Hannah MacKechnie

Hannah MacKechnie

keeping mentally agile

Where did I leave the car keys? Did I turn the cooker off? I’ve come upstairs and now I’ve forgotten what I was going to do. What’s the name of my daughter’s friend, it’s on the tip of my tongue?

It’s reasonable to say that we all have ‘moments’ where we forget something and our mind goes blank. Tiredness, stress or being busy can all contribute to our cognitive recall not being as snappy as usual.

The decline in cognitive function has long been considered an inevitable part of ageing, along with grey hair, and aches and pains. Our brains, just like our muscles, can decline with age, especially after giving up work when our usual levels of mental requirement suddenly cease. But, just as effort invested in training muscles will ensure strength and benefits long into old age, training your brain like a muscle will ensure mental agility and has been shown to reverse ageing and cognitive decline.

‘Use it or lose it’ is a common phrase for a reason.

Many people fear dementia and loss of memory function as they age but there are many things that we can do to keep mentally fit, active and in some cases even hold back illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.


“Keeping your mind active is likely to reduce your risk of dementia,” said the Alzheimer’s Society.


 

How does the brain learn and gain knowledge?

At a basic level1, the brain consists of around 100 billion cells called neurons. The neuron has two extensions: dendrites (imagine the branches of a tree) and an axon (which looks like a long tail). Dendrites receive information into the neuron and axons transmit to the dendrites of another neuron. This is achieved via neurotransmitter chemicals across a space of contact between the neurons called the synapse.

During learning2, the dendrites grow and then connect with more neurons forging neural pathways that become thicker and stronger the more they are used. Hence, this is why tasks become easier the more we repeat them and is why knowledge can be permanently stored.

 

How life and modern technology enable the brain to become lazy

Brain plasticity is, “the brain’s ability to change its anatomical, neurochemical, and functional performance status across the lifespan.” Dr. Michael Merzenich3

Plasticity is the brain's ability to change and affects how easily and quickly it can forge the new pathways and also, build new fibres between neurons. When we are young, the brain is at its most malleable as it generates a significant amount of pathways during rapid growth.

For the average person, once we reach early adulthood we’ve mastered a range of skills that we’re content to use consistently and are not motivated to continue with any learning. Reading, writing, driving, social skills, how our job works and how to cook the food we enjoy, services the needs of our everyday life.

At this point, the brain slows down and then the loss of brain cells4 begins to outpace the formation of new ones, and so decline begins.

Modern culture also contributes to our mental decline in its ability to replicate the tasks that our brain is designed to fulfil: remembering phone numbers, maths calculations to add up a shopping bill or memorising directions. The brain is designed to be constantly used and stimulated, and through lack of challenge it becomes lazy and neural pathways degrade.

Unless we are a person who is devoted to lifelong learning or we encounter new experiences on a constant basis, then the brain has no requirement to create new neural pathways and this is where the slide of cognitive decline can take us into old age.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way as brain plasticity and the ability to build new pathways is available to us at any age – if we choose to use it.

 

How do we improve cognitive function as we age?

To maintain cell production and plasticity, the brain needs to be stimulated through learning and new experiences.

Many apps, games and computer programmes are promoted on their benefits of ‘training the brain’ but many fall short of challenging the brain, or meeting their claims for a reversal of cognitive decline.

Not so long ago, Sudoku was considered a positive way to halt mental decline but a person can quickly learn the patterns of the puzzle and it then becomes a rote process, and it loses the ability to challenge. Forming new neural pathways requires challenge, focused attention and constant practise.

 

How can older people keep mentally agile and reduce the risk of dementia?


“What we do know is that keeping the body and brain active across life can go someway towards reducing the risk.” Clare Walton, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society


 

There are conflicting opinions on the efficacy of brain training games to reduce dementia but it is widely recognised that keeping an active mind and a healthy body, is one of the most positive and beneficial approaches we can take to tackle cognitive decline.

 

Physical exercise

There is evidence5 that physical activity facilitates neuroplasticity and has a positive effect on cognitive function. Even a short burst of exercise for just thirty minutes6 can result in enhanced plasticity.

A 20-year study by the University of Melbourne found that regular exercise prevented cognitive decline later in life. “Regular exercise of any type, from walking the dog to mountain climbing, emerged as the number one protective factor against memory loss.” Professor Cassandra Szoeke, Study author Associate7.

The recommendations for exercising daily are so well researched and all-encompassing, that everyone should be undertaking a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise, such as walking, every day.

 

Eating a healthy diet

As we highlighted in Alzheimer’s: lifestyle changes are more effective than medication eating a healthy Mediterranean diet is key to optimum cognitive function. A diet as low as possible in sugar, the avoidance of known toxins and the consumption of coconut oil are all recommended; supplemented with the extract of curcumin found in turmeric.

Read the full article here for the lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of dementia.

 

Meditation

Mindfulness is now recommended by the NHS for stress and depression, but there is also a great deal of research that indicates it can both improve cognition and combat dementia.

Research shows8 that meditation may potentially strengthen neuronal circuits and enhance cognitive reserve capacity. It also reduces stress induced cortisol secretion and this is a known factor in helping to alleviate dementia.

 

Learn something new

In a study9, it was found that learning new skills, such as photography and using image manipulation software, resulted in enhanced memory function in older people.

