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With final decisions on Brexit just around the corner, Britain’s fear over what could happen to the NHS is ever looming. It’s been no secret that the NHS has been struggling for many years with staff shortages and a lack of funding creating whispers about possible privatisation in the future, and so with a Brexit campaign promise to bring £350 million back to the NHS if we left the EU, it’s no wonder so many were swayed to vote Leave.

The BDA reported that last year over 1 million new patients tried and failed to secure an NHS appointment in England. According to the NHS website, “everyone should be able to access good-quality NHS dental services”. The NHS currently promises to provide any clinically necessary treatment needed to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain. Your dentist must make clear which treatments can be provided on the NHS and which can only be provided on a private basis, and the costs associated for each.

You don’t have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you’re under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education, pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months, are being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges), are receiving low income benefits, or you’re under 20 and a dependant of someone receiving low income benefits.

According to Deloitte, dental services have been available through the NHS since in 1948, but most dentists aren’t employed by the NHS and operate as independent contractors, choosing where to locate their premises and how much, if any, NHS treatment to provide. In 2003–04, total expenditure on dentistry in England was approximately £3.8 billion, of which £2.3 billion was NHS funded and an estimated £1.5 billion privately funded. As the costs of NHS dental treatment continues to rise each year, the gap between private and funded treatment draws ever closer, raising the question again of what will happen to the dental industry within the UK.

The NHS’s Long Term Plan (LTP), published in January 2019, had the full backing of the Government, who committed an additional £20.5 billion funding in support of the sustainability and transformation of the NHS. However, despite the continuing problems with NHS dentistry and inequalities in children’s oral health, there was no mention of a strategy for dental services or any commitment for additional NHS dentistry funding. There were three short references to dentistry on children’s oral health, an initiative supporting dentists to see more children from a younger age in highly deprived areas, recognition of the need to improve the oral health of care home and a similar recognition of the need to improve the oral health of children with learning difficulties, but without adequate funding these are difficult to maintain through the NHS.

According to the BDA, 60% of NHS dentists in England are planning on “moving on”, and that those with higher NHS commitments are all the more likely to be considering their plans. Not to mention that 5% of the registered workforces in the NHS in each area are from Europe, lending yet more questions as to Brexit’s impact on the NHS. The Brexit agreement means all those currently working will have the opportunity to obtain “settled status” to allow them to stay, however, it is not clear what a no-deal Brexit would mean.

It goes without saying that England can’t have NHS dentistry without NHS dentists. It seems that as the NHS’s commitments equal lower morale, as an unprecedented collapse in real incomes and with recruitment and retention problems mounting, more and more dentists are going to look for private options, or to move to work out of the UK.

UK dentistry is affected by the UK’s membership of the EU, and by the decision to leave. The most obvious areas where EU legislation has a direct impact on dentistry include the movement of dentists and dental care professionals, the import and export of dental equipment and materials, the supply of medicines, health and safety, legislation, data protection regulations, and research and development.

The truth is that in such uncertain times, no one can predict what the future will hold, but what we do know is that a trend appears to show more and more UK dentists are turning to private dentistry, and that even more so are now because of Brexit. We await clarity from Government on these issues, and what they will mean for dentistry, post-Brexit.

According to NHS England, wheelchairs are used by approximately 1.2 million people in the UK. The majority of wheelchair users are aged 60 or more – they account for more than two thirds of all wheelchair users in the UK – and nearly 1 million people are believed to have learning disability in England alone.

When so many people use wheelchairs, why then are we so awkward about how to interact with them?

It’s human nature to know how to greet someone, however, when greeting someone with a physical disability, it can be confusing for people who aren’t familiar with wheelchair etiquette, so here are some tips (with credit to KD  Smart Chair, United Spinal and Karman Healthcare) for how to interact with and respect wheelchair users:

1. Ask before you help them

Just because someone has a disability it doesn’t mean they need your help. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people, so only offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. A person with a disability will often times communicate when they needs help.

Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance, and so grabbing them, even if your intention is to assist, could knock them off balance. Never touch a wheelchair or wheelchair user without a direct invitation to do so. It is both demeaning and rude. Most wheelchair users consider their wheelchair an extension of their own body, so avoid leaning on, pushing or otherwise handling their chair without their permission.

2. Don’t make assumptions about why a person is using a wheelchair

Many, if not most, wheelchair users are not paralysed and can get up if they need to. Don’t make assumptions about why they have to use a wheelchair or about their capabilities. In addition, don’t assume the person can’t understand you or can’t hear you, try instead to view wheelchair users as what they are – regular people who happen to be using a different tool to get around.

3. Speak directly to a wheelchair user

Don’t disrespect a wheelchair user by speaking to the caregiver instead of them. Just because their legs or back doesn’t function as well as yours, doesn’t mean their brain is any less capable than yours. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great, so just talk to them as you would with anyone else.

Also, don’t comment on the wheelchair. There’s no need to discuss, question or even compliment the wheelchair. Talk to the person about yourself, themselves, or anything else – but not about their wheelchair. It’s inappropriate and often uncomfortable to highlight their use of a wheelchair or make it the focus of your discussion.

4. Don’t use their parking spots or restroom stalls

This is a real no no. Even if it’s just for five minutes and even if there are no wheelchair users around, you don’t know when one will show up, so please don’t deny them of their right to park closer to a venue or go to the toilet.

5. Sit down for long conversations with a wheelchair user

Don’t make wheelchair users crane their neck for long periods of time so they can speak to you. Take a seat and let the conversation flow more naturally.

Additionally, bending down to speak to a wheelchair user is patronising and should be avoided at all costs. If you find it difficult to maintain eye contact while standing, pull up a seat.

6. Don’t ask for a go in their chair

You’d think this one would be obvious…

7. Teach your children about wheelchair users and how to treat them

Children are inquisitive and have a habit of saying exactly what they are thinking out loud. It’s important to educate them about disabled people and explain to them about wheelchair users and why someone might need to use one, so they will grow up to be kind and considerate of others.

Care workers and nurses need more support to handle the emotional impact of their jobs. According to an article published on Vice, depression is over twice as prevalent in nurses as it is in the general population—18 percent versus nine percent (in the US), and nurses with depression are not only likely to suffer themselves, but their illness may have an impact on their coworkers and potentially the quality of care they provide. In a study from 2014, workers in the healthcare industry had higher ratios for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and psychiatric disorders. Among workers in healthcare industry, females had higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders than males.

There are multiple reasons as to what makes care work so emotionally taxing, including working conditions associated with the health and well-being of visiting home care workers, being unfairly paid, having minimal benefits, emotional labour, lack organisational support, lack of control over work, and peer pressure. Having to witness and care for some people through to the end of their lives can also be hard on the strongest of people.

In an article in the Guardian, Paul Case a mental health and housing support worker living in Edinburgh, wrote: “It’s incredible how much emotional labour social care workers take on but rarely discuss. We work intimately, often alone, with some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We see, hear and intervene in situations that can be distressing. We witness the realities of abuse, poverty and addiction. Processing the emotional impact of our work takes time and effort.

“The consequences of not having the time and space to adequately perform our emotional labour can be disastrous. As a recovery worker for a mental health charity, I’ve seen staff break down crying, signed off due to stress or simply leave halfway through a shift, unable to cope. A high staff turnover, an over-reliance on agency staff and inconsistent support all appear to be near-endemic in social care.”

We all need a break, no matter how much we love our jobs. If you are not at 100% as a care worker, you cannot adequately care for those in need. Nurse.org say that not looking after your mental health can result in distraction, and when you’re distracted -whether work-related or not- you should promptly tackle the situation. It can also affect physical health, often resulting in heart disease, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, asthma, obesity, gastronomical problems and premature death. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states, “there is no health without mental health.” Poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical ailments. When your mental health begins to affect your physical health, you should definitely use a mental health day to care for yourself.

