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Reducing Your Risk of Dementia Britain has an aging population, with more than 10 million people, a significant portion of our population of 70 million, over the age of 65. This poses serious consequences for public services, notably...

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Help For Those Caring for the Elderly According to the charity Age UK, there are nearly 14.5 million people in the UK who are aged 60 or above; there are more pensioners in the country than there are children under 16, and this means that...

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4 Best Ways to Gain Supporters for your Charity In these tough economic times and with 180,000 different charities registered in Britain alone, they all have to compete harder to gain the funds they need for success. A one dimensional campaign is no...

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What You Need To Know About Accidents at Work Accidents at work are an unfortunate occurrence within the lives of many employees.  More than 100,000 injuries to employees were reported in a year long period prior to 2012, and workplace injuries and...

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Make A Change In Your Community “Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.” ― William Arthur...

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Reducing Your Risk of Dementia

Britain has an aging population, with more than 10 million people, a significant portion of our population of 70 million, over the age of 65. This poses serious consequences for public services, notably health care. One issue that is of particular concern is the increasing number of people suffering from dementia, a serious condition that requires a great deal of support and care.

Elderly Lady

There are numerous causes of dementia, some unavoidable, but there are many things that you can do throughout your lifetime to significantly reduce your risk of suffering in your old age. There is increasing evidence that a person’s lifestyle influences how at risk they are, so follow these three simple lifestyle changes to lower your risk.

Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet throughout your lifetime will really lower your risk of developing dementia in your later years. A good diet is essential for a happy and healthy life anyway, but if a reduced likelihood of suffering from this terrible disease is enough to spur you on to making healthier food choices, then now is the time to change your bad habits.

Healthy Food

Cut back on the fatty, processed fast foods. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a greasy takeaway once in a while, but don’t live off them. Incorporate plenty of whole foods and fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet. The NSH website has some great basic advice on what constitutes a healthy diet.

Quit Smoking

Research from 2010 shows that if you smoke, your risk of dementia is significantly higher than it is for non-smokers. There are numerous other reasons to quit smoking aside from the increased risks of dementia, so we’d strongly recommend that you do so if you want to lead a longer and healthier life. Quitting cold turkey is difficult, but cessation aids such as Nicorette patches or YouCig e cigs can be very helpful in weaning you off tobacco. If you can manage to quit without help, then better still.

Keep Active

Exercising regularly and keeping your mind active by trying new things will help you to stay sharp and alert well into your old age. Slipping into a sedentary lifestyle of inactivity and routine is generally quite dull anyway, so why not make a change for the better?

Yoga

You should exercise daily, even something as simple as a brisk walk around the park can help, but why not challenge yourself a little and see if you can’t turn that brisk walk into a run? Also, consider trying new things that’ll test your mental capabilities, such as learning a new language or a musical instrument. Checkout the absolute beginners guide to exercise from WebMD if you’re at a loss as to where to start.

By following these simple guidelines not only will you greatly reduce the odds of you suffering from dementia in later life, but you’ll also lead a much healthier and happier life too. It makes sense to be healthy.

Help For Those Caring for the Elderly

Caring for Elderly

According to the charity Age UK, there are nearly 14.5 million people in the UK who are aged 60 or above; there are more pensioners in the country than there are children under 16, and this means that there’s also an increasing number of people who find themselves caring for an elderly parent or relative. There are many difficulties and pressures involved in this responsibility; but also a number of resources to help.

Heating

28,000 older people (65 and over) die from the effects of the cold every year in the UK alone. With rising energy bills, the cost of heating can often be a major concern for the elderly and their carers. The Winter Fuel Payment is available to anybody born on or before the 5 January 1952, and is a tax free lump sum to help pay for heating during the colder months. It is usually automatically granted if the elderly person receives the State Pension or another social security benefit, but if that is not the case then a claim must be made.

Eating

It’s currently estimated that 1.3 million people over 65, the large majority of whom live in the community, suffer from malnutrition. Sometimes this is due to financial concerns; in other cases, it’s simply because the elderly person struggles to get about and has difficulty preparing meals. For carers who are unable to be there full-time, the original “meals on wheels” service from the Royal Voluntary Service can be a great help, delivering hot meals to the elderly for immediate consumption, or frozen meals which can easily be prepared later.

