Tuesday, 19 June 2018 08:00

When a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic or long-term illness such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, the immediate assumption is that a family member will become their primary caregiver. While this assumption is not 100% incorrect, this puts tremendous pressure on family members to step-up to the plate and fulfil caregiving duties, while maintaining the balance of their everyday lives – most especially, within their careers.

Be open and honest

Becoming a primary caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can put you in a precarious situation when it comes to employment. However, experts advise that the best measure for a full-time caregiver to take is to disclose their new responsibilities and expectations to their employer.

Being 100% honest with an employer means pointing out that your two roles may overlap from time-to-time and that you may need to test the waters to see how they feel about this.

One of your best courses of action as a full-time employee and now a caregiver is to define your responsibilities as a caregiver and explain that there will be instances where you may require time away from work. This way, your employer knows where you stand and will not question your absenteeism.

In most cases, most employers should be completely empathetic and supportive of your situation. However, it’s important to remember that employers also have their own set of obligations to uphold for the sake of other employees and company stakeholders. Essentially, business is still business.

So when is it time to consider roping in the help of other family members if you feel your career and its trajectory is being jeopardised?

1. Limited involvement in workplace activities

When your involvement in workplace activities begins to take a back seat over your caregiving responsibilities, it may be time to look for help from other family members or friends for a few hours a week. These activities may include participation in meaningful fundraisers or enjoying time with other employees at birthday or anniversary events.

2.  Turning down a promotion

It really doesn’t happen all that often that an employee would turn down an opportunity of promotion and salary increase. If this has happened or is something you’re considering as a caregiver, it may be time to consider finding additional support if your ambition is to move forward in your career.

3. Turning down a relocation opportunity

Moving away from a loved one who has fallen ill and accepting an amazing new career opportunity may seem like a cruel and selfish thing to do. But why should it be? If your career is important to you and your family members know that and support you, then should it not be time for another sibling or family member to step-up and offer themselves as a primary caregiver? Yes, it may seem like a lot to ask, but ultimately, family members should band together in times of need.

If additional support from family members is just not an option, an assisted living community may also be your answer.

4. Feeling completely disconnected from your career

If you used to wake up with enthusiasm and motivation each day about your job, but that has become secondary now, it may be time to re-look your caregiving responsibilities. Perhaps you have a little too much on your plate and this is making you feel overwhelmed and stressed. Try and spread out caregiving tasks to willing family members so you can re-focus on other things which are also important to you.

Taking on the role of primary caregiver is a huge task, whether you work full-time and have a career or not. You will need to strike a balance between the two if both are just as important as the other. This may be easier said than done, but becoming a full-time caregiver does not mean your life needs to be put on hold. Reach out for support when you need it – there’s nothing selfish about it!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 08:00

Allergies – they affect a huge portion of the British population and do not discriminate by age! As the weather turns warmer and all our favourite trees, shrubs and flowers begin to bloom, allergies are a daily reality that begin to plague much of the elderly community.

Unfortunately, being highly sensitive to airborne pollens and resulting allergies is not something one can usually ‘outgrow’ with age. In fact, many people may even tend to develop other allergies as they get older. But when it comes to the elderly, allergies can be all the more difficult to manage due to a number of chronic or long-term illnesses they may already be suffering from.

Allergies have a tendency to complicate pre-existing conditions, making it more difficult to control stuffy noses, watering eyes, tight chests and bouts of asthma. This is why allergy season needs to be taken seriously, as allergic reactions can lead to disease complications.

In order to make allergy season a little more comfortable for your senior loved ones, here are a few simple steps to follow:

1. Keep track of allergy symptoms

Some pre-existing conditions in the elderly, specifically Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s make it difficult for seniors to express their discomfort during allergy season. To add to this, a caregiver may be too pre-occupied with more pertinent duties. However, this is no excuse to avoid all the common symptoms of allergies – look out for sneezing, runny noses, itchy noses, itchy eyes, watering eyes, raspy breathing or discomfort when breathing.

2. Visit your doctor, ASAP

If you notice than an elderly loved one is suffering from typical symptoms of allergy season, you’ll need to visit their doctor right away. If a senior suffers from chronic conditions such as heart disease or lung disease, it’s especially important that allergies are nipped in the bud as early on as possible. Allergies will only exacerbate these types of conditions by putting strain on both the lungs and the heart, posing a real risk to your loved ones.

3. Avoid antihistamines

While this may sound completely counter-productive for allergy season, antihistamines aren’t always the best solution for allergies in the elderly. These medications tend to carry adverse side-effects for seniors, including drowsiness, urine retention, dry mouth, dry eyes, confusion, and dizziness. Ultimately, these symptoms can contribute to an already weakened state and lead to dangerous falls and urinary tract infections which are highly common in seniors.

Antihistamines can also interact with other chronic medications a senior may be taking, leading to mood and behaviour changes. Your doctor should be able to prescribe another form of allergy relief, such as a nasal steroid or topical medication.

4. Opt for a medication-free approach

If you are wary of prescribing more medication to an already medicated senior, then prevention may be another approach to consider when managing allergies. Though this approach may work best with someone who only suffers from mild allergies.

Try and minimise a senior’s exposure to allergens throughout the day by avoiding the outdoors on days with particularly high pollen and allergy forecasts. If you have to venture outside, make sure they wear sunglasses to protect their eyes or even a surgical mask over their mouths if necessary. Once they are back in the comfort of home, make sure they wash their hands and face, shower and change into fresh clothes free of allergens.

Staying alert to the comfort of your loved one or care receiver can go a long way in saving time on unnecessary doctor’s visits and doctor’s bills. Keep a close eye on them during the spring and summer months as allergies do not discriminate!

Tuesday, 05 June 2018 08:00

With an estimated 127 000 people affected by Parkinson’s disease in the United Kingdom alone, measuring the progression of this complicated disease has long been tedious, time-consuming and challenging. But in today’s day and age, this could be greatly simplified with the development of the cloudUPDRS app.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018 08:00

As adults we are often referred to as ‘’creatures of habit’’ – no matter our age or the stage of lives we are in, adults tend to become creatures of habit due to the daily routine of life. Without even realising it, many of us become accustomed to the ins and outs of our daily life, only to hit a wall when we fail to keep up with the tides of change which ebb and flow as we grow older.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018 00:00

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia it could be considered one of the worst days of their life, and yours. They have just been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, for which there is no known cure. The future may seem scary, daunting, depressing and overwhelming.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:00

When a person is alive and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, there is actually no way to know for certain it is, in fact Alzheimer’s. Only once that person has passed, can an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s be made during a full autopsy.

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 00:00

Currently there are approximately 850 000 people living with dementia in the United Kingdom, with that number set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Statistics reveal that 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 suffer from dementia, but is their diet, and particularly a diet high in sugar to blame?

Wednesday, 02 May 2018 00:00

In today’s modern age of technology, communication could not be easier or any more accessible. You can literally speak to and even see your loved ones in a matter of seconds with technological advances such as Skype, FaceTime and the smartphone.

Despite this, research has shown that as a global community we are lonelier than ever, but none more so than our older generation. But the question remains, why?

Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:00

All-too-often a loved one or care receiver suffering from a loss of bowel control is too embarrassed to openly admit it or discuss the issue. Which is completely understandable – a loss of bowel control is something most people hope to avoid in their later stages of life. But, it is a reality amongst many seniors and most certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 08:00

If you’re new to the world of dementia and Alzheimer’s care, you may be wondering what a typical day is like through the eyes of those suffering from either of these neurodegenerative diseases.

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    Surrey, United Kingdom
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