The key is trying something that is both unfamiliar and mentally challenging

Learning a language has long been regarded as an excellent way to keep the brain active and functioning well into old age. According to research10, it changes your brain network structurally and functionally.

Taking a language class will help with meeting new people to remain sociable and also has the prospect of travel in groups or alone, which would involve new experiences - all of which are excellent for keeping neural pathways firing.

 

Socialise

Loneliness is proven to have more of an impact on mortality than obesity and in health terms is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Research shows11 that loneliness can induce cognitive decline and that remaining sociable when we are older is essential for our well-being and health.

The more we laugh, the more our brain is engaged, helping to grow more brain cells and also may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.Re:Cognition Health12

For practical advice, you can read a previous article, How can your elderly parents remain sociable and less vulnerable to loneliness?

 

Dancing

An obviously sociable pastime that is accessible to most older people is dancing. Brain scanning techniques show13 that dance activity registers in the same area of the brain as cognition.

Dancing stimulates the release of the brain-derived protein neurotrophic factor that promotes the growth, maintenance, and plasticity of neurons necessary for learning and memory. Dancing is an excellent way to keep active and fit and challenge the brain by learning steps and moving to a rhythm.

Studies have shown that the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced by exercises like dancing … Learning and remembering new steps activates many neural pathways in the brain, keeping it strong, active and healthy.” Dr Jo Rodda, consultant cognitive psychiatrist at Re:cognition Health14.

From all the evidence, the combination of food, exercise and meditation could be the finest thing we can do for our overall health (above everything else), and alongside learning and mental stimulation could aid the reduction of cognitive decline.


 

References:

  1. http://college.usatoday.com/2015/06/19/5-way-your-brain-learns/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3622463/
  3. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6k1k3a/i_am_neuroscientist_dr_michael_merzenich_a/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7237164
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23623982
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24570388
  7. https://neuroscience.unimelb.edu.au/news-and-events/regular-exercise-protects-against-cognitive-decline-in-later-years
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19743551
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154531/
  10. https://news.psu.edu/story/334349/2014/11/12/research/learning-languages-workout-brains-both-young-and-old
  11. https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/02/16/aaas-2014-loneliness-major-health-risk-older-adults
  12. https://recognitionhealth.com/
  13. https://recognitionhealth.com/dance-away-dementia-risk/
  14. https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2016/01/22/what-educators-and-parents-should-know-about-neuroplasticity-learning-and-dance/
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:35

About our Wakefield & Dewsbury Branch

Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury provides the highest standards of care to you in your own home.

We specialise in care for the elderly with medication and dementia care services that are second to none. The Wakefield & Dewsbury branch was established in 2018 by Jackie Gillen and her husband Mark Gillen, who together, wanted to establish a high-quality caring service to elderly people living at home.

Radfield Home Care pride ourselves on being a very responsive service that promotes independence and respects dignity and choice in care. We use the latest technology solutions to feed information straight back to the office and to relatives so any issues can be dealt with immediately.  We invest heavily in supporting, supervising and training our staff so that our clients and their relatives can rest assured that our carers can provide the care they need professionally and respectfully. 

We ensure that carers stay the full amount of time with you so their travel time is not taken out of your visit time.

Please contact the Wakefield & Dewsbury Radfield Home Care office if you have any questions about our services or would like us to send you information about our home care fees.

Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury is   a    Radfield Home Care franchise owned and operated under licence by Jackie Gillen and Mark Gillen, M J Gillen Ltd t/a Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury.   Company number 11194230 registered in England.   Registered company office: Office 1, Dickinson House, Bank Street, Ossett, England, WF5 8NW.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:35

Careers in our Wakefield & Dewsbury Branch

If you are considering a career in care then you have come to the right place.

Elderly Client and Home Carer

We have put together information on our Careers pages of this website so that you can find out more about what the role of a carer is really like and read some of our own teams stories of how they joined Radfield Home Care, their experiences of working as home carers and progressing with the company.

If you feel that you have what it takes to join our team then we would love to hear from you. You can complete the form online by clicking here or you can contact the branch directly to have a chat and ask any questions that you may have.

We hope we will be welcoming you to our Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury branch very soon.

Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury is owned and operated by Jackie Gillen & Mark Gillen of M J Gillen Ltd, company number 11194230.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:35

Our Services

Radfield Home Care  Wakefield & Dewsbury is able to support you with a wide range of care services to help to keep you living independently at home for as long as possible. We provide all types of personal care, medication support, shopping and meal preparation, companionship and many others - see below for a more detailed list of our services:

  • Washing and dressing
  • Assistance in and out of bed
  • Laundry and housework
  • Shopping and meal preparation
  • Companionship
  • Medication support
  • Catheter care
  • Moving and handling using hoists, stand aids and other equipment
  • Pressure area care
  • End of life care
  • Dementia and Alzheimers care
  • Getting out and about
  • Care through the night
  • Respite care
  • Rehabilitation care

Receiving home care is a very flexible way of receiving a bit of extra care and support. It can start with  as little as you need, perhaps just an hour a week to get to the shops, and can increase as care needs change.