Disability & Illness

Disabilities and illnesses often afflict the elderly, which can be very difficult to cope with for both the sufferer and the carer. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect many elderly people – it’s estimated that 62,000 people develop Alzheimer’s each year – and dementia is one of the leading causes of disability in later life. Some carers find that the pressures of dealing with a loved one who has these issues is simply too much, and make the difficult decision of sending them to a care home – in which case, Age UK offers advice on choosing a care home.

Other serious illnesses are also more common in elderly patients. Asbestos related diseases, like mesothelioma and malignant lung cancer for example, rarely affect the young as they take so many years for symptoms to develop. In the case of such industrial diseases, it is often possible to claim compensation through specialists like the Asbestos Advice Helpline, which can help to pay for hospice care and other medical expenses.

Whatever problems you face in caring for an elderly relative, it is wise to consult charities like Age UK and Carers UK to ensure that you have all the assistance and help you need.

4 Best Ways to Gain Supporters for your Charity

In these tough economic times and with 180,000 different charities registered in Britain alone, they all have to compete harder to gain the funds they need for success. A one dimensional campaign is no longer enough, you have to advertise in every form to get noticed. With Christmas fast approaching, now is the time to launch a campaign and many people are inclined to chose a “Christmas charity” to donate to, as an act of compassion. Make sure you get your message out so people will choose you in the season of giving.

1) Television Advert Campaigns: TV is such a powerful medium; it’s estimated there are 52.2 million TVs owned in the UK. In just two minutes of footage you can tell a story, provoke emotion, engage your audience and you can also appeal to them for help. Direct Response marketing is the best format of TV advert for a charity as you get a fair amount of time to tell an emotive anecdote. At the end of a DR advert, there will be an appeal to contact the charity through phone or text so that audience members can sign up or send money in support. All Response Media offer a powerful and knowledgeable service to construct your DRTV advert. Click here for further details.

2) Organise Your Own Large-Scale Charity Events. Just like the major children’s charities have their massive televised entertainment bonanzas such as comic relief, you should hold your own budgeted version. Luckily, if you explain you’re a charity some companies are inclined to do things at discounted prices and you can even persuade celebrities to perform for free if you know the right people. Why not hold a charity Christmas ball? If you network you could find a venue for fairly cheap. A beautiful period ballroom would entice guests. Click here to view Walcott Hall, a gorgeous 18th century property. Appeal to companies to donate products and gifts and then raffle these off to make a funding profit.

3) Design and send email newsletters. It’s important to keep your existing patrons, members and supporters up to date with progress. People like to see where their money has gone and also like hearing about positive changes. If you send an email newsletter about your progress, and show pictures of projects too, then people will be inclined to continue supporting you, as they wish to be a part of something good. You can also email potential supporters. This is not as easy, because it will be classed as spam, however if you attend large charity events or trade shows, you can ask people to sign up and give their contact details, without donating upfront. There are many user-friendly email marketing software packages available on the web. Click here to check out Newsweaver software.

4) Leaflet campaigns. The benefits of leaflet marketing are that it’s cheap, simple to design and you can easily monitor responses. There is a recipe for success: use a large, striking image; keep words to a minimum but make them as emotive as possible and make it easy for people to respond and donate. Leaflets are nowhere as captivating as a TV advert, but if your budget won’t stretch to TV then you need to make your paper based campaign engaging. Use images that evoke emotion: a cute child, injured animal, images that shock such as destruction or odd images that stir curiosity. Keep text minimal and make your message clear. Tell the reader what they need to know and what they can do to help. For direct response marketing strategies you should provide a website, free phone number or freepost reply address to send donations.

What You Need To Know About Accidents at Work

Accidents at work are an unfortunate occurrence within the lives of many employees.  More than 100,000 injuries to employees were reported in a year long period prior to 2012, and workplace injuries and ill health are thought to have cost the economy approximately £13.4 billion during the previous financial year. Workplace injuries are taken very seriously by the government, and incidents that occur without satisfactory explanations can cost companies a lot of money. Have a look at this recent article on the BBC News website that reports how one business has been fined more than £60,000 for breaches of workplace health and safety.

There are many legislations operating within a workplace to ensure the safety of those who work within it, and the employer or contractor has a duty to ensure these employees remain as safe as possible. The Health and Safety Executive is a great resource to make use of if you’re at all unsure of your rights or responsibilities within the workplace, so be sure to visit their website on if you’d like to more information.

