Who To Contact When Worried About The Elderly Who To Contact When Worried About The Elderly
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Who To Contact When Worried About The Elderly

Worrying about the well-being of elderly family members or friends is a common concern. And oftentimes, this concern will extend beyond physical safety; mental health is an integral part of the equation, too. As a result, this guide (unlike most you will find online, sadly) offers advice on home safety, personal assistance and the support services available, all while considering the crucial aspect of depression in the elderly.

Before we look at who to contact when worried about an elderly individual, the first step in addressing concerns should be initiating a conversation with them. You’ll likely find that simple interventions can significantly improve their quality of life by addressing daily challenges. The following section looks at some of the daily physical challenges faced by the elderly, and what tools are available to help.

Concern For An Elderly Person's Physical Health

One of the more common concerns for elderly individuals is their accessibility to essential supplies. By offering assistance with online shopping you can help to ease this burden. Setting up a system for them and aiding in the weekly unpacking not only ensures a seamless supply of food but also provides a supportive measure.

Beyond accessibility to essential supplies, many of us worry about an elderly person’s physical safety in the home (particularly those who have recently experienced a fall). Thankfully, there are various home modification aids available to establish an environment that prioritises both security and accessibility for the elderly.

Strategically placed grab bars in bathrooms, bedrooms, and seating areas offer reliable support for the elderly. These wall-mounted handles not only enhance safety but also promote independence in everyday activities. Modern designs seamlessly blend functionality with aesthetics, allowing elderly individuals to confidently navigate their homes.

For those living in multiple floor homes, staircases may also present a daily challenge. Stairlifts present a convenient solution, allowing elderly individuals to move between levels comfortably and safely. Equipped with user-friendly controls, these motorised chairs eliminate physical strain and potential hazards associated with stairs. Similarly, ramps may also be used to enhance accessibility both indoors and outdoors. Typically installed at entrances, ramps facilitate easy entry and exit, contributing to improved mobility for everyday tasks.

If you’re worried about an elderly person’s safety outside of the home, then a personal alarm (such as the YourStride alarm watch) can greatly reduce anxiety. Featuring fall detection as well as a dedicated SOS button, YourStride connects to an emergency monitoring centre staffed by a friendly and experienced team. Best of all, it works 24/7, anywhere in the UK.

If medication management is a concern, then pill dispensers offer a simple solution by automating the process. These devices dispense the correct dose at scheduled times, reducing the risk of missed or double doses. Advanced features such as programmable schedules and alarms enhance accuracy, while some devices even allow remote monitoring for added peace of mind.

These are just a few of the challenges faced by the elderly, and it’s important to note that these will vary from person to person. The key, however, is to open an honest dialogue and gain an understanding of the challenges faced. Once you have that information, you will be in a better position to provide support where it’s most needed.

For more information on helpful aids for the elderly, please click here.

Concern For An Elderly Person’s Mental Health

Elderly individuals may face unique challenges that impact their emotional and psychological state. Recognising and addressing concerns for an elderly person's mental health is a compassionate and essential aspect of caregiving.

Recognising depression in the elderly often begins by identifying a persistent sadness - a deep, enduring emotional state that can cast a shadow over every aspect of their life. Again, encouraging open conversations becomes vital to gaining an understanding, serving as the first step in addressing a mental health issue.

A hallmark of depression is the loss of interest in activities that once brought joy. For the elderly, this disengagement from life can lead to isolation, a significant contributing factor to depression. Encouraging them to re-engage in modified versions of activities they once enjoyed can be crucial in addressing this symptom.

Sleep disturbances, too, are a common and significant symptom of depression in the elderly. Persistent difficulties with falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restorative sleep can impact their mood. Recognising these sleep-related issues is crucial, as improving sleep patterns can be pivotal in managing the broader spectrum of depression.

If you observe persistent symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess the situation, diagnose any underlying issues, and recommend appropriate treatments or therapies. Therapists specialising in geriatric mental health play a crucial role in offering valuable support. Through individual or group therapy sessions, they create a safe space for elderly individuals to explore their emotions and learn effective coping mechanisms.

