Loading Jobs...

If our eyesight is bad, we as a nation have no problem going to the opticians to get glasses – in fact, glasses can be quite the fashion statement. However, the doesn’t seem to be true for hearing aids, and the reason could be that hearing loss is mostly associated with the ageing process. According to Action on Hearing Loss, there are 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK, which is around one in six of us.

It isn’t just the elderly who suffer with hearing loss, as there are around 50,000 children with hearing loss in the UK. Around half are born with hearing loss while the other half lose their hearing during childhood. On the flip side, more than 40% of people over 50 years old have hearing loss, which rises to 71% of people over the age of 70 and around one in 10 UK adults has tinnitus.

If you are worried about your hearing, the NHS describes some early signs to look out for. These include difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places, asking people to repeat themselves, listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need, difficulty hearing on the phone, finding it hard to keep up with a conversation and feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening.

If you have identified yourself as someone who struggles with hearing, you should go and visit a specialist known as an audiologist who may suggest you would benefit from wearing a hearing aid. According to Hearing Aid Know, there are three main hearing aid types. These include:

• BTE Hearing Aids: These devices are worn with the hearing aid on top of and behind the ear. All of the parts are in the case at the back of the ear, and they are joined to the ear canal with a sound tube and a custom mould or tip.
• ITE Hearing Aids: These are custom-made devices and all of the electronics sit in a device that fits in your ear, they come in many sizes including CIC (completely in Canal) and IIC (Invisible in Canal).
• RIC RITE Hearing Aids: These devices are similar in concept to BTE hearing aids, with the exception that the receiver (the speaker) has been removed from the case that sits at the back of the ear. It is fitted in your ear canal or ear and connected to the case of the hearing aid with a thin wire.

Here are some interesting facts you might not have known about hearing aids before today:

1. The website hearingaids.com say that hearing aids “can memorise settings for multiple listening environments and can recalibrate—sometimes automatically—depending on sound input received from your surroundings.” This put simply means that hearing aids can remember different settings and programme themselves to adapt to them; just like a human ear.
2. The website also adds that many hearing aids can sync with wireless devices by using Bluetooth, enabling you to receive direct auditory signals from your smartphone, television, and more. Apple have also recently partnered with major hearing aid manufacturers to develop a Made for iPhone app that streams audio to your hearing aids directly from any iOS device. Pretty cool, huh?
3. According to hear.com you can hear in all directions with hearing aids. “Hearing aids are built with directional microphones to detect all ambient noises and automatically filter them for important sounds. Therefore, you can understand your conversation partner well in noisy scenes – whether he is sitting next to you in the car or in a busy cafe.”
4. You probably did not notice, but hear.com adds that “many celebrities wear hearing aids, such as U2 frontman Bono, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins. Also, Oscar prizewinners Christoph Waltz, Robert Redford and Jodie Foster as well as fashion designer Wolfgang Joop wear hearing aids.”
5. Hearing aids can help to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus, according to 121captions.com. “Some hearing aids provide a kind of ‘masking’ effect for tinnitus, allowing you to hear sounds more naturally.”
6. Lastly, 121captions.com recommend that you shouldn’t buy hearing aids online, as they have to be programmed by a certified audiologist or hearing specialist. “Follow-up visits are just as important to ensure your hearing aids are adjusted properly and working optimally.” Don’t cut corners when it comes to your hearing and your health!

Thankfully, depression is a mental illness that is becoming more easily talked about, with more and more celebrities – from Stephen Fry to Stormzy – coming forward to admit that they have struggled with it. This open conversation is allowing more and more people the confidence to seek help and better manage their depression.

If you’re unsure about what depression is, the Mental Health Foundation describes it as “a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration”.

Their website adds that depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and in 2014 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression – a 1.5% increase from 2013. This percentage was higher among females (22.5%) than males (16.8%).

So how can you tell if you have depression? Most of us get sad or lonely from time to time, but it’s when these feelings begin to rule your life and cause physical as well as psychological symptoms that last for long periods of time that this could be classed as depression. It is at this point where it could be worth getting some help; it could even save your life.

Web MD say that recognising the symptoms of depression is key to tackling it. They say that “unfortunately, about half the people who have depression never get it diagnosed or treated.”

