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An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.

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Balancing Working Full-Time and Caring for an Elderly Parent

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

It’s always difficult to see your parents growing older and needing more help, so it’s natural to want to help them when you can. At the same time, you might still need or want to remain full-time in your career.

That’s the situation many people in the UK find themselves in – they’re both working full-time and caring for elderly parents in their spare time.

But when an older parent’s need for help is increasing, how can you ensure they’re safe at home so that you can stay in work for as long as possible? And how can you protect your own mental health and well-being while you’re managing your job and taking care of a parent?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to make this difficult situation easier and help protect yourself from burnout while protecting your older parent from risks related to ageing.

1. Ensure your older parent is getting all the help they’re entitled to from your council

The first step we’ll recommend is simple – if your older parent hasn’t yet had a care needs assessment from the council, request one.

During the care needs assessment, someone from the council will ask your elderly parent questions to see how they are managing their daily life tasks and what might help them. You might find the council has helpful recommendations and advice, or even that your older parent is eligible for some free help.

The care needs assessment might then prompt the council to do a home assessment, which asks whether changes can be made to your older parent’s home to make it more accessible and safer for them.

That brings us to our next point, which is …

2. Take advantage of technology and home adaptations

An essential tip to prevent caregiver burnout is for carers to let technology and tools do the work whenever possible.

This is actually important for seniors as well as for carers. Everyone treasures their independence, so if technology can help older people to continue doing tasks on their own, it’s a win for everyone.

So, what kinds of technology and adaptations can you consider?

Home adaptations for safety and accessibility

When it comes to older people’s health, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Health crises such as falls can have long-term, serious impacts on a senior’s wellbeing and care needs, so it’s critical to take steps to avoid them whenever possible. A home needs assessment can help with ideas about what to do.

For example, since bathrooms are a danger zone with their slippery floors and tubs, you might consider bathroom adaptations such as grab bars or a walk-in shower. As well as making the bathroom safer, these can help elderly people to take care of their hygiene needs more independently.

It’s also wise to ensure floors are clear, with no trip hazards like rugs, and that they’re not slippery. Install good lighting to help seniors with weaker vision. If an older parent with poor mobility has to go upstairs to their bedroom, consider moving it downstairs.

Personal alarms

Another great preventative measure is a personal alarm. This device is an important safety measure both for seniors who live alone and those who live with family but are alone while their carer works. It ensures that if an emergency does occur, an older person can call for help fast with the touch of a button – there’s no need to try to walk to a phone. You can also get an alarm with fall detection functionality. This type of alarm can tell when its wearer has fallen and will call for help automatically, even if the wearer is unconscious.

Smart home devices

A smart home device can make things easier for a senior in many ways. It can answer questions, monitor home temperature and provide reminders about things like doctor’s appointments or medication. It can also link up with home alarms such as burglar alarms.

Home cameras

If your older parent is happy to use them, then home cameras can also be very helpful in assuaging worries about your older parent’s wellbeing while you’re at work. You can often just check on them through your smartphone.

3. Ask for a carer’s assessment for yourself

We’ve already discussed two types of assessments for your older parent – the care needs assessment and the home assessment. But this type of assessment is for you as their carer.

If you’re working full-time and caring for an elderly parent, then you won’t be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. However, there may be other help that the council can provide for you.

A carer’s assessment will assess how your care work is affecting you and whether anything can help you. They might offer you their own help or support, or they might offer you advice about where you can find it. Either way, there are no drawbacks to just going through the assessment.

4. Take advantage of respite care and other small forms of help

People who aren’t familiar with caring for an older relative might imagine care options as a set of simple possibilities – an elderly person remains living alone, lives with family, or goes into a care home. But in fact, one key to success with caring is realising that great care can often be a combination of different, effective methods.

Your older parent might be alone in their home sometimes, helped out by tech and devices. After work, you could be with your elderly parent providing care. And at other times, you can seek out “in-between” care options to help make things a little easier for you.

For example, the term “respite care” covers a variety of different types of care, but the main idea of it is that someone else is doing the care for a short while so that you can rest. If you’re worried about your older parent being alone for long periods of time while you work, a day centre might be just the thing. These provide a light level of care that’s great for older people who don’t have high needs and just need some company and a meal. Some care homes also allow older people to stay there for a short time to allow their carers to take a break.

In a similar vein, the Royal Voluntary Service offers older people help with small, daily tasks – or one of their volunteers can just visit a senior to chat and provide company.

If you’re interested in options for respite care or additional help, the carer’s assessment is a great time to ask about what might be available for you in your area.

5. Take advantage of the new carer’s leave

From 6th April 2024, carers will be legally entitled to take one week of leave per year to provide care. This is called carer’s leave. You don’t have to take all of the time at once, either. You can spread it out as days or half days over time.

Supports for elderly people and their carers from SureSafe

If you’re working full-time and caring for an elderly parent, you’ll know it’s not easy. But small supports can build together to help smooth the way, allowing you to take care of your parent and your own wellbeing – and allowing you to remain in work for as long as possible.

At SureSafe, our personal alarms for the elderly are designed to protect older people. But they also protect carers, relieving a little of the worry that comes when a parent becomes frailer or begins struggling with some tasks. While you’re at work, a SureSafe alarm gives you the reassurance that that your elderly parent will never be without help in a crisis.

If you’d like to chat with us about which of our highly rated and affordable alarms might suit you, just give us a call on 0800 112 3201. Alternatively, you can get in touch through our live chat or request a call back.

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