Here are Mind the Charity’s top tips for staying well at work:

1. Reclaim your lunch break: Why not make the most of that precious hour – or half hour – by trying some of these suggestions…
2. Hold a group activity: If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a guerrilla gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energised for an afternoon of productive work.
3. Take up a challenge: Local sponsored walks or marathons are a great way to keep active. Sign with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks. Participating as part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge.
4. When you’re at work, working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones you can focus easier on the task at hand.
5. Create clear boundaries between work and home: Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to then close the door on work.
6. Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work: Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions can really help you to switch off.
7. Ask for help: If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, take opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can’t resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.

What do you think of when you picture older people in care? Are they seated? Watching TV? Probably.

Despite what our preconceived ideas are of elderly people, the truth is that physical activity and exercise is important for people of all ages. If someone has an age-related health problem, they may be put off exercise, but staying active may actually be the key to maintaining health and independence for them.

According to the NHS, many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group. This inactivity makes them at risk to higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death compared with the general population.

Why is exercise important?

If you do not stay active, even into old age, all the things you’ve always enjoyed doing and taken for granted may start to become harder. There’s evidence that people who remain active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

According to the Care Workers Charity, exercise can also improve the strength and tone of your muscles, meaning you’re less likely to have an accident or a fall and injure yourself. As well as these benefits, regular exercise can help our ability to continue with everyday activities, can keep your brain functioning and can affect your sense of wellbeing and self-esteem.

Importantly for older people, exercise can help sustain social connections. Whether that’s an exercise class at the local leisure centre or a regular walk in the park with a friend, reinforcing social bonds is a vital component of good health in later years.

Studies have shown that regular exercise can add 3-5 years to life expectancy figures, and not only does it add years but improves the quality of those years.

How can I get started?

The NHS adds that if you’ve not done much physical activity for a while, and are part of the older population, you may want to get the all-clear from a GP before starting.

Aim to do about 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, along with some muscle strengthening activities. During moderate exercise, your breathing and heart rate are faster and you feel warmer.

If you’re just getting started, take it easy at first and gradually increase how much activity you do to build up your fitness. The most important thing is to spend as little time as possible being inactive.

If you’re already regularly active, you could try doing 75 minutes of vigorous exercise spread over the week. This is the type of activity where your breathing is much deeper and rapid, and your heart rate increases quickly. Or you could do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

If you struggle to exercise on your feet due to a long-term illness, it’s even more important to try to exercise. Exercise can improve your mood and is really beneficial for your mental health. Chat to a professional about what the best sort of exercise is for you.

Chair exercises

For elderly people, these NHS recommended gentle sitting exercises can help to improve your mobility and prevent falls, and can even be done at home.

For these exercises, choose a solid, stable chair that doesn’t have wheels. You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at right angles. Avoid chairs with arms, as these will restrict your movement.

Chest stretch

• Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.
• Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest.
• Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Upper-body twist

• Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.
• Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds.
• Repeat on the right side.
• Do 5 times on each side.

Hip marching

• Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.
• Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control.
• Repeat with the opposite leg.
• Do 5 lifts with each leg.

In an article published on ITV, it said that nurses have missed out of the UK Government’s latest announcement that it will be giving two million public sector workers a pay rise. Instead, nurses have the option to be offered supermarket discounts and cheap gym membership in an effort to persuade workers to stay in the NHS. But is this enough?

Speaking to the Telegraph, Simon Stevens, the head of the UK’s health service, will call for the wider rollout of such schemes which have given staff savings of up to £1,000 a year on their shopping. The plans will see nurses offered access to promotions and discounts in a bid to encourage staff loyalty.

It has been revealed in the London Economic that many nurses are quitting the NHS to work in Lidl because pay, hours and benefits better. With a shortage of 40,000 nurses across the UK, the NHS continues to face a drain on staffing as nurses quit, yet they have not been announced as deserving of a pay rise in 2019.

Last year NHS leaders warned that the health service is now so understaffed that patient safety is being put at risk. Chris Hopson, NHS Providers’ chief executive said in the article: “Years of pay restraint and stressful working conditions are taking their toll”.