We ensure that all of our staff are carefully selected and rigorously checked prior to being able to work with our clients. We have a very robust training and support programme to ensure that all of our carers can support you in the best possible way.

franchise leftfranchise right

For details of the Care services that we are able to provide, please visit our Care Services pages. You can return to the Wakefield & Dewsbury branch pages at any point by selecting Wakefield & Dewsbury branch from the dropdown menu on the main picture.

Radfield Home Care Wakefield & Dewsbury is owned and operated by Jackie Gillen & Mark Gillen of M J Gillen Ltd, company number 11194230.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:35

The Story of our Branch

Husband and wife, Mark and Jackie Gillen, owners and directors of Wakefield and Dewsbury both hold a vast amount of experience in the social and supported housing sector, providing support and care for a wide range of client groups throughout their careers. They both also have previous experience working in various care organisations, caring for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, acquired brain injury and autism.

 

Directors, husband and wife Mark & Jackie Gillen, with their two sons.

Between them, Jackie and Mark have over 40 years experience working in the care and social/supported housing sector and are both highly motivated and extremely passionate about providing an outstanding home care service specialising in care for older people.

Jackie explains, “We have lived in the Wakefield and Dewsbury area for over 15 years and have two children who attend school locally and we are passionate about giving back to our local community and surrounding areas.

We both enjoy working with people and have a commitment to treating people as we would want to be treated ourselves. We understand the importance of maintaining independence and choice and being empowered to live your life as you would wish in your own home and community.”

Jackie and Mark opened their branch in Ossett, near Wakefield in September 2018, and specialise in providing the highest standard of care for older people, with medication and dementia services that are second to none.

Jackie and Mark hope to welcome you as part of the Radfield family, whether as a client or carer very soon. We aim to be the best at what we do and we will strive to go the extra mile for all our clients and carers. Our office is open from 8.30am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and we are always available out of hours on the office phone number - 01924 271 394

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:35

Our Service Area

Care in your own home in Wakefield, Dewsbury, Batley and surrounding areas

We can provide you with reliable, personalised, flexible care in your own home. Call us today on 01924 271 394    to arrange a home assessment at no charge to discuss your requirements and to answer any questions that you may have.

We are able to provide care to you in Wakefield, Dewsbury & Batley areas which are detailed below. If your area is not listed please do still get in touch as we may be able to help.

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 Harrogate Service Area

elderly driving when to stop

Audrey has been enjoying driving for 54 years. At age 79 she is certainly experienced behind a wheel and has seen a huge change in the volume of traffic since she took to the roads in 1964.  Her first car was an Austin 1100 in cherry red and she loved the freedom of jumping into the car to drive wherever and whenever she wanted – that feeling has never left her.

In her late-sixties, Audrey started having problems with her eyesight and put this down to natural ageing. In her mid-seventies, she was diagnosed with glaucoma but felt she could still see well enough to drive.

On a recent visit from her son James, she picked him up at the station in her Mini Clubman and drove him to her home. James was shocked and worried at how his mother pulled out in front of a car at a roundabout causing the car to emergency brake and flash his lights. When driving along the high street, James had to take the wheel to stop his mother from knocking a cyclist off his bike. Audrey simply hadn’t seen him, even in broad daylight.

When they got home, James realised he would have to confront his mother about her driving.


 

When is it time to stop driving?

Ageing is very different for every person. An eighty-year-old may be as active and mentally sharp as a person aged sixty. At seventy, a person can have significantly more driving experience than a thirty-year-old. For that reason, it’s not possible to set a definitive age when driving must cease.

Two attributes that are affected by age and which are essential to driving, are eyesight and reaction times. A person can lose 40% of their eyesight1 before they realise they have a problem and this is exacerbated in poor lighting. By age 75, a driver needs 32 times the brightness2 as they did at age 25. In a controlled test between middle-aged and elderly drivers3, the difference between reaction times increased dramatically between the groups, with elderly drivers needing more time to process complex information and to respond accordingly.

Although a driver between the age of 60-69 has half the crash rate of a driver aged 20-294, crashes that do involve older drivers are more likely to occur at junctions in what are considered ‘fail to look’ situations, due to an older driver having a reduced ability to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles.

There’s also a reality that since 1950, to 2014, there was a seven-fold increase in the amount of traffic on the roads5. Today, we experience a more challenging driving environment, with many more vehicles to negotiate on busy roads. For an older person, this may be beyond their cognitive capacity to judge speed, reaction times and to maintain focused concentration.

 


Radfield Home Care can help get you to wherever you want to go If you or a loved one is unable to drive. Talk to us about our services and let us improve the quality of your life.


 

Drivers are not just a danger to themselves

Aside from the danger to the person driving, a greater concern lies with their potential to hurt and accidently kill someone else.

In 2011, an 89-year-old man failed an eye test. Due to a loophole in the law, he was allowed to continue driving even though the police had tried to reason with him and had asked him to stop driving. Two days later, whilst driving, the man mounted the pavement and killed a young girl called Cassie.

After the accident, Cassie’s family campaigned for greater power to quickly revoke licences after failed eye tests and the resulting Cassie’s Law6 saw over 600 drivers have their licences revoked.

Nobody sets out on the road with the thought that they might harm another person because of a decline in their abilities. But, many people are in denial about their competence to operate a potentially lethal piece of machinery.

 

The legal requirements for older drivers

There isn’t a set legal age9 when a driving licence can be revoked but at the age of 70, a driver in the UK has to renew their licence and then every three years thereafter.