According to their website, symptoms of depression can include:

• Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
• Fatigue
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
• Pessimism and hopelessness
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
• Irritability
• Restlessness
• Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
• Overeating, or appetite loss
• Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
• Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
• Suicidal thoughts or attempts (1 in every 10 people with depression result to this)

If you’ve acknowledged you might have depression, a good place to start is with a visit to your GP in order to get a medical diagnosis and some professional help. Your GP can recommend treatments for depression including psychological therapies like CBT or counselling, or antidepressants. Additionally, the NHS have some extra tips that could help you deal with your depression:

1. Socialising can improve your mood and keeping in touch with friends and family means you’ll have someone to talk to when you feel low.
2. Take up some form of exercise. There’s evidence that exercise can help lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 minutes every day.
3. Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to other people. Some people can lose their confidence in going out, driving or travelling. If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will help them become easier.
4. Don’t drink too much alcohol. For some people, alcohol can become a problem. You may drink more than usual as a way of coping with or hiding your emotions, or just to fill time. But alcohol won’t help you solve your problems and could also make you feel more depressed.
5. Try to eat a healthy diet. Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. Others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight. Antidepressants can also affect your appetite, so if you’re concerned about weight loss, weight gain or how antidepressants are affecting your appetite, talk to your GP.
6. Have a routine. When people feel down, they can get into poor sleep patterns, staying up late and sleeping during the day. Try to get up at your normal time and stick to your routine as much as possible. Not having a routine can affect your eating. Try to carry on cooking and eating regular meals.
7. If you start to feel that your life isn’t worth living or about harming yourself, get help straight away. You can contact Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non-judgemental emotional support. You could call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment or you could call 111 out of hours – they will help you find the support and help you need.

You hear a lot about scams on the news and through everyday conversations. About how older and often more vulnerable people are targeted in particular. There are some cases where people have lost their life savings to what they have thought were worthy, legal and just causes only to find out that they have been deceived and that the money they had worked so hard for is no longer around to pay for their retirement.

According to a BBC investigation back in 2018, fraudsters scammed nearly 49,000 older people across the UK. However, the true number of elderly victims is likely to be in the millions.

It’s a scary thought, especially if you are concerned of a loved one – perhaps a parent – falling into such a trap. But how can you spot the signs of a scam?

Age UK define scams to be a way of cheating people out of their money. “A scammer may try to approach you on your doorstep, by post, over the phone or online. They’ll often pretend to be someone they’re not, or make misleading offers of services or investments. New digital ways of communicating have led to an increasing number of scams – and more people being tricked by them.”

The Money Advice Service explains that knowing what to be on the lookout for when it comes to scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Here are some ways, according to their website, of how you can recognise a scam:

• If you have received any kind of contact, but particularly a phone call, out of the blue, it is best to avoid it. Since January 2019, there has been a ban on cold calling about pensions. This means you should not be contacted by any company about your pension unless you’ve asked them to.
• If you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from. If it is a scam, the email address the message has come from will be filled in with random numbers, or be misspelled.If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
• Personal details, PIN codes and passwords. These are things no legitimate company will ask you for.
• If you are pushed into making a decision on the spot, be suspicious. Scammers don’t want you to have time to think about it.
• Random competitions, particularly if you don’t remember entering them, should ring alarm bells.

But what happens if you’ve already fallen victim to a scam? If you’ve already given money to a scam, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed. Scammers are usually very good at what they do and can sound very convincing.

Age UK say that the first thing you should do is get in touch with your bank so they can cancel any cards or freeze your account. Then contact Action Fraud (0300 123 2040). The information you provide could help authorities track down the scammer, making them pay for their crime and protecting others. You might even get some money back.

“If you paid for something by credit card in a transaction that turns out to be fraudulent, your card provider may offer protection. If you have household insurance, your policy may also provide cover in some circumstances. If the scammer is traced, it may be possible to prosecute them and recover your money.”

If you are concerned that someone you know is being, or has been, targeted by scammers, Independent Age suggest you should try to speak to them about it. “It’s not uncommon for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed if they have fallen victim to a scam, so reassure them that this isn’t their fault and that scammers use devious tactics anyone could be taken in by.”

They add that whether or not the person wants to report a scam, they could talk to Victim Support (0808 168 9111), a charity providing practical and emotional support to people affected by crime. If you’re concerned that someone you know might be at risk of financial abuse – for example, a person with dementia who you’re caring for – discuss your concerns with your local council’s adult social services department.