The Telepgraph adds that health officials say a similar NHS discount scheme in Birmingham – which gave staff access to discounts from 700 retailers, including Sainsbury, Tesco, Boots, Morrisons and B&Q – has helped the trust to keep its staff, at a time when others are losing workers. Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has cut turnover of nursing staff by two per cent since starting the scheme. The trust says its discount website, which has more than 2,300 users, helps staff save up to £1,000 a year.

It has been announced that two million public sector workers including police officers and teachers but excluding nurses are to receive above-inflation pay increases, the biggest for six years. Police officers will receive a 2.5% rise while the salaries of teachers and other school staff will increase by 2.75%. Soldiers will get a 2.9% increase and dentists and consultants will get 2.5%, according to the Times.

Most public sector workers’ pay increase will be higher than the 2% rate of inflation. Many have been forced to accept below-inflation pay increases during the government’s austerity drive of the past decade, while rents have risen by more than the cost of living.

A recent report warned that London and the southern regions of England are facing a shortage of teachers, nurses and police officers as rising rents make housing in large parts of the UK unaffordable for key public sector workers.

The report, published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, warned that the high cost of rental housing in London and in the South East could contribute to a shortage of nurses in the area. It found that rental costs in London accounted for 39% of nurses’ and midwives’ income and noted that a ratio of 30% was the conventional benchmark that is considered affordable.

So are discounts enough to keep nurses in the NHS? Ultimately shopping budgets and gym memberships are only a couple of pieces to the puzzle. If nurses can’t pay their rents and their bills, we are going to see more and more of them move to other jobs with better benefits and pay.

However, it is a start.

The BBC has estimated that there are roughly 700,000 young carers in the UK. A young carer is a young person looking after a family member who is not well, or helping them by looking after the other members of the family while they can’t. The average age of a young carer is scarily only 12 years old.

Young carers often do more chores than other children would normally have to do. On top of providing emotional support to the person they are caring for, they may also have to learn how to nurse them or look after their personal needs like bathing and dressing. Such tasks can be difficult for grown adults to deal with, let alone young children.

Here’s some advice from the NHS website for if you’re struggling as a young carer:

Where can I turn for help?

1. Your teachers could be a good place to start when reaching out for support if you are a young carer. They could point you in the direction of getting some help from appropriate authorities.

2. A social worker from your local council can arrange to pay you a visit and offer you support if you or your parents request this. Social workers may also be asked to help a young carer’s family if there are problems.

3. Childline is a free and confidential telephone helpline for children on 0800 11 11. You can talk to someone there who may be able to give you advice and get you help and they won’t tell anyone that you have called.

4. If you’re worried about your health, or the health of the person you care for, speak to a doctor or GP.

Local mental health nurses can also offer emotional support and advice about mental health conditions. If your parent has a “community psychiatric nurse”, you can talk to the nurse about your parent’s illness and how you can help your parent cope.

5. You could also call all the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.

What happens if I miss too much school?

You may find you have to miss school to care for someone, but missing too much school can affect your whole future. It can mean you fall behind in work, fail exams and can affect your chances of getting into university or finding work in the future.

If you’re missing lessons to help look after someone at home, or struggling to get your work in on time, it’s important to talk to a teacher about what’s going on at home so that they can understand what is happening and give you more help. You might not want your school to know you’re caring for someone, but if they don’t know about your situation it can be difficult for teachers to understand why you are falling behind. Try to get help as quickly as possible so the situation doesn’t go on for a long time.

A GP, nurse, social worker or another person whose job is to help the person you look after should be able to organise more support at home to help you concentrate on school or college.

How do I maintain a social life?

Young carers can miss out on playing and spending time with friends and classmates. You may feel isolated from your friends because you don’t have as much free time as them, because you’re often thinking about the person you look after or because you may be worried they will bully you if they find out you are a young carer.

Local young carers project or a carers centre may be able to help maintain your social life. Meeting up with other young carers is a great way to make new friends, have some fun and share some of your worries with people in similar situations to your own. Young carers projects may offer evening clubs, weekends away, days out and even holidays, as well as friendly advice and information for you and for your family.