Injuries in the workplace require appropriate methods of treatment, but many seemingly innocuous accidents can result in lingering conditions that can be overlooked. Joint and muscle problems are a great case in point, as many people continue to struggle with these issues without attempting to fully overcome their symptoms. Physiotherapy is an effective treatment method to make use of, as it not only rehabilitates the after effects of a muscle or joint injury, but also prevents the condition from readily recurring. There are many physiotherapy services on a country wide basis, but it certainly pays to make sure that you choose to use a service that is fully registered with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The Physiotherapy Clinic is one example of a suitable facility, so be sure to visit their website if you’re a local in the London area.

Victims of work related accidents that were caused by circumstances outside of their control may also be entitled to compensation. UK law fully supports the awarding of financial compensation to many victims of accidental injury situations, and law teams like those at Claims.com offer comprehensive services that can assist injured parties to pursue a legitimate case without needing to trawl through large masses of paperwork themselves. Cast your eyes over to their website to find out more about how this claims process works.

Despite many precautionary measures, work related accidents still remain a problem within the UK. If you’ve been the victim of such an accident, it’s well worth pursuing whatever level of treatment that might be necessary in order to rehabilitate yourself fully. Investigating any possibilities of compensation that may available is also highly recommended, as it can definitely help to make an uncomfortable process a little bit easier. The facilities are there to help you, so it only makes sense to use them.

Make A Change In Your Community

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”
― William Arthur Ward

Contemporary culture is very good at keeping us apart – involved in our own busy lives, houses, relationships – hooked up to mass media and economics – with precious little time or inclination to reach out – to work, talk, and share with individuals unlike ourselves, or to really engage with the  place we live. This is great for profits, but harmful for communities, friendships and humanity! Therefore, below are 5 ways to make your community stronger, wiser and more engaged. There are hundreds of other methods but these will do for now!

  • Get involved in local government. Most municipal governments, especially the smaller ones are helped by a network of volunteer commission and boards that tackle everything from recycling and developments of culture and art. These are usually very significant elements of community living that don’t always get the time and attention they need. So, take action! Visit your local municipal website and search for volunteer opportunities! Also, if you are a passionate Christian you can help your church! Click here to find out more about upcoming projects!
  • Take care of the environment. According to a recent publication on ‘Clean Up’, available here, cigarette butts have become one of the most important litter issues. They are not recyclable, and they are very harmful to environment and especially animals. Also, areas with a high number of littered cigarette butts look dirty and uncared for, which attracts more littering of other rubbish items. So, if you smoke, carry a pocket ashtray instead of throwing your cigarette butts on the ground. Don’t forget to encourage others to do the same!
  • Give blood. This is one of the easiest things you could ever do to help someone. For those needing blood transfusions, blood donors really are their lifeline! So, take action! In the UK, find your local Red Cross Chapter (click here for more information about British Red Cross) and go from there. If you’re very motivated and passionate about helping others, talk to your employer about becoming a corporate partner and organize a blood drive at work.
  • Interact with your community members. Interacting lets people know that someone is listening. Make comments in community forums and frequent interactions with group creators. Also, ask questions that matter to the community! According to Lawrence Robinson and Jeanne Segal and their recent article on ‘Help Guide’, (you can read a full article here) asking questions is recognized as a nice way of generating discussion. However, this only works if the questions you ask are relevant to your audience. So, take the time to understand what your audience reacts to and then plan around this!
  • Donate to charity. Help those in need by giving a few additional pounds to your preferred charity. Some individuals donate 5 percent of every pay check, but you can help even if you don’t have money to give. Instead of giving economically, give what you have, such as donating clothing to your local Salvation Army or British Heart Foundation shop or giving books to libraries, schools or shelters. You can also donate supplies to an animal shelter or food to a local food bank.

In summary, helping your community through volunteer groups, charity or other means does so much to help those that are in need and contribute to the common good. You can help in many different ways, by giving money or giving your time and skills. No matter how you do it, it will touch many people’s lives.

 

Coping With PTSD: Panorama Highlights Army Cases

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder which can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic, stressful or frightening event. It can be a debilitating condition characterised by painful flashbacks and nightmares and sufferers often experience increased feelings of irritability, isolation and guilt. Soldiers are particularly at risk of suffering PTSD as they experience such harsh and traumatic conditions when on tour.

A recent Panorama programme, Broken by Battle, highlights the prevalence of PTSD amongst ex-soldiers and also presents evidence they have found to the effect that more UK soldiers have taken their own lives since returning from Afghanistan than were killed in conflict there in 2012. The link between suicide and PTSD is not clear and there is no way to confirm that the high number of suicides is due to PTSD. The show is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

For anyone suffering with PTSD, it can be difficult to know what to do and where to turn to. It is worth reiterating at every given opportunity that there is help available. If you are worried about your state of mind or feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are unable to cope, do not hesitate to contact medical professionals. In an emergency, The Samaritans can be found here, whilst your GP will be able to organise a long-term care package with you.

