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.
Elderly Parkinson’s Care and Support: UK GuideArticle by Daniel Westhead
Parkinson’s disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms in the elderly. While the condition is best known for causing tremors, muscle stiffness and slow movement, these physical symptoms aren’t the end of the story. Parkinson’s can cause many other issues, such as insomnia, balance problems and depression.
That’s why finding the right type of Parkinson’s support is essential. Fortunately, when it comes to Parkinson’s care and support, UK seniors have a variety of options to choose from. That allows them to select the right kind of care to help with their specific symptoms.
In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the options for Parkinson’s support, together with the costs of different types of elderly care and when an elderly person with Parkinson’s might need each kind of support.
A progressive condition
Older people with Parkinson’s disease will need different types of support and care depending on the progression of their condition. It’s also important to know that all elderly people with Parkinson’s will experience the condition differently, so there is no hard-and-fast rule for what types of care any individual person will need. Lifestyle changes can help people to handle the condition, and different symptoms may appear at very different times – or not at all – for different people.
That being said, Parkinson’s is a progressive condition, so symptoms can be expected to worsen at later stages of the disease. Here’s how symptoms may commonly change at different stages of the condition.
Newly diagnosed or early Parkinson’s support
Older people can experience the three Parkinson’s core symptoms, tremors, stiffness and slow movement at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. However, newly diagnosed people will likely have milder versions of these symptoms. At the onset of the disease, they may not affect daily activities at all.
An older person experiencing milder versions of these symptoms can likely live independently, perhaps with short visits from someone to help with daily tasks. For seniors with mild symptoms, a care plan should focus on giving them support that allows them to do as much as they can independently for as long as possible.
Early stages of Parkinson’s disease can also include symptoms like tiredness, insomnia, depression and anxiety, which require their own kinds of support.
Whether an older person with Parkinson’s disease lives entirely independently or with a little help at home, personal alarms offer great peace of mind and protection in case of emergencies.
An automatic fall detection alarm can tell if its wearer has taken a fall – and it calls for help right away all by itself. That’s always a risk given the Parkinson’s symptoms of tremor, stiffness and slow movement. Insomnia or fatigue due to Parkinson’s can also leave a senior drowsy and prone to a fall, and stiffness and tremor can make it hard to call for help after a fall.
With an automatic fall detection alarm, you don’t have to worry about difficulties with calling for help or even a fall that leaves a senior unconscious – either way, the alarm calls for help as soon as the fall happens, with no need for the wearer to do anything.
An automatic fall detection alarm with 24/7 monitoring connects to a response centre any time a fall is detected, even at night. This full-time protection can cost under £150 for the device plus a monthly fee for the monitoring service.
Help around the home
How about the costs of help at home?
At this stage of the condition, seniors might not need a professional carer yet. But services like meals on wheels, cleaners and gardeners can be immensely helpful in allowing a senior to remain in their own home as long as possible, so these also count as types of care.
The cost of meals on wheels depends on location, but they can range from £3-8 for a two-course meal. Meanwhile, gardening, cleaning and cooking may cost £15-£40 per hour, depending on the details of the service.
Mental health support
If seniors with early Parkinson’s are experiencing fatigue, insomnia, anxiety or depression, it’s important for them to talk to their GP. Some of these symptoms can be related to Parkinson’s medications.
Counselling, therapy or support groups can also be immensely helpful for seniors with Parkinson’s who are experiencing mental health troubles. For mental health Parkinson’s care and support, UK seniors can access services through their GP or a charity like Parkinson’s UK. Either way, there should be no costs associated with this type of support.
Middle and later stage Parkinson’s support
In the middle stages of the condition, older people with Parkinson’s disease may experience balance problems and might need a cane or other device to help with walking. This increases the risk of falls. A senior with Parkinson’s might also start to need daily help from a professional carer at this point.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, seniors may not be able to walk, meaning that they may use a wheelchair and might require full-time care.
Professional in-home care
Seniors who are beginning to need some help with tasks such as bathing and dressing as well as cooking and cleaning might want to seek out an in-home carer for a few hours each day.
The first step in seeking out this type of care is completing a care needs assessment from your local council. Through this assessment, the council will determine what sort of care you need. Subsequently, they will use a means test to determine whether you’re eligible for help to pay for care.
If you’re hiring in-home care privately, costs may be around £15-20 per hour, depending on details such as your location and the tasks you need help with.
Full-time care, either in your home or a care home
As a senior’s mobility decreases, full-time care may be necessary to keep them safe and well.
The cost of a full-time carer who lives in your home can be around £800 to £1,500 per week, according to Which? magazine. However, a care home can also cost around £800 per week, while a nursing home may run over £1,000 per week.
Personal alarms can also play a key role in a Parkinson’s support care plan for seniors who have carers – even those who have full-time care.
That’s because a carer can’t be alert 100% of the time. If an older person with Parkinson’s finds that they need assistance at night or when their carer is performing a task in another part of their home, they might still benefit hugely from a one-touch alarm that allows them to call for help with the touch of just one button.
That one-button setup makes it easy to call for help – even for people experiencing significant restrictions in movement due to Parkinson’s stiffness, slowness and tremors. A family and friends plan also means that your one-touch alarm can call your carer’s phone first – so you don’t have to save it just for extreme emergencies. A simple family and friends alarm like this can cost under £35.
All this being said, a fall detection alarm is still immensely useful in later stages of Parkinson’s disease as well. When Parkinson’s symptoms worsen, the risk of falling and difficulties in calling for help both increase, so an alarm that detects falls by itself provides much-needed peace of mind.
How SureSafe can help you stay safe with Parkinson’s disease
At SureSafe, we’re dedicated to providing easy-to-use, affordable and reliable personal alarms to help with elderly people’s needs, including those of older people with Parkinson’s disease.
In this article, we’ve only scratched the surface of what our alarms can offer in terms of Parkinson’s care and support to UK seniors with the disease. Our alarms can also allow GPS tracking, are available in talking pendant and wrist varieties, and can even remind you to take your medication.
To learn more or discuss which personal alarm is right for you or an elderly loved one with Parkinson’s disease, give us a call at 0800 112 3201, reach out through our live chat or request a call back.