However, it’s the driver’s responsibility to report any changes in their circumstances to the DVLA. Also, any medical conditions which arise at any time must be reported to the DVLA.

There is a full list of all the medical conditions that you are required to inform the DVLA about on their website10. Some of the more common, age-related conditions include:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Fitted pacemaker
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Insulin-treated diabetes

Medication, much like alcohol or any drug, can also affect driving efficiency through drowsiness and can seriously impact concentration and reaction times. Always discuss the effects of your medication with either your doctor or a pharmacist before getting behind a wheel.

Every older driver should be encouraged to undertake an annual check-up with their doctor, to ensure that they are still fit to drive and so that they can continue to get behind the wheel with confidence.

 

Questions to ask an older driver

The Older Drivers website7 from ROSPA is a comprehensive source of information for the older driver and we recommend reading their advice.

On the site, is a self-assessment checklist8 that a driver can review to help decide if it’s time that they accepted that they should stop driving. The checklist includes questions such as:

  • Do you find it difficult to change your visual focus when looking ahead in the distance and then close-up at the instrument displays on your dashboard, and back again?
  • Do you find it more difficult to turn your head to see over your shoulder than you used to?
  • Do you have trouble concentrating when driving?
  • Do you drive much more slowly than the speed limit, even when there is little traffic?
  • Do you have a medical condition that you must report to the DVLA?

If you have a parent that you suspect may be having difficulty driving, then the self-assessment is the ideal starting point for a discussion about the situation.


 

When James talked to his mother about her driving, she burst into an angry response because she believed he was trying to undermine her confidence but also, how dare he try to suggest she should get rid of her beloved car.

Audrey’s next door neighbour also confirmed James’s fears when she told him that she questioned if Audrey should still be driving.

In the end, James persuaded his mother to go to the doctor, and after an examination, Audrey was diagnosed as suffering from glaucoma and was told she had to stop driving. The doctor also wrote to the DVLA to inform them to revoke her licence.

James is relieved that his mother is neither no longer at risk or a danger to anyone else, but he feels guilty about taking her independence away. She was angry at him for several months after having her licence revoked but she has agreed to a home carer who will drive her wherever she needs to go.


 

How to talk to a parent about their driving

Confronting a parent about their behaviour can be a difficult task. The best way to approach it is with respect and understanding about what is important to them.

Driving represents independence and control. Take that away and suddenly your parent is confronted with the reality of growing older and many people find that incredibly difficult to accept.

Instead of taking a direct accusatory approach, lead into the conversation gently by pointing out a few examples such as  I notice that you find it difficult to turn your head. Does that cause a problem when you are driving, or, do you ever have difficulty with headlight glare from other cars?

A person does not always recognise a decline in themselves and may not realise just how much they have been struggling to manage driving. It could be an emotional realisation that they can no longer cope, so tread tactfully.

Lead into asking your parent questions from the self-assessment questionnaire11 and then perhaps recommend a refresher driving course12.

Suggest a health check with the doctor to make sure they are ‘tip-top’ and are safe to drive.

Help your parent to see that there are many alternatives to driving and that having a licence revoked does not mean that they no longer have the freedom to go where they want to.

Bus and train travel can be liberating and enjoyable. A local taxi service can be on hand anytime and a home care service can also drive your parent anywhere they need to go. You can also research to see if their local area offers a community or village bus scheme? These schemes offer a local minibus for older people to use and can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests.

By calculating the costs saved from not having to maintain a car, it could be a surprising bonus.

 

If your parent refuses to stop driving and you fear for their safety

Of course, not everyone is willing to surrender their independence and what their licence represents, so you may encounter refusal, hostility or even anger at suggesting such a thing.

Try to remove all emotion out of the equation by sticking to facts during conversations.

If you can’t reason with your parent, as a last resort, you can report a person as unfit to drive to the DVLA13 and they can take the matter out of your hands.

Remember that no matter how much your parent loves to drive or finds it difficult to relinquish their license, their safety and the safety of others is paramount.


Useful reading:

 

References:

  1. https://www.glaucoma.org/news/glaucoma-awareness-month.php
  2. http://www.brake.org.uk/facts-resources/15-facts/490-older-drivers
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940374/
  4. http://www.brake.org.uk/facts-resources/15-facts/490-older-drivers
  5. https://www.licencebureau.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/road-use-statistics.pdf
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-33674219
  7. http://www.olderdrivers.org.uk/
  8. http://www.olderdrivers.org.uk/driver-assessment/self-assessment/
  9. http://www.olderdrivers.org.uk/the-law/
  10. https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving
  11. http://www.olderdrivers.org.uk/driver-assessment/self-assessment/
  12. http://www.olderdrivers.org.uk/driver-assessment/refresher-driver-training/
  13. https://www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla/y/driving-and-medical-issues

 assisted dying 


“Planning for the end of life is something that few of us want to think about when we’re healthy. Lots of us don’t consider how we might want to be cared for until we witness the death of a loved one, or experience the first symptoms of an illness. Yet when we start to think about illness or our own deaths…”

Esther Rantzen, Patron of Compassion in Dying


 

Imagine that upon waking you can’t move your body or speak but you can hear everything in the room around you that is happening. Maybe there is a doctor having a conversation with a loved one and you realise they are speaking about you, but you cannot alert them to your presence.

