Getting Out More: Taking Those First Steps
For anyone that struggles to get around as easily as they used to, getting out of the house comes with two immediate types of barrier: the physical and the emotional.
First, you have to be in the right mind-set. You need to feel safe and confident, not afraid of what’s beyond the door of your home. Second, you need to be prepared physically for whatever activity you’re doing. Here, we address three ‘emotional’ and three ‘physical’ barriers, with information about how to push them aside so that you can get out more!
Fear – Emotional
Stepping beyond your front door can seem like a scary prospect if you’re used to the comfort of home or are feeling unsure about your ability to cope with physical activity. To counteract the fear, plan a short circular walking route that brings you back to your front door. You’ll never be far from home!
Lack of Motivation – Emotional
Sometimes, the prospect of home can seem just a little too inviting! If you’re finding it hard to get motivated, set yourself small goals such as a slow five-minute walk or a half-hour picnic in the park. You might even consider buying modern technology, such as an activity monitor wristband, that will count up your steps and give you a goal to work towards each day.
Loneliness – Emotional
If you’re out and about on your own, you might find that you feel lonely or vulnerable. Invite a friend or family member to meet you for a walk or to share your shopping trip with you, so that you’ve got support and someone to talk to. If you’re going out alone and don’t want or have a companion, it can also help to invest in a cheap MP3 player that can be loaded with your favourite music to provide a welcome distraction. It’s worth only wearing an earphone in one ear, so that you can stay aware of what’s going on around you.
Lack of Stability – Physical
Feeling unsteady on your feet? Make sure that you wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Power wheelchairs and mobility scooters can also be used if you’re finding that walking is becoming too difficult.
Reduced Carrying Ability – Physical
A shopping trip is a fantastic small goal if you’re looking for something to do. Unfortunately, some people are deterred by the prospect of struggling home with their shopping. Get a shopping basket (or bag) on wheels and you can drag it along behind you, which is much easier than carrying a traditional shopping bag.
Aches and Pains – Physical
As you age, you’ll find that your body can’t take the same amount of activity as it used to. Your joints, in particular, will hurt. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s a sign not to push too hard. Stop for regular breaks, make use of park benches and consider planning a route with plenty of coffee shops along it! Also make sure that you stick to main roads so that you can find a taxi easily if you need a ride back home.
The key to a successful trip is forward-planning – map out a route, make sure that it has rest stops, take a companion or your favourite music, wear suitable clothing and footwear and make sure that you don’t allow those niggling doubts to stop you from leaving your house. Once you’re out and about, you’ll quickly find that your confidence increases and that you can keep your independence for longer.
Hearing loss resulting from the general ageing process is one of the most common forms of sensory impairment to affect the over 60s. If left unmanaged, it can lead to reduced quality of life, and in recent years it has been linked to the progression of dementia in several reputable studies. (1) According to hearing charity Action On Hearing Loss, there are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, or one in six of the population. 6.3 million of which are of retirement age (65+). On average it takes ten years for individuals to address their hearing loss. It is the purpose of this piece to explain how age-related hearing loss occurs and how to go about managing its effects.
How Age Related Hearing Loss Happens
As the body matures, sensory abilities can naturally diminish. It is often a gradual process over many years, until it reaches a point where it is unmistakably noticeable (to the individual as well as others around them) and begins to impact on daily life. Hearing loss due to aging, in many cases, can be traced back to a person’s late 40s, though it is far more commonly encountered in the over 60s. Our inner ear holds a vast number of tiny receptors that are referred to as hair cells. These hair cells are responsible for capturing information contained within sound waves and begin the process of converting these stimuli into nerve signals to send to the brain via the hearing nerve. As the body matures, some hair cells may be damaged and their functioning impaired in some way. Often those hair cells who are responsible for dealing with the higher frequencies are affected first, and the individual will not be able to hear over as wide a range as before and not be as sensitive to softer volumes as before. Hair cells cannot regrow or repair themselves, so any loss of hearing is effectively permanent.
There are a number of different factors that determine the extent or degree of the loss of hearing. These can include:
· Family history of hearing loss – it is thought to be hereditary
· Smoking for many years – studies conclude that smokers are more like to develop age related hearing loss
· Medical conditions and certain medicines
· Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise
Links To The Progression Of Dementia
In recent years, several (2) studies have drawn a link between hearing loss that is left unattended and the acceleration of dementia. Researchers believe that the overwhelming stress on the brain to process sound with hearing loss and the additional effort it takes, may leave individuals more vulnerable to develop dementia. They have also speculated further that if hearing loss causes individuals to withdraw from social contact, this in itself could increase the risk of dementia; as social isolation is a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms Of Age Related Hearing Loss
Because age related hearing loss usually occurs very gradually individuals may not experience all these symptoms, and will experience them in varying degrees.
· Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
· Difficulty hearing people around you, feeling that they are mumbling
· Certain sounds seeming overly loud, others overly mumbled
· Problems hearing in noisy areas
· Problems telling apart certain sounds such as "s" or "th"
· More difficulty understanding people with higher-pitched voices
· Ringing in the ears
Managing The Condition
Although there is no medical cure to overturn age related hearing loss, there are means to manage the condition and improve on the impaired hearing. Any concern about hearing should be addressed by attending a hearing test. Basic tests can be conducted at your local GP practice, though a hearing assessment at your local audiologist will be diagnostic and provide a complete picture of your current hearing ability. The most common diagnostic hearing test performed is a ‘pure-tone audiogram’ which will measure your hearing abilities across a wide range of tones or frequencies and allow comparison to that normal hearing. It will also help to confirm the cause of any measured hearing loss.