Your mental health should never be taken lightly. If you suffer from PTSD or have any other mental health concerns, there are a number of support networks available. Many ex-servicemen and other sufferers of PTSD struggle to accomplish simple daily tasks or to keep a steady job, due to the disturbance to their routines. Blackwater Law can help you make a PTSD compensation claim. They can also offer advice about other armed forces claims so if you are suffering there may be opportunity for financial recompense. This can help to cover medical fees, loss of earnings and pay for other associated costs.

If you are looking for more information, The Independent recently published this article, in which they discuss the efforts of the Armed Forces to educate medical professionals in veteran support. The key point to remember is to admit to difficulty, to implement relaxation techniques and to embrace the psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy solutions that are available. This article, from a trusted professional counselling website, offers some useful tips on how to cope too.

The difficulties that people face in coping with PTSD cannot be underestimated. It is fair to say that mental health issues can often be more difficult, and more insidious, than physical trauma, for both war veterans and civilians alike.

Living With Disability

Living with a disability can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be life-ending. This blog is aimed at those who have experienced a change of circumstances recently and are having to re-evaluate their day-to-day living. By providing them with some potentially new information, it aims to make people aware of the options available to them.

People can often find, particularly if they have only recently become disabled, that a strong support network is a vital thing. Family and friends should of course provide fantastic help, but it can also be of real benefit to talk to people in similar situations, or those who have experience of living with disability. Websites like www.disabilitynow.org.uk amalgamate great resources and produce their own content by people in the know for the disabled community. Whether you’re living with disability firsthand or as a person caring for someone else, a great place to visit is www.disabilitybook.co.uk to get free information and community support.

Practical issues can often be as burgeoning as emotional ones, if not more so, as you might find that getting around becomes a more frustrating venture than you may previously have been used to. Entering a new world of mobility, it’s best to furnish yourself with as much information as possible. Visit forums and talk to people about how they get from A to B, and, if necessary, read up on articles such as www.alfredbekker.co.uk/buying-guides/buying-a-wheelchair  so you can better equip yourself with the knowledge of what you might need. If you do require a wheelchair then head to www.discountmobilitydirect.co.uk for a range of wheelchairs, as well as a variety of disability friendly furniture. Disabled Car 1

Longer journeys will require road going transport, and if you intend to drive then it’s quite possible that you will need a specifically adapted vehicle to aid with the journey. Specialist companies such as www.gleneaglesconversions.co.uk or www.clarkemobility.com can be found up and down the length of the country and are dedicated to providing easy, independent transport solutions for wheelchair users.

Living with disability can come as a major upheaval to those not used to it. This blog isn’t intended as an exhaustive list of requirements, but rather as a starter for those adjusting to being disabled. For more information visit www.gov.uk/browse/disabilities as the number resource you will need. This website contains all the official information on your rights, benefits and carers if required, as well as the Equality Act.

Chari-teen: The Benefits of Volunteering

How many times have you gone for a job somewhere, and they’ve told you need more experience? If you only have experience scrubbing pots or cleaning up hospital floors from your teen years, how are you supposed to get a job you really want? It’s already tough enough trying to find a job that pays enough, gives you sufficient hours, and doesn’t fill you with dread at the thought of going in every morning. In this economical climate, it seems like too much to ask, so how do you get out of the dumps and into the workplace?

 

The answer lies in volunteering. Most sales people start off volunteering in a charity shop and eventually gain enough experience to apply for a paid position somewhere else. Working in a charity shop has many benefits, though there is a significant downside what with it being unpaid work. Despite the obvious lack of pay, allow me to outline the benefits of volunteering.

Wake Up

College and university take a lot out of you it’s true, but you will be expected to be up and ready to function by 9am typically in the working world. Volunteering not only prepares you for entering the real world, it provides you the opportunity to work on your people skills and gain valuable contacts. This article from The Guardian outlines some key benefits of volunteering, such as getting noticed by your community and subsequently offered future positions.

The important thing to remember here is that you will be given responsibility, and therefore opportunity, so make the best of it and wake up on time. You need to start getting used to it anyway, unless you land a job as a bed tester.