You cannot communicate what you need: that you feel unbearable pain and that you are deeply afraid.

If you have ever suffered from sleep paralysis, a condition that occurs between sleep and waking, where you are conscious but can’t move, then you have experienced a small glimpse of just how frightening it can be, to not be able to shout out when you want to scream.

Fortunately, sleep paralysis only lasts seconds, whereas pseudocoma1, otherwise known as locked-in syndrome, is a permanent paralysis where the patient can only move their eyes. Pseudocoma usually occurs as a result of a stroke or brain trauma.

The condition was brought to mainstream attention in the 1997 book, and 2007 film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, an account of the experience of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of Elle magazine in France, who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 43 and awakened to locked-in syndrome.

Bauby narrated the entire book to an assistant through the blinking of his left eyelid.


82% of the public support the choice of assisted dying for the terminally ill


 

Why would a person want to end their life?

For many people, the thought of locked-in syndrome is understandably terrifying and they would rather make the choice to end their life. than endure the suffering.

Huntington’s disease is genetic and causes the death of brain cells which results in cognitive decline, difficulty in swallowing, breathing, speaking and moving. People living with the fatal disease can find the latter stages distressing and difficult to deal with.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a form of motor neurone disease (MND) that affects the messaging from the motor neurons in the brain. This results in the loss of voluntary control of muscles and people with the disease will ultimately lose the ability to speak, move, eat and breathe.

Also, most forms of cancer will result in pain that is difficult to manage.

There are many diseases that can be distressing for a person to deal with and when facing an extreme level of both pain and suffering, then death can feel like a welcome relief.

The ability to take back control over an illness that cannot be controlled is a person’s way of coping and enables them to face death with dignity.

Assisted dying is a vast ethical discussion with no easy answers but should it not be a person’s right to choose how they deal with their terminal illness, and inevitable death?


 

Noel Conway continues to fight to legalise assisted dying

Noel Conway is a campaigner for assisted dying, as he faces the latter stages of ALS. He only has movement in his head, neck and right hand, and spends up to 23 hours a day on a ventilator and says that he feels ‘entombed’ by his illness.

In June 2018, Noel had his case rejected by the Court of Appeal2 and his intention is to now take his case to the Supreme Court to continue the campaign.

Noel commented after the hearing “I will keep fighting for myself and all terminally-ill people who want the right to die peacefully, with dignity and on our own terms."

High-profile supporters of Noel’s case include Sir Patrick Stewart and Prue Leith, who watched her brother David suffer through terminal bone cancer.


 

The difference between assisted dying, assisted suicide and euthanasia

Although the person who chooses to end their life is in control and must be mentally competent to request this, there are differences between assisted dying, assisted suicide and euthanasia3.

Assisted dying is the act of a person who is terminally ill taking control of their death and saying when that should happen. These people do not want to die, they are not ‘suicidal’ but they do want to end their life with dignity and with as little suffering as possible. Life-ending medication is prescribed and the person must take this themselves to end their life.

Assisted suicide is the act of a person who may have either an incurable disease or be disabled and who faces unbearable suffering, although they are not terminally ill when they make the choice to end their life. In this instance, life-ending medication would be prescribed for a person to take to end their ongoing suffering.

Voluntary euthanasia is in the case of a person who is terminally ill or has an incurable disease and is incapable of physically administering their own medication. A doctor administers the life-ending medication at the request of the patient.

 

Assisted death for the terminally ill is legal in the following countries and states4:

  • USA in Oregon, Washington and California only
  • Canada 
  • Switzerland (people from the UK currently travel to Dignitas to end their life)

The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg all have laws (with varying differences), that allow a person of competent mind, who has an incurable disease and who is experiencing unbearable suffering, to request voluntary euthanasia or medical assistance to die.


Every eight days, a person from the UK travels to Switzerland for a legal assisted death.


 

Campaigns for assisted dying in the UK

In the UK, Dignity in Dying5 are supporting people like Noel Conway to campaign for a new law which allows for assisted dying, to alleviate the suffering of terminally ill people.

To offer people who want to end their life as much protection as possible, their proposed bill includes limitations of:

  • For terminally ill and mentally competent adults-only 
  • The dying person is to end their own life and another person is not permitted to do it for them
  • A waiting period to give dying people time to reflect on their decision
  • Requires assessment by doctors and a high-court judge

 


86% of people in the UK with a disability support a change to the law


 

The effect of assisted dying on families

Seeing someone you love in pain and being helpless to end their suffering is hard to deal with. When a person has either a terminal or an incurable illness and is suffering a great deal, then this can be just as difficult for the loved ones supporting them.

Some people dealing with a terminally-ill loved one, will go into a state of denial and others will try to micromanage everything in an attempt to regain some control. Regardless of feeling able to cope or not, life does go on for the families and losing a loved one can be just as difficult as facing end-of-life.

What is important to remember, is that the choice of what course of treatment or action to take, can only be made by the person who is ill. This can be difficult for loved ones to accept and let go of.

Direct and open communication is the best way to tackle any difficult situation, and those with a terminal illness should gently prepare their loved ones for what their wishes are.