‘Treatment’ for hearing loss usually focuses on amplifying sounds in daily life. Various amplification devices in the form of amplified phones and mobiles, hearing aids in 6 common types, TV aids and others are available privately and from the NHS (hearing aids only). It is important to address hearing loss concerns to avoid becoming socially isolated.
Bio: Article by Joan McKechnie, BSc Hons Audiology & Speech Pathology. Joan works for Hampshire based HearingDirect.com. Joan is HCPC Registered (Health Care Professions Council).
I went to a lovely family party, out in the garden, and just before leaving to go home, I went through the French Window, and found something I expected to hold was not there and crashed down across the metal round the window. Last night I had to sleep in a high chair, as I find it extremely difficult to get up from sitting too far back, and getting off the toilet......well I get quite panicky as I just CAN'T get up! I have some very painful ribs.
I must say I did enjoy the care everyone gave me - I can always enjoy that!
When it’s safe to be cool
While many of us will simply be pleased that the long, wet winter is far behind us, it is important to be prepared for sustained hot weather.
Heatwave Alerts, such as the one in place at the moment – known as a level 2 – are triggered as soon as the Met Office forecasts a 60 per cent chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days to have significant effect on health. This will normally happen two or three days before a heatwave is expected to occur. As most heat-related deaths occur in the first two days, this is an important stage at which to make sure people are ready – and swift action can be taken to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.
Health and social care workers have already identified the people they care for who are most at risk and made plans to protect them if the heatwave happens. Now that a heatwave is forecast staff will be checking on vulnerable people, and making sure steps are taken to protect them.
Just as important is making sure that you and your friends and neighbours are ready and equipped for a heatwave; check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves and make sure they have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications they need.
Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “When it is hot outside, it is not just about vulnerable people being ready – it is also about families and communities looking out for each other.
“There is lots of good advice out there, and this is a time of year when friends, neighbours and families can make an important difference by rallying round and taking time to care for each other.”
Key advice in hot weather includes:
· Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
· Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
· Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
· Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
· Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
· Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
· Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.
· Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
· Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.
· Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
Andrew Scott-Clark, interim director of Public Health in Kent, said: “Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone in hot weather and if it isn't treated it can lead to heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even fatal.
“If you or anyone else feels unwell, drink water and go somewhere cool to rest. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, weakness or cramps get worse or don’t go away, it is important to seek medical help.”
For those of us who rely on
multi-drug prescriptions we have the weekly chore of countiong
out the assorted capsuals & tablets into each little box for
that day of the week.
Simple enough I s'pose;
But then we have people like me who are not THE very best at housekeeping & long term stock takers!
With us we have the problem of discovering we have run out of a particular tablet.
Then if the surgery is like mine Thursday is half day
...I need some capsuals for tonight &
...I have to wait in this morning for a parcel to be delivered!
The question stands - will I be able to get out today in time to sprint round & get my prescription writen before 1pm?
...Don't miss the next exiting instalment!
I walked with 3 of my friends and their family, whilst my husband helped out at the registration desk.
The weather was, well, not the best - it was very, very windy, and it made hard going on the way to the 2 1/2 mile checkpoint. Not made any better by the fact that although the walk was nice by Brighton seafront, the sand was whipping up in your face - good job I didn't have any sarnies with me! At least the rain held off!
However, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and would do it again in a "heartbeat". I finished the 5 miles in 1hr 35 minutes (or thereabouts), and so far have raised £265 in sponsorship for the Sussex Heart Charity, who have been invaluable to me in my recovery from my heart attack.
My new blue shoes were fabulous and no blisters or anything - I feel great.
Thanks for listening everyone.
Please see the following for details of the launch last week in Canterbury:
I have had three during the past 7 days & have no rased temperature - or any reason for this that I can think of.
I would be most gratefull for a profesional or knowledgable responce.
Helping the NHS understand and act on what really matters to patients and carers Calling all patients and carers of patients with long-term conditions.
Your views matter - what help do you need to manage and make decisions about your health and wellbeing? What helps you feel in control of your own care and what gets in the way?
An exciting project funded by NHS England is taking place across the South of England, working with patients and carers to understand, from their own perspective, what is important to them in managing their health and care better.
Hastings Voluntary Action/Voluntary Action South West Surrey/Living Options Devon is supporting this work by working with local patients to capture their views through face to face meetings (co-design sessions) and by circulating this online survey to capture your views.
The aim of the project is to gain feedback from as many patients and carers as possible and your views will help us understand and act on what really matters to you. You will be helping to ensure that the voices of patients and carers are at the centre of decision making about future commissioning priorities.
To start the discussion, we would be grateful if you could please take a few minutes to complete a short survey via this link.
Is dementia something which affects you or your family? Do you have any questions or concerns and would like to talk to someone?
0800 500 3014
Information and support for people with
dementia and their carers
Please call - we are here to help
Registered Charity No 1024385
Alzheimer’s & Dementia
S U P P O R T S E R V I C E S
0800 500 3014
Calls between the hours of 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday are taken by qualified staff that can:
• Source and phone / e-mail back relevant information
• Discuss any concerns
• Signpost to relevant services offering local support
• Listen and offer confidential emotional support
Outside of these hours callers will be offered emotional support and information only. During this time the service is anonymous.
You can also e-mail your questions to:
E-mail enquiries are answered within 24 hours on weekdays
We understand the difficulties you may be experiencing and never judge.
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