Autumn is coming which can only mean one thing. Summer has come to an end. With summer coming to a close there’s no more Ice cream vans to run out too before they drive away, the warms days are becoming no existent and grandparents telling you to get a choc ice out the fridge rather than having an ice cream from the ice cream van. With one door closing another door opens and with winter coming it is the season for big snuggly jumpers, cuddling up on the sofa to watch films about Halloween and Christmas and drinking big cups of hot chocolate.

With Christmas coming Secure Healthcare Solutions have a many opportunities arising. We have vacancies for female domiciliary workers; all we require you to have is a driving License and access to a car. There are opportunities to join our temporary staffing agency, you only need 6 months paid experience within the UK in the past two years and just to us expanding we are recruiting over the West midlands and the South West. Give us a call on 0121 285 9449 and our recruitment team can advise you on the best route for you whether you’re a healthcare assistant, support worker, registered nurses, Allied Healthcare Professionals and NHS candidates. Every little helps and with Christmas fast approaching why not sign up with the agency to help you save up that little extra to put away for Christmas presents.

Our temporary agency employees always go above and beyond to amaze our clients and ourselves with the service they provide on behalf of Secure Healthcare Solutions and the dedication they have towards their work ethos. Our nurse of the month has been an exceptional agency staff member of ours who has excelled in her career as an NHS nurse by working through us. She has had excellent feedback given back from all wards she has worked on and is always positive in any scenario, Congratulations Vashti. The healthcare assistant of the month has been hardworking since he has joined the agency and is always willing to help us urgently as well as with advance bookings; he is a credit to us and a well-respected member of the Secure Healthcare Family. Congratulations Foster.

If you yourself do not struggle with anxiety, you’re likely to know someone (or several people) who does. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year”. Anxiety can affect anyone – from carers, to doctors, to nurses and patients – although women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

It’s difficult to determine whether the number of those affected by anxiety is rising or whether we are all just far more open about talking about it. However, the ADAA also say that researchers have found that using social media obsessively can cause anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. With social media use increasing daily across all age groups, this sparks fear for our anxious minds and raises questions about how we will all cope in the future.

So what exactly is anxiety? The NHS website explains that anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. “Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.”

It is when feelings of anxiety begin to affect your daily life and begin to cause you distress that you should go to talk to your GP about it and get some professional help. Symptoms for anxiety can include feeling restless or worried, having trouble concentrating or sleeping and dizziness or heart palpitations.

If you are hoping to develop ways to manage anxiety – whether you’ve been to see your GP yet or not – here are some tips that could help you:

1. Talk it out

Mind the Mental Health Charity suggest that talking to someone you trust about what’s making you anxious could be a relief. “It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, the Samaritans and Anxiety UK both run helplines that you can call to talk to someone.”

2. Breathe through it

The NHS advise that if you are feeling anxious, the best thing is not to fight it. “Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.”

3. Move more

When coping with anxiety, WebMD say that if you’re feeling anxious, you should try exercising. “Exercise is an important part of physical and mental health. It can ease your feelings of anxiety and boost your sense of well-being. Shoot for three to five 30-minute workout sessions a week. Be sure to choose exercises you enjoy so you look forward to them.”

4. Get a good night’s sleep

WebMD also say that if we are feeling anxious we should pay attention to our sleep. “Both quality and quantity are important for good sleep. Doctors recommend an average of 8 hours of shut-eye a night. If anxiety is making it hard for you to fall asleep, create a routine to help.”

5. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol

Another one from WebMD! “Both caffeine, which is an “upper,” and alcohol, which is a “downer,” can make anxiety kick into overdrive. Cut back or avoid them if you can. Remember, coffee and soda aren’t the only things with caffeine.” Watch out also for diet pills, tea, chocolate and some headache medicines.

6. Try to accept your anxious thoughts

The Priory Group suggest that a good way of coping with anxiety is to sit with it. They say that “anxiety, although uncomfortable, is a normal emotion and no matter how much you want to get rid of it, we all feel anxious from time to time. Accepting anxiety, can be just like accepting that sometimes we feel angry, or sometimes we feel sad and sometimes we feel happy, and just like those other emotions, anxiety will pass. However, if your anxiety is long term and affecting your day-to-day life you shouldn’t just accept it in order to feel better, you should seek support.”

