This guide's goal is to share some advice, thoughts and tips around, as if from your future self, setting you up with the knowledge and confidence to help take care of someone who is getting that bit older. By introducing some of the main areas to start thinking about you can proactively plan and better prepare everyone involved for this next chapter of life.
Falling is detrimental to many parts of your older loved one's wellbeing. This guide walks you through ways to both prevent and react to this happening, while also understanding the layers of care and consideration we should have in place to keep a feeling of independence and confidence in mobility as our loved ones age.
COVID-19 has meant that things have changed a lot for your older loved one and Grandpal are here to support you through that change. This guide makes sure that those stepping up to provide elderly care have all of the possible resources to feel confident in that care, improving the quality of life of our older loved ones as we come to terms with the "new normal".
This guide focuses on another tough area of caregiving - the paperwork. Do you have an insight into their finances? Do they have a system and is everything in order? Have you suffered a loss and are now starting from scratch? Grandpal knows how overwhelming this is and we want to support through every step. This guide breaks it down and walks you through helpful ways of getting on top of things.
This type of care is provided on a short-term basis for severe injury or short term illness, recovery from surgery or for an urgent medical condition. Should you loved one need this level of care, they stay in residence for a temporary period. Acute Care is also known as Convalescent Care.
An Activities Coordinator is a specific person designated in a nursing home to organise activities for the residents. The main benefits of having an Activities Coordinator is that they can regularly organise structured and planned activities, and perhaps outings, based as much as possible on the likes and dislikes of the residents.
This is brain damage which occurs after birth and is not a result of genetic or fetal syndromes. Acquired Brain Injury can either be traumatic brain injury; from a physical accident, or nontraumatic; from the likes of a stroke, infection or brain tumor.
Alzheimer’s disease, which is a form of dementia, affects the brain. Symptoms normally first appear amongst those in their mid 60’s. Although, people can be diagnosed as late as in their 80’s. The disease causes memory loss and gets progressively worse as the years pass, eventually making it very difficult to carry out simple daily tasks.
This ‘Housing with Care’ is an option for those who do not need the 24 hour care provided by a Nursing Home, but need some assistance with daily living. Residents apart of Assisted Living live in specially designated accommodation. It can be a purpose built housing facility within itself or on the grounds of a nursing home. Assisted Living facilities can also be referred to as Retirement Villages.
A Care Plan is designed to specify the needs of your older relative and to record the care they are receiving. They are normally implemented by a care facility such as a nursing home or hospital.
They are used to ensure your loved one gets the right type of care at all times, regardless of who is working at that time. Care plans are modified and changed as the needs of your relative change. Facilities aim to create Care Plans with the patient as opposed to for the patient.
A Carer’s allowance is financial aid given by the government to those looking after an older person who is unable to care for themselves on a daily basis and needs constant supervision and assistance throughout the day.
It is designed to help those who are on a low income and are caring for someone they live with, or caring for them on a full time basis, for at least 12 months.
If an illness is described as chronic, then it is seen as a long-term illness which lasts at least 3 months. A chronic illness is one which cannot be cured by medicines or vaccines. A chronic illness can affect the way your loved one lives their life and so they will have to alter the way they live in order to help alleviate the symptoms or stresses of the illness.
Some examples of chronic illnesses affecting the ageing population are:
Type 2 diabetes
This form of care is provided to those who are just out of hospital before going home, are recovering from an operation or an injury, or as a transitional form of care after recovering from a lengthy illness. Convalescent care is a form of short-term care and can also be known as Acute Care.
Adult Day Care is a service to allow your ageing loved one to remain in their home and community whilst receiving some form of assistance outside the home. It typically consists of a non-residential centre where your relative can go to spend the day in order to give them or their primary carer some rest time.
Such centres normally operate during business hours from Monday to Friday. You can find varying types of Day Care which focus on different aspects of daily living, such as social interaction, medical care or dedicated Alzheimer’s care.
Dementia is a chronic illness affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease, rather a term to describe any disease which causes memory loss, changes in personality or difficulty in carrying out daily tasks. Examples of dementia related diseases are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia, which occurs following a stroke.
If Daycare centres and Nursing Homes specify that they have specialised Dementia Care facilities, this means their facility has been especially designed for those with dementia in mind. They will typically have specially trained staff working in an environment created to help optimise the daily living of those living with the disease.
Extensive research has been carried out to assist centres in creating this environment and stipulates how the facility should be decorated, what colours to use and the ambiance that should be created to help those with dementia feel relaxed and secure in their surroundings. Care facilities will typically provide sensory stimulation and theme the units to help trigger the patients memory wherever they can.
Elder abuse occurs when the relationship between your older loved one and someone close to them is being abused. This can happen with another family member, a neighbour or even a registered caregiver. The abuse can occur in a number of different ways from physical abuse, emotional, financial abuse, neglect or abandonment.