Helping Hand

It’s not just you that can benefit from volunteer work: think of the good you can do for a small charity shop by working just a few hours a day. Young people especially attract more custom, and working at a younger age gives you more time for gaining experience. The Swansea Council for Voluntary Service here provides a detailed insight into the advantages of volunteering, including very useful information about health & safety laws, etc.

Of course, you are not limited to volunteering in a charity shop: the RFU works with young people to train sports volunteers. If you want a career in sports/sporting events, the best place to start would be running a short class or games day in your local community.

Are You Experienced?

If you are willing to work in a shop for free, you are bound to get noticed by either the shop owner, or at the very least, the customers. I have landed a job working in a music store in the past by starting off working for free to gain experience, and eventually proving my usefulness. Handing in a CV will only get you so far, you need to show that you can operate as a thinking person and not just another drone in the queue.

Volunteering for charity shops, or other retail stores, can also give you valuable experience with retail equipment such as the CHARiot system from Nisyst. Learning to operate EPoS systems from an earlier age will give you a distinct advantage over your competition.

Shipping Off

Another thing to consider is the opportunity to travel abroad. Project groups like Arterra here are perfect for those who want to help a community, explore their creativity, and travel to incredible locations. With a paying job, you need enough work experience and a good grip on reality. With volunteer work, you still need to be a good worker, but you can afford to explore new areas of interest; perhaps you’ll discover a hidden passion or talent for something you would never normally consider.

A shop or company will be more likely to hire you if you require less training, so learn all you can, and don’t forget to detail what you have learned by the end in your CV. You might not need a CV at all if you prove yourself useful, and there’s nothing more useful than a student who wants to work for free!

Support for Carers

Being a carer for someone who you love and care for is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can imagine. Caring for a disabled, ill or dying relative or friend can be one of the most thankless tasks, but the emotional and moral rewards which you reap are outstanding.

Life as a full time carer can be very difficult, with caring for someone 24/7, as is the cases for many carers in the UK is a time consuming and costly activity, however, it is one which many want to endeavour to carry out in order to protect, care and ensure their loved one is comfortable and well looked after.

However, as a carer you don’t have to suffer the burden of ifs time consuming nature alone. There are many support groups and services around to help, assist and protect you as a carer.

Finance can be a massive worry and struggle for many carers in the UK. It is important as a carers to be aware that if you are regularly caring for a relative at home, you have the right to request an assessment of the help you might need to enable you to continue caring, there is help out there you just need to find it and ask for it, it is your entitlement which you are missing out on if you don’t. Financial assistance can make being a carer much easier to bear, as it take away money worries to a certain degree and allows you as a carer to focus on looking after you loved on to the best of your ability.

If you are a carer, there are many organisations and support groups that can provide practical and financial help for you and the person who you are caring for, as well as short breaks from caring, which can provide invaluable support and breaks from the stresses and worries of caring for someone who you love and care about. We all need regular breaks to recharge our batteries, and carers are no different, so make sure you access the services available to you so that you can recharge your batteries and then be the best carer you can.

Many carers in the UK find that if they give up or reduce employment hours to be a carer they struggle financially. There are more than three million people combine caring responsibilities with employment, it is possible and recent laws have given carers more rights in employment, education and leisure opportunities, meaning that it is easier to combine these areas of your life and still give your relative, friend or loved one the love and care they deserve at all times. 

Dementia Awareness Week

Dementia Awareness Week:

Old age can be a daunting prospect for many across the UK. The unknown of what is to come and the thought of ill health, mental health issues and family changes make it a scary time for any aging member of society.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are two words which strike fear into those elderly members of society and their families.

What is Dementia?

The term ‘dementia’ is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding and this is most common in the elderly.

Dementia Awareness Week 2013:

Dementia Awareness Week is taking place from Monday 20th May until Sunday 26th May 2013. Dementia Awareness Week is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society which is a UK charity which provides support and research for those affected by dementia.

Dementia Awareness week is an important way of raising attention of the issues surrounding the diseases of Dementia and Alzheimer’s and also proving people with relevant advice, help and supports, both for sufferers and families and carers.

Dementia Awareness week is primarily to raise funds and awareness. The money which is raised during Dementia Awareness Week goes a long way to support people with dementia through their illness and also just as importantly supporting their families, carers and support network.

Every year the theme of Dementia Awareness Week is ‘Remember the Person’, this is to encourage people to remember the person behind the dementia and treating them with dignity and respect no matter what stage their dementia may be at. The person and personality who was there before the dementia is still ‘there’ and your support and love is invaluable to them.