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According to recent studies in the UK, one in six people will need treatment for mental health during their lifetime. Meanwhile, one in 100 people will experience an episode of schizophrenia.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia can be devastating not only for the individual but also for their loved ones. It can be difficult to think clearly, manage emotions, and even function properly. However, caring for an older loved one with schizophrenia doesn’t mean they can’t live a meaningful life.

While dealing with a loved one’s schizophrenia can be difficult, there are ways to help guide them on the road to recovery. Here are five essential care tips for older loved ones with schizophrenia.

1. Understand What They’re Experiencing

Hallucinations, voices, confusing conversation, and odd ideas – these things may seem unbelievable to most of us. However, they can be very real, and even terrifying to the person who experiences them.

There is no harm in trying to explain that those experiences are not real, however, you need to approach with caution and be sensitive about the situation. You will also have to understand what they are experiencing to learn how to detect the early onset.

2. Work With the Doctor

Once the doctor has given the proper diagnosis, they will recommend the best treatment options for schizophrenia. Medication is not the only method for treating schizophrenia. In fact, there are plenty of options to help manage the symptoms, such as:

3. Accept the Conditions

Acceptance is vital to providing proper care for patients with schizophrenia. Caregivers must learn not to criticise their elders and avoid saying anything that might negatively affect them. Refrain from asking questions like “why don’t you do this?” or “Why did you keep doing that?”

When their self-esteem is low, this will hinder their potential to improve. Just like anyone else, if they were able to do something, they would.

4. Learn How to Respond

When an older patient is experiencing hallucinations or delusions, they will truly believe that they are real. Telling them those voices are not real will not help them. In fact, it will only lead to distrust and hostility.

While you might feel unsure about what to do or say when someone believes or sees something you don’t, it is important to remember their experiences are real to them. By giving them validity, you will help them feel better and feel understood. It will lead to them trusting you more, and then you can find a solution to what they saw and heard.

5. Freedom of Technology

Thanks to the latest advancements in technology, patients and caregivers can stay in touch at all times. Using a personal alarm system will benefit those who are at risk of falling, have cases of forgetfulness, or are seeking some independence. Not only does this give older people the freedom to live independently, but they will also feel a sense of control of their life.

When someone you love experiences the symptoms of schizophrenia, it can be difficult to stay positive throughout treatment. What’s important is how you invest time and energy into the well-being of your loved one. You can also discuss the useful ways to provide support with the help of family and friends.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 9th August 2021 to reflect current information.

We all experience anxiety from time to time. However, if you feel anxious all the time or you experience physical symptoms like breathlessness or nausea, you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. In today’s article, we’ll be discussing anxiety in detail. We’ll explore how anxiety can play tricks on us, and how to take control over anxious thoughts and feelings.

Anxiety in Older People

Despite what many people believe, it is possible to combat anxiety and live a full life. Unfortunately, many older people who experience anxiety don’t seek help or treatment. This might be due to a belief that they should ‘just get on with it’. However, mental health is just as important as physical health. After all, if you broke your leg, you wouldn’t just keep a stiff upper lip and wait for it to get better!

If your anxiety is interfering with your day-to-day life, you should get in touch with your GP. They will want to hear about your symptoms and help you as best they can. In the meantime, follow the tips below to reduce feelings of worry and anxiety.

How to Reduce Anxiety

  1. Recognise what is happening. When you are feeling anxious, your brain can make you feel as though you are in danger. Your heart rate might increase, you may feel out of breath – this is the body’s fight or flight response. Try to acknowledge what’s really happening. Observe your surroundings. Tell yourself what’s happening: you are feeling anxious; this is harmless and temporary. You are safe.
  2. Focus on the present. Anxious feelings often come from worrying about what might happen in the future or what has happened in the past. Remind yourself that you cannot control anything except the present moment. Accept that you feel anxious right now. Trying to fight your anxious feelings in the moment can often make things worse.
  3. Breathe deeply and slowly. Your breathing might get faster when you feel anxious. Try to take slow, deep, even breaths to keep yourself calm.