For more information on how to identify Elder Abuse and how to tackle it, just click here
Equity release can be used as a financial aid for your ageing relative. The scheme works whereby those aged 55 and over who own their own house can release or sell off a part of their property without having to repay the money while they’re still alive. They can also keep the home and don’t have to sell it until after they pass away.
The scheme is one way in which your older loved one can pay for their care as they age. For more detailed information on Equity Release in Ireland, just click here
Fair Deal is a scheme implemented by the HSE to provide financial support for those living in long-term residential nursing care. You pay a percentage of your assessable income and the HSE will pay the balance.
For more detailed information on who can apply and how much you will pay, take a read of our article Financial Aid Available to You and Your Relative as They Age
Previously known as ‘Home Help’ or ‘Home Care Package Scheme’, this service is provided to those who cannot fully look after themselves on a daily or weekly basis, but would like to stay in their own home and community as opposed to go into residential nursing care. The level and type of care provided depends on the need of your relative, but typical services include getting in and out of bed, dressing and undressing, personal hygiene care and taking medication.
For more detailed information on what Home Support Services involve, just check out our article Care Support Available to Your Loved Ones as They Age
In-Home Care is any such care which enables the patient to remain living in their own home whilst their needs (medical, help with daily tasks or social interaction) are being attended to. Examples of In-home care are:
- Home Support Service provided by the HSE.
- Regular visitors by a Pal from the organisation Grandpal
- Friendly call service provided by the volunteer charity Friends of the Elderly Ireland
For more information on care available to your loved ones, see our article Care Support Available to Your Loved Ones as They Age
Independent Living is when ageing people are still capable of looking after themselves on a daily basis. As part of maintaining their independence on a daily basis, they may wish to live in an Independent Living Facility where people over 55 live in a housing project where light assistance is at hand if they need it.
Long-term care is normally provided to the ageing population by their relatives or close family members. Those requiring long-term care normally need help carrying out daily tasks like getting dressed, bathing, cooking, cleaning or taking medication.
If your loved one requires supervision for a large part of the day or is suffering from a specific illness, then they can receive this long-term care in a facility such as a nursing home. Long-term care differentiates from short-term care in that there is no specific limit on how long they will stay.
This is a programme designed to provide meals to those you can’t prepare or cook their own. Home cooked meals are delivered to your door and typically includes a soup, main course and dessert. Although, this may vary depending on your area.
For more information on how to apply for Meals on Wheels in area, contact your local health office.
Find contact details for your local health office by clicking here
Needs assessment is carried out to by local authorities or nursing homes to determine the current condition of your ageing relative and what measures need to be taken in order to better that condition. Needs assessments help decide what level of care they require; whether it be occasional visits to their home, in-home care or residential nursing care.
It can be done in their own home by their local GP or a public health nurse, where their daily life is looked at carefully and they are asked a series of questions in relation to how they care for themselves.
Nursing Homes also carry out needs assessment to better place residents under the right level of care. You are normally asked to assist your older relative in completing an extensive form giving information about their medical history, daily living and hobbies and interests.
These disorders include epilepsy, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, migraine and other headache disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, neuroinfections, brain tumours, traumatic disorders of the nervous system due to head trauma, and neurological disorders as a result of malnutrition.
This is a button, found in hospitals and nursing homes which is normally placed at the patient’s bedside or in the bathroom, where they can be at their most vulnerable. When the button is pressed, it sends a signal to the nurses station that they need help.
Some buttons just transmit a buzzing noise and others allow the patient to talk directly to the nurse, who will then go and assist them. They provide a great sense of security to the patient as they know help is there whenever they need it.
Nursing homes are residential care facilities typically for older people, although some facilities also provide care to adults over 18 who are unable to care for themselves on a daily basis.
Nursing homes provide their residents with medical care, socialisation and personal support. They can be private, state run or voluntary. Residents can normally stay for different periods of time; short-term or long-term depending on their needs.
This form of therapy is used for those who are losing some level of their memory; typically for those with symptoms of dementia, but can be used for older people in general.
Reminiscence therapy is widely used in Nursing Homes and can be used by families to help jog the memory of your loved one through music, films, books, conversation or even decorating their living space to reflect their lives in the past.
Some Nursing Homes even use branding from the 40’s and 50’s to help create a familiar environment for their residents.
A Retirement Village, also known as Assisted Living, is a group of purpose built houses specifically designed for the ageing population. They usually consist of 1 or 2 bedroom houses or apartments.
Those living in a Retirement Village can benefit from living as independently as they can, whilst also having the security that someone is close to help when they need it or to help them on a daily basis with certain tasks. Retirement Villages are secure places for your loved one to live within their own space.