Here are some organisations to look at:

1. The Children’s Society runs services for young carers in many areas.

2. KIDS is an organisation specially for carers under the age of 18.

3. Action for Children can put you in touch with other young carers. It also has free places for young carers at its residential activity camps.

What do I do about money?

Most young children do not have to worry about money, but when you are a young carer your loved one may not be able to take control of finances on your behalf.

Citizens Advice has information on money, benefits and your rights. The National Careers Service has a helpline, webchat and email service about education and careers for 13 to 19 year olds. Support is also available up to the age of 25 for those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

We’re feeling hot! Hot! Hot! And not only do we feel hot due to the weather our clients can’t get enough of how incredible our healthcare professionals are. Secure Healthcare Solutions have had such an incredible month and our agency nurses and healthcare assistants have excelled with the level of professionalism they have had and it has brought brilliant feedback. We have had another training day this month which has allowed our nurses to develop on their current skills and we have plenty more to come this July for our healthcare assistance and nurses. Our domiciliary care team has introduced their new care coordinator, Lindsey, who has brought a positive energy to the table and has been able to help organise the clients we already have as well as helping new clients receive the package they require. We have also had a clinical lead join us this month, Irene, who has been able to provide more training then we have previously and has been able to improve the quality of care our candidates are able to provide.

With such an incredible month for Secure Healthcare Solutions, we could only say thank you to all of our healthcare assistants, support workers, nurses and NHS staff members for their incredible work ethos, their commitment to their service of providing care and how lovely they are as individuals. For this month we have two candidates who have shown excellency in their own way. We are pleased to announce Diane is our Healthcare assistant of the month as she is always happy to help us out by travelling to different areas to cover shifts, is such a polite person and we are constantly getting incredible feedback for this lady we can only say thank you. Our Nurse of the month has to be our young gentlemen Buddy, due to being able to calm the people around him, dissolve any problems on his shifts very easily, which has made him an extremely likeable person that our clients can’t get enough of and for his quality always being first class and never faltering over the many years he has worked for Secure Healthcare Solutions.

Congratulations to our winners of employee of the month and to rest of the Secure Healthcare Solutions for the hard work you continuously display.  Let’s get our sun cream on and sunglasses out and enjoy summer!

It’s often the case that you don’t know much about an illness or a condition until, or if, it happens to affect you or someone you love, and spinal injuries are no different. According to Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries can be caused from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself. A traumatic spinal cord injury may arise from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.

Should you be affected by spinal injuries, you may find yourself seeking extra support and care and could feel overwhelmed by information on how to cope with this sudden shock to your life. According to Spinalcord.com, spinal injuries are serious and complex and each spinal injury is unique, affecting victims differently and for different lengths of time. A spinal injury may result in only temporary back pain, but at worst it can leave victims completely paralysed.

Here are some things you never knew about spinal injuries, with help from Grey Law and the Mobility Resource:

1. It’s hard to regulate body temperature

When a spinal injury occurs this might mean that the person has more difficulty warming up when they are cold and cooling down when they are hot. This is because the spinal cord is used to communicate between the brain and the body when temperatures change and without this function it can be hard to keep up.

2. People with paralysis can have sex

This is a question most asked when discussing paralysis or spinal injuries. People who are paralysed can still have and enjoy sex. For some, their injuries might compromise sensitivity and feeling, but research suggests that there are nerves associated with sexual pleasure that completely bypass the spinal cord.

3. More men suffer with spinal injuries than women

There is much speculation as to why this is, and some suggest that this could be as more men participate in fighting, sports and tend to be faster behind the wheel, but the truth is that there isn’t the scientific evidence to back up such theories as of yet.

According to Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation centre, every year about 17,500 people in the United States sustain a spinal cord injury. That’s 48 new injuries every day. Most of these people are injured in car accidents, falls, violence and sports-related accidents. The average age of newly injured patients is 42, and 81 percent of them are men.