Why Anxiety Plays Games with Your Mind

Anxiety is a trick of the brain. It makes us think that we are truly in danger when we are not. To outsmart anxiety, it is important to stop resisting it. When we are in the throes of a panic attack for instance, we should ‘float’ with our anxiety. This means recognising the symptoms such as a rapid heart rate and quick, shallow breathing. Gently transition to slow, even breaths.

When we try to fight against anxiety, we only increase the physiological processes that lead us into panic. In other words, when we continue to breathe in quickly and overload our systems with oxygen, our muscles continue tensing up and contracting, and our heart rate continues to rise.

By breathing calmly and acknowledging that the brain is playing a trick (trying to convince us we are in real danger), we can calm ourselves down and regain control.

Anti-Anxiety Aids at Home and Away

Dealing with anxiety also involves recognising the early signs of symptoms such as panic attacks. Once you know what you’re up against, you can take the right kind of action. Lots of people use anti-anxiety aids like the following:

Find out more about the Personal Alarm

A personal alarm can a great comfort for people living with anxiety, especially for those who live alone. Knowing that you can always call for help in an emergency is incredibly reassuring, for you and your loved ones alike.

Our Response Team are on hand 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure that our alarm users receive the highest quality of service.

For more information about the Lifeline Personal Alarm service, please contact our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our Contact Us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can order your new Lifeline alarm today and receive free next-day delivery.

For further information about other common medical conditions, please see our in-depth guide. 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 12th July 2021 to reflect current information.

Updated 10/02/2020 

Downsizing for retirement is a common practise performed by many pensioners. After retirement, every older person looks forward to living their golden years comfortably with minimal financial stress and assured safety. It is a fresh start which calls for a lot of adjustments, especially with regards to financehealth and your safety. This year, the state pension is set to rise in April, so many pensioners will be afforded a few extra luxuries they might not have previously been able to afford. In spite of this, it’s still important to make sure you’re on top of your savings, and not being excessive where possible.

This would mean having better management of savings, pensions, and benefits, cutting down on bills and having a reliable safety response back-up for emergencies – especially when you’re living alone.

Retirement is a time to focus on one’s priorities, only making room for necessary matters. Retirees, in most cases, have family members or kids who are away from home, either working, in school or raising families of their own. While downsizing for your retirement to a smaller home is often the first step, security has to be heightened. Alarm systems become indispensable, in case of burglaries or accidents within the home.

Downsizing is often the preferred way to kickstart retirement. 64% of retirees downsize from their homes to smaller, mortgage-free houses. The quicker you sell your house and unnecessary possessions, the better – before their value depreciates.

When it comes to selling any property no longer needed, learning hacks for selling your house quickly might come in handy. Such hacks get you more value for your property and in good time too!

The Emotional Rollercoaster 

Downsizing means dropping your lifestyle and choosing another. You might just have to physically move from your neighbourhood and your former life. It triggers a variety of emotions from excitement to stress. It is a disruptive process. Getting rid of possessions accumulated over a lifetime is never easy.

At this point you realise how attached you are to some of the stuff and the many memories they bring with them. The thought of letting them go could mean a few tears.

The better part then comes later. You begin feeling lighter and more alive than before. You also end up with very little to worry about. It is an act of sacrificing something dear today for something you need tomorrow.. for the greater good.

So the sooner you get over with it, the better for you socially, physically and even more so financially.

The Pay Off in Downsizing

There is a lot more to downsizing than the physical change itself. It is an opportunity to look back at your life and where you are heading. It is at this point that you get that golden chance to determine the next chapter of your life.

To many, it is a liberal opportunity to create a new life all over. The most important bit is the opportunity to boost your retirement finances. With tips on how to rip big benefits when downsizing, you will comfortably enjoy your golden years in a truly golden way.

One good idea would be create your very own bucket list – to help you to decide what to spend your money on now that you’re retired.

Investing Your Money

In the event that you have a lump sum of cash after downsizing, there are many possible outcomes of how you use that money. Investing your money could sound scary to someone who’s never thought about it. However there are loads of benefits of even investing a small amount. Of course when investing there is always an element of risk. So really its entirely down to your own attitude towards investing.

There are also many benefits for your family with investing. In the tragic event of your death, your investments will get passed on to whomever you put in your will and testimony. So as long as you’re safe with your investments, your family will be too.

