Health and Social Care for The Elderly In Crisis

Care In The Community – Crisis Highlighted in Age UK Report:

I came across an interesting report by Age UK which highlights the crisis in the Health and Social Care provisions for the aging population.

http://ageuk.org.uk/templates/newsarticle.aspx?id=18603&epslanguage=en-GB&twtbtn=True

Having spent the last 6 months providing care for my dad, I have to say, that accessing support services was not easy or clearly signposted in a way that gave me a defined pathway to follow.

In the first instance the only signpost I had for support was the ‘Cardiac Therapy Group’ as identified in one of my earlier posts.  These details were given to my dad on his hospital discharge, and proved to be a great source of support and advice.  Apart from that, I had no details of any other possible options from within the Health and Social Care Community.

Looking back I felt very anxious taking my dad home from hospital, armed with a bag of medication and information leaflets.

Having now experienced the minefield of access to ‘Community Services’ I feel ready to share my experience of gaining access to vital support services.

In my next post I will highlight the benefits of talking to professionals, and how these individuals have been influential in helping me to care for my dad. .

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Taking Time-Out

Time to recharge:

Over the last few months caring for my dad, I have been asked if I have been taking some time-out for myself, and most of the time the advice has been for me to find this time to avoid burnout I expect.

I have listened, and I have been aware this is something I need to do. . Although it is easier said than done, when you are constantly thinking of the wellbeing of someone else.

Today, I decided to take the advice, and have some time out, just a few hours to enjoy a walk in the park.

I am so pleased I did, as I was confronted with some of the most beautiful colours of Autumn at Calderstones Park in Liverpool.

Beautiful Colours of Autumn

A Positive Outcome

Small Steps – Positive Results:

My recent posts have described the journey I have taken with my dad throughout his recovery and rehabilitation after his heart attack. Today’s post is a pleasure to write, as I can finally see the results of the actions taken to support him on his road to recovery.

The last 5 months have been a worrying time for me and my family, as we didn’t think we would get my dad back to a good state of health. I worried that this may be the start of his road to ill-health, and that I would have to consider the options available to us if things became worse.

I am pleased to report that my dad has shown some real improvement in the last few weeks, although still requiring my help and support, I am seeing the positive changes that I can only hope will continue.

There have been some mornings when he forgot to take his medication on time, but most of the time he is showing he can be trusted to take all his medication, and is aware of the efforts he has to make to keep himself healthy.

Spending so much time with my dad over the last few months I have been able to witness so many things about him, which has helped me to help him.  I became aware of the little memory lapses, although dad would show he understood the things he needed to do, when he was left on his own he would forget easily therefore,  to help him I set up a whiteboard in his kitchen.

I would write the day and date (as my dad easily forgets what day it is) and I list a few simple things that he needs to do each day such as:

  • Breakfast – Take Tablets and Inhaler
  • Lunch – Take Folic Acid Tablets
  • Messages – If he has any appointment (such as the physiotherapist calling)

I also gave him a note book with a list of his medication against the day (morning, afternoon, evening) this showed him when he should be taking them, and his task was to tick the list once the medication had been taken.  This also acted as another reminder should he forget if he had taken them. .

All dad’s medication was prepared in a ‘Pill Box Organiser’ with the days/am/pm  another easy reminder that he had taken them. . .These small things have been a great help to dad, and he is quite proud showing me when he has completed these little tasks.

The ‘Care Package’ we put in place has now been stopped, at my dad’s request as he wanted to show he could now cope without that support, and I respected his decision on this.  Although the services are just a phone call away if we needed to reinstate this at anytime.

I also have a ‘Care Line’ in place and my my dad wears a ‘Falls Detector’ on his wrist (a bit liked a wristwatch) this is another source of support and emergency response, which gives us peace of mind.

Details can be found on the follow link:

http://www.knowyourcare.co.uk/i-need-help-with/living-at-home/living-safely-at-home/telecare/emergency-alarms.aspx

Things are looking good, and I feel a lot happier and less stressed about the situation, hopefully the positive steps will continue. . .

Individuals

And each patient is a real person, individual, with their own needs. . There is a life and a story behind each person, especially our elders. . .

The aging population should be respected, and treated with dignity, in sickness and in health. We should embrace their knowledge and wisdom, we should take the time to listen to their stories. All too often that person is seen as the patient, let them also be seen as the person.

Is society today doing enough for the aging population?
Are we all responsible for our aging family?

I came across this lovely article from the Huffington Post which I wanted to share >

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pope-francis-respect-the-elderly_56040d55e4b00310edfa386e