44% of people in the UK would break the law to help a loved one to die and face 14 years in jail


 

Organisations who campaign against assisted dying

Just as there are many high-profile campaigns such as Noel Conway and supporters such as Prue Leith and Sir Patrick Stewart6, there are also those who are opposed to the idea of any form of assisted dying.

Dr Kevin Yuill operates a website called No Assisted Suicide7 and believes we should reject any proposed bills in parliament, because:

  • If the law is passed, wrongful deaths will occur
  • It’s hard to assess who has the mental capacity to end their own life
  • Life expectancy is hard to assess
  • Such a law would be bad for the doctor-patient relationship

The website claims that disabled people fear that granting assisted suicide on the basis of physical criteria, undermines their equal treatment.

Baroness Jane Campbell founded Not Dead Yet UK8, a network of ‘UK disability activists’ opposed to assisted suicide – all of those involved, including Baroness Campbell, are disabled.

However, according to Dignity in Dying9 86% of people with a disability support a change to the law.

Care Not Killing10 are a UK based alliance with the aim of:

  • Promoting more and better palliative care 
  • Ensuring that existing laws against both euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed
  • Influencing the balance of public opinion against any further weakening of the law

 

An individual’s right to choose their own treatment?

Everyone has their own point of view, but no one really knows how they will react to a situation or what is right until it happens to them. Fundamentally, what is being argued about is whether one person has the right to tell another how they can deal with their own illness or how to live their life.

For anyone of competent mind, surely it is their right to decide how they should be treated in the face of their own imminent death or suffering?

 


79% of religious people support an assisted dying law


 

How do I prepare a living will (Advance Decision)

A Living Will is now called an Advance Decision.

For any person that has made a choice, that at a future date they do not want to be resuscitated or medically treated, then an Advance Decision can be completed so that if an accident or sudden illness occurs you know that your wishes must be upheld.

Considering how you would want to be treated if you had an unexpected accident or a terminal illness is best done when you have clarity of mind and are not clouded by emotional distress. Therefore, thinking about this long before you need to is a sensible option, much like the choice to carry a Donor Card.

You can read a document here that explains when an Advance Decision11 is legally binding and it offers advice if you want to prepare one.

Age UK have advice on preparing an Advance Decision here12.

The campaign group, Compassion in Dying have launched a website called My Decision13. This offers an online questionnaire that ends with a legally binding Advance Decision online contract, that covers what your wishes would be if you could not communicate them.

The Compassion in Dying14 website supports people to use their existing rights within the law and offers advice of how to approach this subject with loved ones.


300 terminally-ill people end their life in the UK every year


 

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locked-in_syndrome
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-44628459
  3. http://www.hpad.org.uk/assisted-dying/
  4. https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/assisted-dying/international-examples/
  5. https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/
  6. https://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1595299/Prue-Leith-backs-assisted-dying-campaign
  7. http://notoassistedsuicide.org.uk/faq/
  8. http://notdeadyetuk.org/
  9. https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/why-we-need-change/the-facts/
  10. http://www.carenotkilling.org.uk/about/
  11. https://compassionindying.org.uk/library/advance-decisions-living-wills-legally-binding/
  12. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/legal-issues/advance-decisions/
  13. https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/
  14. https://compassionindying.org.uk/
Friday, 08 June 2018 17:03

Care Assistant Richmond (London)

Working for Radfield Home Care - Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow as a Care Assistant is an extremely rewarding job. In order to do the job well, you need to have a caring nature, be flexible and organised in your work, enjoy taking on responsibility and making a real difference to other people's lives.

Everyone at Radfield works to our Company Core Values and these serve as daily reminders to everyone as to how we treat our clients and each other. We are looking for individuals who will fit into our company culture, we are not necessarily seeking the most experienced or well-trained person as these skills can be taught - but being just the right type of person with the right values to be apart of our amazing team.

  • We are a Family | At Radfield Home Care we care about all of our people, and believe passionately that by treating our carers as a trusted family we can empower them to treat our clients with the same warmth and respect.
  • We are Proud to Care | We're proud to stand out for the right reasons, to help each and every one of our employees reach their potential, and we're proud of the fact that at Radfield, we're always pushing for the very best.
  • We are on Your Side | We believe in looking after people and empowering them to live their own unique lives to the full. We understand, listen, and act as caring advocates, to uphold wishes and ensure wellbeing.

 

How Does Radfield Care for Carers?

Radfield Home Care is an award-winning company built on an outstanding reputation that provides care services to clients who wish to remain living in their own home, maintaining their independence, and quality of life.

As the first healthcare company in the UK to become an accredited B Corp, we are extremely proud of the work and services we deliver to our local communities. We do this by caring for our Carers.

Radfield Home Care has created its own core values that are at the heart of what we do each and every day. Our Caring for our Carers pledge also ensures we improve the conditions for hard working care staff, enabling carers to do a good job.

B Corp allows Radfield Home Care to demonstrate our commitment to our people and to our planet in a transparent and clear way by creating value for society, not just shareholders.

Job Title:

Care Assistant.

Location:

Surbiton.

Reporting to:

Care Manager.

Salary:

Weekday £9.00ph, weekend £10.50ph.

*Additional pay of £1.33 between every care call as a travel pay allowance.

*Tax-free mileage payments.

Hours:

Part-time (16 - 20 Hours) and Full-time positions available.