Often incorrectly described at brittle bone disease, osteoporosis is something that many ageing people will have heard of and will likely be fearful of. Osteoporosis affects over 3 million people in the UK with more than 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures every year as a result of the disease.

Although ageing can lead to osteoporosis, there are ways that you can prevent the disease, and with the help of the NHS’s website here we will explain how.

But firstly, what is osteoporosis?

According to the NHS, “osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture)”.

The most common injuries associated with osteoporosis are a broken wrist, hip or spinal bones.
However, breaks can also happen in other bones, such as in the arm or pelvis.

What causes of osteoporosis?

The NHS explains: “Losing bone is a normal part of ageing, but some people lose bone much faster than normal. This can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of broken bones.

“Women also lose bone rapidly in the first few years after the menopause. Women are more at risk of osteoporosis than men, particularly if the menopause begins early (before the age of 45) or they’ve had their ovaries removed.”

Osteoporosis can also affect men, younger women and children and there are other factors that can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis too. These include taking high-dose steroid tablets, a family history of osteoporosis, having or having had an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, not exercising regularly and heavy drinking and smoking.

How can we prevent osteoporosis?

Getting older is hard enough. You are more likely to develop diseases and certain health conditions, you may become unable to get around and do the things you used to do and you may feel isolated and lonely because of this. It is therefore a good idea to work towards prevention of osteoporosis before it’s too late to make life as an older adult a little easier.

Exercising regularly can go a long way to preventing osteoporosis. The NHS recommends that adults aged 19 to 64 should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. As well as aerobic exercise, adults aged 19 to 64 should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week by working all the major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, arms and shoulders.

Weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis. People over the age of 60 can also benefit from regular weight-bearing exercise. This can include brisk walking, keep-fit classes or a game of tennis.

As well as exercising regularly, the NHS says that “eating a healthy, balanced diet is recommended for everyone. It can help prevent many serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer, as well as osteoporosis. Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones. Adults need 700mg a day, which you should be able to get from your daily diet.”

If you would like to get more calcium into your diet, try eating more leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, tofu and yoghurt.

The NHS adds that “vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth because it helps your body absorb calcium. All adults should consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.”

To get more vitamin D into your diet, try eating more oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

If you are finding it difficult to get enough vitamin D from foods alone, you could consider taking a daily supplement, but consult your GP first.

Lastly, to give yourself the best chance of avoiding osteoporosis, you should consider quitting smoking, as smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and limiting your alcohol intake to no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

The summer holidays have flown by and just like the typical British weather, where the sun has come and gone our employee of the months have done the same thing. They have come to work and have shown how skilled, productive and their passion for healthcare, then jetted off as a reward to themselves for all the hard work they have done.

The summer has been an exciting month for Secure Healthcare Solutions! We have had training provided by Secure Training Services which has enabled the development of skills for not just our candidates but for external candidates, homes and clients as well. We have training running every month which is on offer to you, why not give us a call and find out how you can take part in one of our training days or find out how we can benefit you.

In addition to this, we have launched Secure Cleaning Services! Do you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to clean yourself, then why not call us today to find out how Secure Cleaning Services can help you.

With our candidates being as busy as we have this month it has been hard to schedule our candidates to come in. We have been so overwhelmed with the positive feedback we have received over the summer for our candidates and these are the two had feedback that stood out. Our nurse of the month has been with us for years and has always been a highly respected member of the Secure Healthcare Solutions Family. She has always had extremely positive feedback and has always had a strong relationship with any client she works for, being such a humble person who is a credit to the team, we couldn’t be prouder, congratulations Tilly. Our carer of the month is a new candidate of ours who has hit the ground running and jumped into the full swing of things. She has had incredible feedback since she has been with us and has shown her hard work and dedication to each and every client she has worked for, so congratulations to Sophie!

We hope everyone has had a lovely summer and are ready for the winter months. With Christmas coming soon we all need a little extra money in our pockets, so call Secure Healthcare Solutions today on 0121 285 9449 and find out how you can make a little extra money.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, around 850,000 people are estimated to have dementia in the UK, and that number is expected to rise to 1 million by 2025. Although there have been recent improvements in the rates of diagnosis and new funds being developed to research the condition, people with dementia and their carers still find it hard to get good quality care and support in the UK. It often falls to the responsibility to the family to care for the person with dementia.

