtains closed so the room stays cooler, cover up with light-coloured and loose clothing
  • Drink plenty of cold drinks

Also, be aware of the warning signs for heat-related illnesses; dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems. These warning signs should trigger immediate help.

If you or someone you know has a personal alarm system, make sure a pendant is worn at all times - know how to stay safe on a summer's day.

Wear your personal pendant alarm at all times
If someone has a personal pendant alarm it is advisable to wear it at all times provided it is water-resistant. It is also important to consider the risks associated with wearing a pendant around the neck when the person goes to bed. Moreover, self-activating devices such as bed sensors and fall detectors can help depending on individual circumstances. GPs are well-placed to give advice on fall prevention strategies and local preventative programmes.
Always use footwear at home
For a group of 100 older women (aged 65+) attending a day hospital in Ireland, wearing their own footwear was associated with significantly improved balance compared to being barefoot. The greatest benefit of footwear was seen in people with the poorest balance. The authors recommend that older individuals at risk of falls do not go barefoot when walking.
N Frances Horgan (et al.) Age and Ageing, vol 38, no 1, January 2009, pp 62-67.
Non-Emergency Police Number 101
Thames Valley Police is now using 101, the new national single non-emergency number which went live on 14 November 2011. This replaces the 0845 8 505 505 number. Both numbers will run side by side until the end of March 2012.

Calls to 101 (from both landlines and mobile networks) cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day the call is made, or the duration of the call. The routing will be based on the same system as 999 calls. If a caller is using a landline, the routing will be based on the caller's postcode and the call will be directed to the police force for that area. If a caller is using a mobile, the call will route using the mast from which the call is being transmitted.
Worried about a loved one falling while you're sleeping in the next room?
A lot of carers and care workers feel stressed/anxious because they're constantly concerned that someone they're looking after may fall while they're not present. Therefore, some consider bed rails to reduce the risk. While bed rails might work for some people, it can increase risk for others. For example, people with dementia who are at risk of wondering may attempt to climb over bed rails. It can also lead to anxiety and agitation, as they may feel trapped.

Depending on individual cases, one option could be to lower the bed. Stand-alone bed occupancy sensors can also be an option. Bed sensors will alert the carers through a pager whenever the person they're looking after leaves the bed. This simple and cost effective device can enhance the safety of loved ones while reducing carers' anxiety.

We do install and provide stand-alone bed occupancy sensors to both individuals and care agencies. So please give us a call if you need to know more about them or to order one.

Note: there is no ongoing cost associated with stand-alone bed sensors.
Personal emergency alarms: What impact do they have on older people's lives?
In a study conducted by Kristen De San Miguel and Gill Lewin (2008) "Clients reported positive impacts in terms of: gaining faster assistance in an emergency; extending the time they are able to remain living at home; increasing their sense of security; reducing anxiety about falling and increasing confidence in performing everyday activities". This study surveyed 2610 users of the Silver Chain CareLink Personal Alarm Service.
Vitamin B12 may protect the brain in old age
Research conducted by the University of Oxford found that Vitamin B12 may prevent brain volume loss in older people. 107 older people between the ages of 61 and 87 underwent brain scans, memory testing and physical exams. The researchers also collected blood samples to check vitamin B12 levels. Brain scans and memory tests were repeated five years later.

The study found that people who had higher vitamin B12 levels were six times less likely to experience brain shrinkage compared with those who had lower levels of the vitamin in their blood.

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient found in meat, fish and milk.
3 important points that carers need to consider when purchasing alarms for their loved ones
Alarms for the elderly and disabled people are designed to give peace of mind to those at risk and their families and carers. Variety in types of alarms, the way they're marketed online and geo-location of the call centres can make it difficult for carers to decide which system works best for their loved ones. Based on our experience and talks with carers, we're highlighting 3 equally important points that are crucial when purchasing an alarm for an elderly or disabled relative. To read more please visit our blog.