4. Professionals won’t always have the answers

As every spinal injury is unique and individual to the person injured, you may find that you are unable to get the answers you are looking for from medical professionals all the time. While nurses, doctors and therapists will try their best to provide you with information, it’s important to remember that it’s impossible for them to know everything about spinal injuries.

Learning everything you can about successfully living with a spinal injury, the different seating options that are available, coping strategies, and staying up-to-date with ongoing research relating to different treatments and advancements can go a long way in aiding your individual recovery.

5. A spinal injury could mean you can’t cough

Spinal injuries affect the muscles in the walls of the chest, not just your ability to walk. Virtually everything becomes paralysed below the the spinal injury and according to BranandSpinalCord.org, “the abdominal and chest muscles can also be affected, resulting in difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing the chest.”

Sadly respiratory failure is one of the main causes of death among people suffering spinal cord injuries, since they cannot cough up phlegm when they are ill.

6. Legs can still move even when paralysed

The nervous system can still enable leg movement even after severe spinal injury. People with paralysis may find that their legs can shake, move, and spasm on their own at any time without the person’s control.

7. You could be less hairy

Most people with a spinal injury notice that their hair thins, or that they lose hair a few years after their injuries. This is because research suggests that the spinal cord connects the rate of body hair growth with something in the brain that provides feedback to the hair follicles. They are not sure why, but something about spinal cord injuries often leads to less body hair on the head and elsewhere.

8. People with spinal injuries can still do sports

Many people living with paralysis play adapted sports and can become very good at them. Even with a spinal injury, it’s important to remain active, and sometimes physical activity can even help those who are paralysed to gain their ability to walk back; under the guidance of professionals.

It’s always a difficult time when it comes to decided whether your loved one might need some extra help or even go into an assisted living situation. It could be a parent who isn’t ready to be looked after by someone they don’t know, or perhaps it’s a disabled family member who is becoming too difficult to look after with the facilities and finances available. Such situations always need to be handled sensitivity, but it is important to remember that sometimes extra help is necessary for the quality of life of the person in need.

Moving to hiring a carer or to assisted living can be a difficult transition, but every individual is different and such changes depend on factors such as current health status and medical and personal needs.

Here are some points to consider from Forbes for when determining whether your loved one might need some extra help:

1. Worsening health

Your loved one might have some manageable health conditions already, but a sign that extra help is needed could be if their health conditions worsen. If your loved one indicates that he or she has fallen and has struggled to get up on more than one occasion, it’s not safe for them to be living on their own. Nearly one third of seniors fall at least once every year, and the death rate for falls has climbed steadily in the past decade. Look out for suspicious bruising and injuries and go seek a professional to speak to if you are concerned.

2. Money problems

Many vulnerable people struggle to keep up with all their financial responsibilities, and if left unattended bills and financial problems can arise. Diseases like dementia can affect a person’s ability to think logically and handle numbers on a complex level and this can lead to difficulties when doing taxes or taking care of multiple bills at one time.

Older or vulnerable people can also be susceptible to financial scams. These scams can put them in debilitating financial trouble, and can prevent them from taking care of themselves as they could lose their savings, for example, which is sometimes all they have to live on.

3. Feeling lonely

Isolation and poor mental health can be a serious problem for vulnerable people. More than 11 million seniors live alone, and isolation can seriously affect a person’s overall health. When vulnerable people isolate themselves, that means they may stop participating in hobbies they once enjoyed, social interactions with family and friends, or just simply leaving the house at all.

Loneliness can spark depression, as the lack of community or sense of purpose can cause them to become depressed. It can also allow addictions to harbour as vulnerable people who are isolated often develop bad health habits like drinking, smoking cigarettes, and prescription drug abuse to fill the void.

4. Messy home

An untidy and smelly home can indicate that someone may not be able to live on his or her own anymore. These can often be explained with a person’s physical inability to clean up after themselves and it can get to the point where they can’t vacuum the house or clean the dishes. They might not even be able to recognise that thinks have gotten so bad, so it’s vital for someone else to step in and offer them extra support.