According to the NHS, different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way. However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia, including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, struggling to follow a conversation, being confused and mood changes. These symptoms are often mild and may get worse.

You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for at first. For some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not get worse. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, and this is why it’s important to talk to your GP sooner rather than later if you’re at all worried about yourself or a loved one.

In the early stages of dementia, many people are able to enjoy life in the same way as before their diagnosis, but as symptoms get worse the person may feel anxious, stressed and scared at not being able to remember things. This can be difficult for family and carers to deal with, but there are things you can do (with credit to the NHS website and Home Care Preferred) to help the person in need and make life a little easier.

1. Let the person with dementia help with everyday tasks, such as shopping and gardening. This will give them a sense of responsibility and normality. Memory aids used around the home can help the person remember where things are, for example you could put labels and signs on cupboards, drawers and doors.

2. Help them to prepare meals, make sure they have food in the fridge and remind them to eat and drink enough. People with dementia may not drink enough because they don’t realise they’re thirsty. This puts them at risk of urinary tract infections, constipation and headaches. Not eating enough can cause malnutrition and other medical complications.

3. Help them with using the toilet. People with dementia may often experience problems with going to the toilet. Sometimes the person with dementia may simply forget they need the toilet or where the toilet is. Try putting a sign on the toilet door or try to make going to the toilet part of a regular daily routine for your loved one.

4. Set a positive mood with the person with dementia. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly than your words do. Use facial expressions, a positive tone of voice and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.

5. Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time, those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices as this can be too confusing.

6. Break down activities into a series of steps for them. This makes everyday tasks much more manageable.

7. Remember the good old days. Remembering the past is often a soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not remember what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years earlier. Try asking general questions about the person’s past.

8. Maintain a sense of humor. Use humor whenever possible, though not at your loved one’s expense. People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are usually delighted to laugh along with you.

9. Ask for help. If you’re struggling, there are a number of charities and voluntary organisations which provide valuable support and advice on their websites and via their helplines:

• Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline, 0300 222 1122
• Age UK’s Advice Line, 0800 055 6112
• Independent Age, 0800 319 6789
• Dementia UK Admiral Nurse Dementia helpline, 0800 888 6678
• Carers Direct helpline, 0300 123 1053
• Carers UK, 0800 808 7777

Eating and cooking alone isn’t easy, especially if you’re elderly or you have a disability. Buying food cheaply often means buying in bulk and often the cheapest option is a ready meal. Your social life may have changed and you may have physical limitations that making eating for one difficult. Food may also not taste as good as it used to if you have certain medical conditions.

The Senior Living website says that many of us who eat alone end up not eating balanced meals, or we skip meals because it’s easier to do so. Eating improperly can lead to a weakened immune system, loss of muscle and bone health, and loss of weight, and can contribute to other issues like risk of falling and breaking bones. Poor nutrition can lead to depression and eating the wrong things can make you gain weight, which can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol.

According to the NHS’s Eatwell Guide, we should aim for at least five portions of different-coloured fruit and vegetables each day. These can be fresh, frozen or canned. We should eat beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins, as they help maintain and repair your body after an injury or surgery. Oily fish are rich in vitamin D and a type of fat that helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates give you energy and a range of nutrients. We should try to eat wholegrain versions such as brown rice, wholegrain bread or pasta, as these are good sources of B vitamins, minerals and fibre, which helps prevent constipation. Dairy is particularly important for elderly people, as it contains protein and vitamins and is a good source of calcium, which helps to keep bones strong.

Diets that are high in fat, sugar and salt have been linked to common health conditions such as heart disease, some types of cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity and tooth decay. Many processed foods including ready meals and savoury snacks can be quite high in fat, sugar and salt. These foods should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet and in many cases it may be best to consider them as treats.

So how can you live alone and ensure you eat well? Well, different people face different challenges when it comes to how they maintain a good diet. According to the Alzheimers’ Society, people with dementia who live alone may struggle to prepare meals, or food may spoil and be forgotten about. It’s important to consider that if the person is struggling with eating and drinking, it may be a sign they need more support.