Requirements:

Driving license and use of own car
Able to work every other weekend
Hold a current or willing to undertake a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Check.

Job Purpose:

To provide domiciliary care to clients.

Application Deadline:

30st June 2018.

 

Submit My Application

Havering Home Care Assistant Jobs

The job description for a Care Assistant - Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow at Radfield Home Care is outlined below.

Our Home Care Assistants work with elderly people who live in their own homes and may need just a small amount of support e.g. help with shopping or companionship through to care visits with one or two carers several times per day.

Your care duties for each individual client will be clearly stated in their Care Plan and may vary depending on the client needs, time of day of the visit etc. Occasionally other care duties may arise that aren’t included below and you will need to be able to adapt easily to take on these different duties if asked.

There are certain qualities that we expect all our carers to have and bring to their day-to-day work and we have outlined these below.

 

What We offer

  • Premium hourly rates and additional mileage pay,
  • 5.6 weeks' paid holiday per annum,
  • Access to first class induction training and a commitment to continuous learning, development, and support.
  • Workplace Pension Scheme and sick pay scheme.
  • Free uniform.
  • Monthly data allowance.
  • Star of the month rewards.
  • Opportunity to make a difference in the local communities of Richmond, Kingston & Hounslow (London).
  • Opportunity to be part of the respected, trusted and high-quality Radfield home care brand and a chance to be part of a values-based family business.

 

Skills, Knowledge & Qualifications

Required:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • A good communicator.
  • An active team player but also able to work on your own initiative.
  • Caring, patient, sensitive and committed to helping improve the quality of life of vulnerable people.
  • Self-motivated, organised and flexible.
  • Mentally able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work.
  • Physically able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work which involves bending, lifting, stretching, kneeling, crouching, getting up and down stairs & manual dexterity.

 

Desired:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • Previous experience in the care profession and qualifications are desirable attributes but not essential
  • Some experienced carers will participate in the on-call rota and undertake shadowing training with new carers. These additional responsibilities are optional and are remunerated at an enhanced rate of pay.

 

Main Responsibilities:

  • To share with other staff in meeting the personal care needs of our clients in a way that respects their dignity and promotes independence. The nature of care we expect you to provide is similar to that given by members of our clients own family and will not involve tasks that a trained nurse would normally provide.
  • Providing personal care to clients.
  • To help clients with mobility problems and other physical disabilities including incontinence and to use and look after aids and personal equipment.
  • To provide our clients with companionship care when required.
  • To care for clients who are temporarily sick and may need assistance with minor dressings, bed nursing, help with feeding, toileting etc.
  • To help provide end of life care.
  • To help promote the mental and physical wellbeing of our clients by talking to them, taking them out, reading and writing and helping them to participate in their hobbies and recreations.
  • To undertake light household tasks for example, making and changing beds, tidying rooms, light cleaning such as dusting and vacuuming and emptying commodes.
  • To assist with the washing and ironing of clothes if requested.
  • To prepare and serve meals; assist clients with eating and drinking; wash up, tidy and clean the kitchen and dining area.
  • To greet visitors and answer the telephone as needed whilst at the client's home.
  • To read and write reports, and take part in staff and clients meetings and training activities as directed.
  • To maintain the highest standards of hygiene at all times and use personal protective equipment provided
  • Report any illness to the office so that correct infection prevention and control procedures can be followed.
  • To comply with the agency's guidelines and policies at all times.
  • To report to the office any significant changes in the health or circumstances of a client.
  • To encourage clients to remain as independent as possible.
  • To report to the office immediately any events or situations that may pose a risk to our clients, their relatives or staff members. For example a faulty piece of equipment or broken step in a client's home.
  • To help promote the agency with marketing which may include leafleting.
  • To come into the office at least once a week to collect and bring in client paperwork and to collect your rota and client information.
  • To perform such other duties as may reasonably be required.

 

Obligations

All staff is required to adhere to the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers and respect the confidentiality of all matters that they might learn in the course of their employment. All staff is expected to comply with requirements under the Data Protection Act 1998.

All staff must be familiar with Radfield Home Care Ltd’s health and safety policies and procedures and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 of which we can provide copies if needed.

Submit My Application

Friday, 08 June 2018 16:58

Care Assistant Harrogate

Working for Radfield Home Care - Harrogate, Wetherby & North Yorkshire as a Care Assistant is an extremely rewarding job. In order to do the job well, you need to have a caring nature, be flexible and organised in your work, enjoy taking on responsibility and making a real difference to other people's lives.

Everyone at Radfield works to our Company Core Values and these serve as daily reminders to everyone as to how we treat our clients and each other. We are looking for individuals who will fit into our company culture, we are not necessarily seeking the most experienced or well-trained person as these skills can be taught - but being just the right type of person with the right values to be apart of our amazing team.

  • We are a Family | At Radfield Home Care we care about all of our people, and believe passionately that by treating our carers as a trusted family we can empower them to treat our clients with the same warmth and respect.
  • We are Proud to Care | We're proud to stand out for the right reasons, to help each and every one of our employees reach their potential, and we're proud of the fact that at Radfield, we're always pushing for the very best.
  • We are on Your Side | We believe in looking after people and empowering them to live their own unique lives to the full. We understand, listen, and act as caring advocates, to uphold wishes and ensure wellbeing.

 

How Does Radfield Care for Carers?