In cases where mental health conditions may require medication, it is essential to ensure regular monitoring and consultation with healthcare professionals to make any necessary adjustments. This comprehensive approach to professional support ensures that the elderly receive the care and intervention needed to maintain their mental well-being.

For more information on depression in the elderly, please click here.

Who To Contact When Worried About The Elderly?

In cases where personal interventions are not sufficient, seeking professional support becomes crucial. Here's a breakdown of who to contact in various situations:

  • Immediate Threat or Emergency - Call 999: In situations where there's an immediate threat or emergency, dialling 999 is crucial for swift intervention. Whether it's a medical emergency, a fall, or any situation requiring urgent attention, emergency services are equipped to handle these scenarios. First responders can provide immediate medical assistance and transport the elderly individual to the hospital if necessary. It's essential to stay calm, provide necessary information, and follow the guidance of the emergency services operator.
  • Non-Emergency Situations - Call 111: Not all situations require immediate emergency services, but guidance is still needed. In non-emergency situations, calling 111 connects you with professionals who can provide advice on the next steps. Trained staff will assess the situation, offer guidance on care or treatment, and direct you to the appropriate healthcare services. This helpline is particularly valuable for situations that, while not emergencies, still require attention and assessment by medical professionals.
  • Ongoing Mental Health Problems - Schedule an Appointment with a GP: If an elderly individual is dealing with persistent mental health problems, they should be encouraged to schedule an appointment with a General Practitioner (GP). GPs are trained to assess mental health conditions, provide diagnoses, and offer treatment options. They can also refer individuals to specialist mental health services or support groups. Initiating a conversation with a GP opens the door to professional guidance and ensures a comprehensive approach to managing mental health issues.
  • Concerns about an Elderly Neighbour or Relative's Mental Health - Contact Your Local Council: If you have concerns about an elderly person's health, especially if they are unwilling to accept help, contacting your local council is a proactive step. Raising an adult safeguarding concern allows local authorities to investigate and assess the situation. Social services can intervene to provide support, whether it's through mental health services, counselling, or other appropriate interventions. Local councils often have dedicated teams to handle adult safeguarding concerns and ensure the well-being of vulnerable individuals.
  • Visiting or Live-In Health Care Options: For situations where an elderly person struggles with mental health management or living alone, exploring visiting or live-in health care options is essential. Professional caregivers specialising in elderly support can provide tailored assistance. This can include regular check-ins, medication management, and emotional support. Live-in care ensures round-the-clock monitoring and assistance, offering peace of mind for both the elderly individual and their loved ones. Exploring these care options ensures that the specific mental health needs of the elderly are addressed comprehensively.

YourStride Alarm Watch: Empowering Independence and Safety

In addition to proactive home modifications and personalised assistance, the YourStride alarm watch offers an innovative solution to address safety concerns for the elderly. This fall alarm watch provides 24/7 emergency help with automatic fall detection, ensuring true security and peace of mind for both the elderly and their families. Operating anywhere in the UK, 24/7, this watch offers protection whether at home, in the garden, or out and about.

YourStride alarm watch

To request emergency support, the elderly individual can simply press the SOS button on the watch or rely on the watch's automatic fall detection feature. Once triggered, the user can speak directly through the watch with the dedicated 24/7 monitoring team. This team promptly dispatches the necessary help to the user's location, providing swift assistance in times of need. YourStride bridges the gap between immediate response and professional support, offering an added layer of security for the elderly.

In times of concern for the elderly, a multifaceted approach that combines personal interventions, mental health awareness, professional guidance, and, if necessary, long-term care options is essential. By understanding who to contact and when to consider various solutions, you can navigate the complexities of elderly care, ensuring the safety, comfort, and mental well-being of your loved ones. YourStride, as part of this holistic approach, offers independence, security, and peace of mind, contributing to a comprehensive strategy for elderly well-being. Click here to order the YourStride alarm watch today.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.