I recently did an Instagram Live with the founder of AgeSpace, Annabel James to discuss the ins and outs of elderly care. Lots of people joined us and gave us questions and some of their own experiences. So Grace and I thought it would be useful for those who could not join us and would like to hear her tips to share it here.
The AgeSpace website is a fantastic resource for anyone who is a carer. Women in their 50s have a 1 in 2 chance of being a carer so this Instagram Live video, below, may well be for you. However, as we get older ourselves many of the tips apply to organising our own lives. This will enable our children or loved ones to have less difficult decisions to take or hurdles to navigate.
I have also listed the organisations mentioned by Annabel James with links to their websites if appropriate.
3 THINGS WE MUST DO BEFORE WE DIE
- WRITING A WILL: 1 in people die without leaving a will.
- POWER OF ATTORNEY: Two need to be put in place
- a. Finance & Property. b. Wellbeing
STARTING THE CONVERSATION WITH AN ELDERLY PERSON;
A doctor, a friend or somebody they might respect might be the person to broach this.
GETTING SIBLINGS INVOLVED
Maybe forming the company of ‘Mum & Dad’ and playing to each sibling’s strengths e.g. a sibling living abroad may be the best person to run the accounts.
CARE AT HOME:
- Make best friends with the Community Nurse in the GP’s surgery who will put you in touch with all the services available.
- There is a whole lot of what is called, Social Prescribing ~ things to do in or outside the home that are not medical e.g. a podiatrist, occupational therapist etc that are useful for your wellbeing.
- AgeSpace have local hubs in 15 counties that may be able to help you in your area so pop your postcode in the box on their website and see if there is one close to you. These may be helpful. eg put you in touch with local, services, explain how your local authority works, how to access the NHS, and the local services like lunch clubs etc.
State Benefits – Attendance allowance which is not means tested and is available for anyone aged 65 & over and needs some help in the home.
Carers allowance – for one person delivering 35 hours of care per week.
NURSING CARE – coming out of hospital a patient is eligible for 6 weeks of personal care at home or in a nursing home.
CONTINUING CARE – all care is paid for. Dementia may not qualify you for it as you have to have an underlying health condition. Very difficult to get and it is a postcode lottery.
Beacon Family Services are an organisation that will help to fill in the forms for NHS care and will help you appeal the decision if necessary.
FINDING THE RIGHT CARERS OR NURSING HOME
CARE AT HOME:
First and foremost we must try and keep our elderly at home for as long as possible. So looking for carers at home depends on whether you want drop-in care staff or live-in carers. The Care Agencies are really pushed following the pandemic. However, there is lots of info on the AgeSpace website, click HERE.
NURSING HOME – what to look for and ask
- Turnover of staff
- Ratio of agency staff to employed staff.
- Look at the menus
- Find out what activities are available as patients have different needs
- How do they manage post-pandemic looking after both residents and staff
- Talk to family members of current residents
- Think about your choice of a care home. Should it be where the patient has lived and has friends to visit? Or do you move them nearer to you so that you can pop in and visit regularly?
ORGANISING ALL YOUR INFORMATION FOR YOUR OWN END OF LIFE
Annabel James wrote an article for our website explaining how her father prepared a file with every piece of information on what would be needed when he died. It is such a good idea. Do read the article HERE.
ORGANISATIONS THAT CAN HELP WITH ALL THE LEGAL SIDE
SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) – have certification to help look after elderly finances. Set up by two amazing women.
SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly)
There is so much more on the AgeSpace website – information on medical concerns like UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) – this is worth reading as it is a real lesson to learn. She not only explains the symptoms but also how to prevent them etc. Also, sections on Dementia and how to broach the subject, useful monitoring systems. This is the most useful website to visit and subscribe to. So please pop over to their website to find out more ~ www.agespace.org