Buying frozen or refrigerated ready meals for the person with dementia can help, but as we said above they aren’t the most nutritious. However, they often require little preparation and may help the person cook more easily. Some meals are also specifically made to be nutritionally balanced. You could also consider having meals delivered. A few areas offer a ‘meals on wheels’ service. Contact your local council or Alzheimer’s Society to see what is available in your area.

Online shopping can be helpful if the person struggles with going to the shops. They can order what they want and have it delivered, usually on the date and at the time of day that they choose.

If you’re concerned about a loved one’s ability to feed themselves, simple notes about where food is, and pictures, may help as well as simple instructions about how to prepare, cook or reheat food for themselves. Consider arranging a homecare worker to help the person with eating and drinking.

For those more capable of cooking for themselves, eating healthy meals can be easy when you plan ahead and make them enjoyable. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggest you cook ahead and freeze portions for days when you don’t want to cook. Keep frozen or canned vegetables, beans, and fruits on hand for quick and healthy meal add-ons. Rinse canned foods to remove extra salt. Drain juice and syrup from canned fruit to remove extra sugar. Try to eat often with someone you enjoy spending time with.

Cooking healthily doesn’t have to be fancy. Harvard Medical School say that ideas can include a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich on whole-wheat bread with a piece of fruit, an egg on top of whole-grain toast with yogurt and fruit, or a whole-grain waffle with a little peanut butter, along with fruit and a small glass of milk. Blend convenience foods with fresh foods.

Lastly, batch-cooking once or twice a month can help us to eat healthily when we are eating alone. Make a big batch of lasagna, soup, stew, or casserole and divide it into numerous servings to freeze for later use.

We can all feel lonely sometimes, but it seems that in the age of social media and growing social anxiety loneliness has reached “epidemic” levels. The issue appears to be especially problematic for younger generations.

A poll referred in an article on Vox from YouGov – a polling firm and market research company – found that 30% of millennials say they feel lonely and 22% of millennials said they had zero friends. Of the people involved in the poll, 27% said they had “no close friends,” 30% said they had “no best friends”, and 25% said they have no acquaintances.

Loneliness isn’t just about feeling alone, but it can be very damaging to our health. Loneliness is associated with higher blood pressure and heart disease and it has been shown to have a health impact similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Everyone’s experience of loneliness can be different. Some may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience. Or you may have lots of social contact, or be in a relationship or part of a family, and still feel lonely.

According to Mind the mental health charity, feeling lonely isn’t classified as a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely. For example, you may experience social phobia and find it difficult to engage in everyday activities involving other people. Research suggests that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress.

For some people, certain life events may mean they feel lonely, such as experiencing a bereavement, going through a break-up, retiring and losing the social contact you had at work, changing jobs, starting at university or moving to a new area or country without family, friends or community networks. Other people find they feel lonely at certain times of the year, such as around Christmas.

Regardless of the reason why someone might feel lonely, it’s important to acknowledge that most of us experience loneliness at some point in our lives and it’s okay to admit that and to reach out for more support or social interaction. Before the internet, people were a lot better and actively going out with a view to meet new people and engage in physical conversations, but nowadays that seems to appear more difficult.

Here are some tips from Better Help for how to cope with loneliness:

1. Accept that loneliness is normal: Just knowing that others around the globe are experiencing the same feelings of loneliness can be helpful. Remember that 40% of people will experience loneliness at some point in time.

2. Seek professional help: Meeting with a mental health professional is one of the most helpful steps you can take if you’re trying to overcome loneliness. A therapist can help you explore what is behind your feelings and other issues surrounding your loneliness can be addressed as well.

3. Nurture existing relationships: Loneliness can make us pull away from our existing relationships. By nurturing the relationships you already have, you can put yourself on a path to overcoming loneliness. Try to schedule time each day or week to call or visit a friend. Invite someone out for lunch or start up conversations when you can. Use social media to reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with due to time or distance.

4. Practice positive ‘self-talk’: When you’re feeling lonely, and you start to think negatively you’re adding to your loneliness. Make an effort to catch these thoughts and replace them with a positive message instead. The process of positive self-talk takes practice, but it can be part of a simple cure for loneliness.

5. Find a hobby: Boredom adds weight to loneliness. If you’re already struggling with feelings of loneliness or social isolation, find something to occupy your time. Make sure that what you choose has some social aspect to it. Take some time to explore hobby options and then get out there!