Radfield Home Care is an award-winning company built on an outstanding reputation that provides care services to clients who wish to remain living in their own home, maintaining their independence, and quality of life.

As the first healthcare company in the UK to become an accredited B Corp, we are extremely proud of the work and services we deliver to our local communities. We do this by caring for our Carers.

Radfield Home Care has created its own core values that are at the heart of what we do each and every day. Our Caring for our Carers pledge also ensures we improve the conditions for hard working care staff, enabling carers to do a good job.

B Corp allows Radfield Home Care to demonstrate our commitment to our people and to our planet in a transparent and clear way by creating value for society, not just shareholders.

Job Title:

Care Assistant.

Location:

Harrogate.

Reporting to:

Care Manager.

Salary:

Weekday £8.75ph, weekend £9.00ph.

*Additional pay of £1.33 between every care call as a travel pay allowance.

*Tax-free mileage payments.

Hours:

Part-time (16 - 20 Hours) and Full-time positions available.

Requirements:

Driving licence and use of own car
Able to work every other weekend
Hold a current or willing to undertake a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Check.

Job Purpose:

To provide domiciliary care to clients.

Application Deadline:

30st June 2018.

 

Submit My Application

Havering Home Care Assistant Jobs

The job description for a Care Assistant - Harrogate, Wetherby & North Yorkshire at Radfield Home Care is outlined below.

Our Home Care Assistants work with elderly people who live in their own homes and may need just a small amount of support e.g. help with shopping or companionship through to care visits with one or two carers several times per day.

Your care duties for each individual client will be clearly stated in their Care Plan and may vary depending on the client needs, time of day of the visit etc. Occasionally other care duties may arise that aren’t included below and you will need to be able to adapt easily to take on these different duties if asked.

There are certain qualities that we expect all our carers to have and bring to their day-to-day work and we have outlined these below.

 

What We offer

  • Premium hourly rates and additional mileage pay,
  • 5.6 weeks' paid holiday per annum,
  • Access to first class induction training and a commitment to continuous learning, development, and support.
  • Workplace Pension Scheme and sick pay scheme.
  • Free uniform.
  • Monthly data allowance.
  • Star of the month rewards.
  • Opportunity to make a difference in the local communities of Harrogate, Wetherby & North Yorkshire.
  • Opportunity to be part of the respected, trusted and high-quality Radfield home care brand and a chance to be part of a values-based family business.

 

Skills, Knowledge & Qualifications

Required:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • A good communicator.
  • An active team player but also able to work on your own initiative.
  • Caring, patient, sensitive and committed to helping improve the quality of life of vulnerable people.
  • Self-motivated, organised and flexible.
  • Mentally able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work.
  • Physically able to cope with the demands of domiciliary care work which involves bending, lifting, stretching, kneeling, crouching, getting up and down stairs & manual dexterity.

 

Desired:

The main skills and qualities that we look for in our Home Care Assistants are:

  • Previous experience in the care profession and qualifications are desirable attributes but not essential
  • Some experienced carers will participate in the on-call rota and undertake shadowing training with new carers. These additional responsibilities are optional and are remunerated at an enhanced rate of pay.

 

Main Responsibilities:

  • To share with other staff in meeting the personal care needs of our clients in a way that respects their dignity and promotes independence. The nature of care we expect you to provide is similar to that given by members of our clients own family and will not involve tasks that a trained nurse would normally provide.
  • Providing personal care to clients.
  • To help clients with mobility problems and other physical disabilities including incontinence and to use and look after aids and personal equipment.
  • To provide our clients with companionship care when required.
  • To care for clients who are temporarily sick and may need assistance with minor dressings, bed nursing, help with feeding, toileting etc.
  • To help provide end of life care.
  • To help promote the mental and physical wellbeing of our clients by talking to them, taking them out, reading and writing and helping them to participate in their hobbies and recreations.
  • To undertake light household tasks for example, making and changing beds, tidying rooms, light cleaning such as dusting and vacuuming and emptying commodes.
  • To assist with the washing and ironing of clothes if requested.
  • To prepare and serve meals; assist clients with eating and drinking; wash up, tidy and clean the kitchen and dining area.
  • To greet visitors and answer the telephone as needed whilst at the client's home.
  • To read and write reports, and take part in staff and clients meetings and training activities as directed.
  • To maintain the highest standards of hygiene at all times and use personal protective equipment provided
  • Report any illness to the office so that correct infection prevention and control procedures can be followed.
  • To comply with the agency's guidelines and policies at all times.
  • To report to the office any significant changes in the health or circumstances of a client.
  • To encourage clients to remain as independent as possible.
  • To report to the office immediately any events or situations that may pose a risk to our clients, their relatives or staff members. For example a faulty piece of equipment or broken step in a client's home.
  • To help promote the agency with marketing which may include leafleting.
  • To come into the office at least once a week to collect and bring in client paperwork and to collect your rota and client information.
  • To perform such other duties as may reasonably be required.

 

Obligations

All staff is required to adhere to the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers and respect the confidentiality of all matters that they might learn in the course of their employment. All staff is expected to comply with requirements under the Data Protection Act 1998.

All staff must be familiar with Radfield Home Care Ltd’s health and safety policies and procedures and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 of which we can provide copies if needed.

Submit My Application

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