When retiring there can be many concerns but money usually isn’t the biggest, concern straight away at least. We would never encourage you to throw your interest away but as Albert Einstein said “the 8th Wonder of the World is Compound Interest”.

For example, if you were to put £10,000 into a bank with an interest of 1% you would have £11,051 in 10 years time. Doesn’t sound like a lot does it. In contrast if you had put that £10,000, 10 years ago, into a medium risk , stocks and shares ISA it would be worth £16,470 today (credit: 4 Financial Planning)

Just to reiterate, Investing your money can be a risk. And depending on how much you’re investing, it could potentially be lifestyle-threatening. However if you do your research, don’t go into it straight away and practice at it, it could instead be lifestyle-changing for you and your family.

Rip Big Financially

Knowing the actual market value for a lot of the stuff you own can be hard. You might want to acquire the services of the various residential appraisal companies near you. Once you get the amount your home and property will fetch you, weigh it against the cost of settling in a smaller house. It will often leave you a substantial amount that you could invest. To get more, you could upgrade your residence through repairs and repainting.

Downsizing for your retirement is an overall new adventure. It has been the best option for many retirees. It is best if done in no hurry and after having weighed all options. While it might seem hard and a downgrade, downsizing upon retirement has more positives than negatives.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Parkinson’s Disease affects around 145,000 people in the UK, with around one person being diagnosed every hour. The disorder often affects those over the age of 50 but younger people can also be diagnosed, so it’s good to know the signs and ways you can help.

As with any illness, there are some lifestyle changes to be made which can ease the symptoms and side effects. Take a look at some of the necessary dietary changes for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s is what’s known as a progressive neurological condition. This essentially means that it causes issues in the brain, and due to the nature of the condition and current lack of cure, it gets worse over time.  The underlying causes of the disease are unknown but the symptoms are caused by the death of a specific type of nerve cell in the brain. The cells produce a chemical called dopamine, therefore, levels of this are depleted in those with Parkinson’s disease.

At present, it’s estimated that around 145,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The main symptoms are:

Sadly, currently there is no cure. Older people who live alone may have to have a personal alarm at their home, in case of falls or symptoms flaring up and those who need help with daily tasks may need live-in care. Changes to the lifestyle, however, can help ease the symptoms. This includes some dietary changes, which could help cope with the major symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Feed the Body and Mind

Eating healthy is important for everyone, regardless of their condition. However, those with Parkinson’s can benefit from feeding the brain, heart and muscles. Diversifying your diet is key to ensuring that all food groups are covered and the body is strong enough to cope with symptoms of weakness, tiredness and fatigue.

Those with Parkinson’s should avoid eating too much protein as it may interfere with some types of medication. However, the addition of fish and dairy products will help provide the essential protein the brain needs.

You need to avoid too much salt and sugar due to the strain on the immune system and circulatory system. Remember to also add plenty of vegetables and pulses to aid digestion.

Foods Which Curb Side Effects

Headaches are often caused by muscle tension or dehydration, so add plenty of water to your diet. Green tea and ginger also soothe the throat and relieve colds or stuffy noses. Research also indicates that magnesium protects the brain from unwanted metals gaining entry and it is also known for helping with sleep which many Parkinson’s sufferers struggle with.

Nausea is often a side-effect, whether it is from Parkinson’s itself or from medication. Avoiding greasy foods, sipping your drinks and waiting for the nausea to subside will help to prevent sickness and help you gain the nutrition you need.

All dietary preferences are different so some trial and error is needed. The symptoms of tiredness and fatigue can be lessened by a boost of nutritional energy which will also prevent falls or accidents in the home.

VAT Exemption

Parkinson’s Disease is a medical condition which qualifies you for VAT Exemption on a personal alarm system. HMRC state that a product which has been “designed or adapted for a disability” qualifies for VAT exemption. This is good to know.

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our personal alarm service please speak to our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Updated 31/01/2020

Most older people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. For many, they’ve lived there for years and their home contains special memories. On average, care homes cost a staggering £33,000 per year, so it makes sense for older people to seek ways of being supported in their own surroundings.

However, home support can be expensive too, if you don’t mitigate your costs and shop around for aids, such as our affordable personal alarms. There are a few simple steps that you can take to boost your finances at home.