5. Poor hygiene

While a loved one may have some level of ability to take care of him or herself, a big sign it may be time for extra help is the lack of motivation for doing so. Some signs of poor hygiene include poor grooming habits when they used to take great pride in their appearance, and bad odour, which could indicate that they aren’t washing as often as they should be. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for disheveled clothing, which could signal that they are unable to wash their own clothes anymore.

6. Forgetfulness

Forgetting to pay bills is one sign that someone might need extra help and another is forgetting to take medication. This is important as some medications, if not taken properly, can have devastating consequences; including death. Check tablet boxes and bottles regularly to see if they are being taken by the person in need.

7. Poor diet or weight loss.

It’s also important for you to look at the food your loved one is eating. Open up the fridge and have a look around on a regular basis. Is there spoiled food in there? Are there a lot of foods past their expiration date? These may be signs that your loved one can’t cook for him or herself anymore or that they aren’t eating healthy food or full meals, which can cause poor health and weight loss.

If the happiness or health of a loved one seems to be being compromised, it’s time to have a conversation about whether it’s time to find extra help for the individual.

It was once widely accepted that as we grew older our teeth would eventually all fall out and we’d all have to wear dentures that we kept floating in glasses of water on our bedside tables. However, with advancements in dental health knowledge and access to free dental care via the NHS, it is now easier than ever to keep our natural teeth and more and more of us are doing this right through to our 80s and 90s.

According to the United Nations, the proportion of older people across the globe is increasing all the time, with around one in 12 people worldwide now being 65 and over; and this is expected to double in the next 30 years. It is estimated that by 2050, almost one in five of us will be over 65. That equates to 1.6 billion people.

Our expanding older generation are extending their lives and at the same time increasing the quality of their lives due to good quality health care and advancements in medicine. However, it appears that in some cases older people who once maintained good dental and oral care are letting this slip as the years continue to pass. Keeping our natural teeth further into life means there is a greater need for support daily, dental treatment and restorative work, as well as more care for unrestored teeth.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, those looking after elderly patients or older family members are more likely to encounter more demands and difficulties when caring for an older person’s oral health because of their reduced mobility, as well as losses in cognitive ability. Elderly people who are suffering with poor oral health could be in pain and discomfort and experience problems their mouth and jaw. They might also have difficulty eating and drinking, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies and this could have a negative impact on their wider health.

There are many factors which may make older people more susceptible to dental diseases, including use of medications. For the best chance of keeping teeth and gums healthy, the NHS says that it’s important to brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, floss and to see a dentist regularly. Age UK say that based on the health of your teeth and gums, your dentist will decide how often you should visit them for a check-up; the recommendation is likely to be between 12 and 24 months, although it can be as often as every six months. It’s worth noting when looking after an elderly person that dental treatment is free if you or your partner receive Guarantee credit part of Pension Credit.

Sometimes an elderly person is unable to maintain daily dental care, and so carers or family member will have to help by flossing and brushing their teeth for them and making sure that they attend the dentist. There are special toothbrushes that are curved and ergonomically designed to be more comfortable for brushing someone else’s teeth. The Amercian Dental Society says that if your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different approach. There are dentists who specialise in caring for the elderly and disabled and you can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory.

For those who wear dentures – and lot of elderly people do – it’s important to pay close attention to the wearers eating habits. According to Mouth Healthy, if they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

Here are a few tips from WebMD for keeping dentures in great shape:

• Handle dentures with great care. To avoid accidentally dropping them, stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling them.
• Brush and rinse dentures daily, but not with toothpaste. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque. Use a brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Gently brush all surfaces of the denture and be careful not to damage the plastic or bend attachments.
• In between brushing, rinse dentures after every meal.
• Clean with a denture cleaner. Hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid can be used for cleaning dentures. Household cleansers and many toothpastes may be too abrasive for dentures and should not be used.
• Dentures need to be kept moist when not being worn so they do not dry out or lose their shape. When not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. However, if the denture has metal attachments, the attachments could tarnish if placed in a soaking solution. Your dentist can recommend the best methods for caring for your particular denture.
• Dentures should never be placed in hot water, which can cause them to warp.