Consider your needs

There are a substantial number of products that can help older people at home, however you may not require all of them. Before forking out on multiple items, think about the areas where you struggle and then look at the aids which could improve your day to day life, provide peace of mind and which you would utilize. Over time, you can purchase additional goods to assist you in the home.

We would advise anyone living with long-term medical conditions to invest in a personal alarm. If you’re concerned about door knockers, then perhaps installing some CCTV devices may help put your mind at ease.

Benefits and allowances

Ensure you’re receiving all the benefits and allowances which you are entitled to. You may think you’re already getting everything you can, but it’s worth double checking to make sure you haven’t missed anything or to see whether there’s anything new due soon which could benefit you and your finances.

The Cold Weather Cash and Winter Fuel Payment schemes were set up to help those with their energy bills – a utility bill many forget about. So be sure to check your eligibility for these, too, as the payments can be significant enough to really help cover the cost of home support. Other support that older people could receive include:

Ditch the big brands

Over 60s are entitled to free prescriptions on the NHS. However, many basic medications such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin are not prescription drugs. Older people can save pennies and even pounds by opting for generic over the counter tablets rather than the branded versions.

The active ingredient in these medicines is exactly the same and the only notable difference may be the taste and appearance and, of course, the cost, therefore there’s no reason not to make the most of the budget friendly alternatives.

The costs can quickly mount up for seniors looking for support in the home. However, taking steps to raise and save cash where possible is beneficial and can ease the cost of purchasing support aids for the home.

For further advice, read our article on the top 10 finance tips for older people. 

Personal Alarm Information

For more information about our life-saving personal alarm service, please get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2018 when you order one a personal alarm on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £5 off.

Winter is here, and while it can be an exciting and wonderful time of the year, the freezing temperatures can take its toll on anyone, especially older people. Apart from making our older loved ones more susceptible to colds and the flu, the cold weather can also be fatal for older people.

It has been said that one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold winter weather here in the UK.

Moreover, it was reported that cold homes are responsible for more deaths in the country than road accidents, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse. As temperatures are expected to drop even lower over the coming days, it is imperative to protect older adults by finding ways to keep them warm. Here are three practical tips for older people to follow in order to stay warm this winter.

1- Heat your home to the recommended temperatures

If you’re not very mobile, have a heart condition, heart or lung disease, or are over 65-years-old, you should heat your home to the ideal temperature. In the living room, the temperature should be set to 21⁰C, whilst in the bedroom it should be set to 18⁰C.

You can help to remain warm and safe at home by ensuring that you keep your windows closed, doors shut and your curtains closed when they are not in use. Keeping your curtains closed will help to prevent any droughts getting through to your room.

Installing a bio-ethanol fireplace is also a practical and safe way to keep your home warm is it gives off heat without smoke or soot. Consider placing the ethanol fireplace in an area of your home where your elderly loved one spends the most time, such as the living room.

2- Dress in layers

Wearing plenty of layers is essential if you’re to keep warm this winter. Wearing thin layers of clothing can keep a person warmer as compared to just wearing one thick jumper.

It’s also advisable to wear the proper footwear even if he or she is just staying at home. Non-skid socks are safe to wear and will keep an older adult’s feet warm even without wearing shoes.

3- Consume hot meals and beverages

Consuming enough food during the winter is important as food contains calories that the body needs to burn in order to keep warm.

Many older adults may not be mobile enough to prepare their own meals however. Prepare hot meals for your elderly loved ones this winter—rich meat and vegetable stews and hearty soups are particularly beneficial to keep warm.

You need to make sure that they drink lots of water to stay hydrated and that you serve plenty of hot drinks such as tea, coffee, or cocoa throughout the day.

Closing Thoughts on staying warm

The cold months can present a lot of health dangers for older people, but by helping them to keep warm, your elderly loved ones can stay safe and healthy this winter. If you suspect that your relative is ill or is showing early signs of hypothermia, consult your doctor immediately.

Have a question? Find out more about the personal alarm

For more information on purchasing one of our life-saving personal alarms, send an email at info@lifeline24.co.uk or speak to one of our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember to use the discount code BLOG2017 when you order one of our personal alarm systems on a Monthly or Annual Plan to receive £10 off.

Want to order your alarm or have a question? Get in touch!