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Respite care is there to help family members or caregivers when they need a break from the demands of looking after a sick or disabled family member. Whether you are looking for respite care in your own home or at a day-care centre, respite can be organised in advance or in an emergency should you really need it. The whole idea of respite is to reduce the burden you have on caregiving and to allow you a much-needed break to rest up, clear your mind before going again.

Why Is Respite So Important     

You should never feel guilty when considering respite care. Caring for another person is a big job and often has an effect on your own health, social life as well as your home life. By taking a necessary break you will not only benefit from resting an coming back stronger but also reduce the stress and burden that you take on.

Below are three reasons respite care is vital: 

It allows you to rest

As mentioned above, caring for another person is very full-on and requires your attention 24/7. This can be draining and cause you to burn out. And let’s face it, what sort of help will you be if you are feeling run down and exhausted? Respite care is there to give you a much-needed break. You can relax knowing that your loved one is being looked after by a professional. It allows you to have a period of time where you can focus on yourself and your wellbeing. You can spend time with your loved ones, meet up with friends and forget about your day to day stresses at home. Just like at work a break is what you need to regain your motivation. It will allow you to refocus and be on top of your game on your return. 

Maintain Or Rekindle Your Hobbies And Interests

In not uncommon to hear from caregivers that they have stopped doing what they enjoy in life to look after a loved one. Respite can be a great opportunity to go out there and do the things you enjoy. Even if it’s for a few days, it can be really nice to pick up a racket and place tennis again or go to the beach and read your favourite book. As important as caregiving is, you should never forget how important your own hobbies and interests are.  

why is respite care so important Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Go on Holiday 

Forgetting about your day to day worries of caring is important for your mental health. The best way to relax is to go away for a week. You will  take a break from your duties as a caregiver. Respite allows you to get away and spend time with your family on a holiday. You will rest up and come back ready to take on your duties again but with additional motivation from your break. 

Respite can be good for the person you are caring for

By getting respite care, it doesn’t only benefit you. Respite can be beneficial for the person your caring for too. They will receive professional help and it can be a change of scenery for them. They will get the undivided attention of a new person with who they can interact and get to know. This can be a much-needed break for both of you, allowing you to rest up ready for your return.

There are many reasons that respite care can be extremely beneficial. If you are looking for respite care in your area, please get in touch today as we would love to help you. We have Respite Care in West Midlands, Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas that we can assist with.

If you have always wanted to be in healthcare, why not consider a career as a dental nurse? A dental nurse is an important role and involves supporting the dentist in all of the aspects of caring for a patient. You will work alongside the whole dental team and your role is a varied one that will differ from day to day. It could be that you go from helping the main dentist and clinical dental technician to therapists and hygienists – you will get a vast amount of experience. Whether you are looking for nurse jobs NHS, private hospital staffing or dental nurse jobs in your local dental clinics, there are many roles out there.

What is a dental nurse jobs role? 

A dental nurse is essentially an assistant to a dentist and will help with all the aspects of the care of patients. The role is greatly varied and you are an integral part to the team. Some of your typical day to day duties could typically include:

  • Preparing the appropriate instruments for the patient
  • Cleaning and preparing equipment and the space for infection control
  • Sterilizing instruments and getting the space ready for surgery
  • Taking care of the patient 
  • Writing down patient notes during their appointment
  • Preparing the materials needed to make fillings

Why being a dental nurse is such a great idea

Your role is varied

Being a dental nurse you don’t have to worry about being stuck behind a computer, mindlessly typing away and doing the exact same thing every day. While you know your main duties, you never know exactly what the day will throw at you and this is exciting. It keeps you on your toes and means that the role is always interesting. 

Dental nurse jobs

It is a solid career path

Being a dental nurse NHS is something that will always be needed in society. It is a great way to get into a solid career and to get a good set of skills. You will be able to apply these to your everyday life and any roles you may undertake in the future. To be a dental nurse you don’t need any real solid qualifications. It is a good way to get some experience in the medical field while earning at the same time. You can do training as well as work meaning that you can both enhance your experience as well as gaining new qualifications.

It is a good career to fit around your lifestyle

If you don’t like the idea of shift work, then a dental nurse is great for you. The standard hours are 9am-5pm (although you might be required to work some weekends or evenings depending on where you are working.) A lot of people find this much better than shift work as you know you will always be working the same hours each week. If you can’t work full time due to commitments such as childcare, there are also part-time positions which could fit well around this.

You can learn on the job

As a dental nurse, you don’t need to have completed a complex degree. You can become qualified through ways such as an apprenticeship or just start working as a trainee. Both options enable you to work towards your General Dental Council certificate (GDC) which is what you are required to have if you want to be a dental nurse UK. Some examples of qualifications that could help you to become a dental nurse include: 

  • Foundation Degree in Dental Nursing
  • Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Dental Nursing
  • National Diploma in Dental Nursing

These are just a few reasons that being a dental nurse is a great role. If you are looking for dental nurse jobs NHS or in private hospital staffing, we have a range of NHS nursing jobs in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Find out more about our dental nurse jobs here.

When it comes to a point in yours or a loved one’s life that they can no longer cope living at home, you will have to consider what the next step is. The two main options are usually live-in care or care homes. While both offer the same fundamental propositions, there are many differences between them. Both offer expert care 24/7, seven days a week on a long-term (or short term) basis depending on what is needed. There are benefits and detrimental points to both, but home care services have been rising in popularity more and more over recent years. And with good reason. A good alternative to sending your loved one to live in residential care, it offers all the benefits of a care home, with others added on too. Here are some top reasons that care at home is rising in popularity. 

Care at home means you can stay in familiar surroundings

If you go to live in a care home you are being taken away from all that you know and hold dear. Houses are so much more than bricks and mortar, and many have been the home of the occupant for many years. In this time you would have built up a host of memories and created a space that you love and cherish. Being taken away from all your belongings and the sights, smells, sounds and routines that you know so well can be challenging; particularly for those that are suffering from conditions such as dementia. Home care services allow you to stay in your familiar surroundings, while also receiving the additional support and care that you require.

You receive dedicated one to one care

In a care home, you will receive care that is shared out between a number of other residents. When you receive home care services from a healthcare agency you receive dedicated one to one care in your own home. Your care at home provider will be there just for you and will be able to give you their undivided attention.  No matter if it is emotional or medical, they will look after you and make sure that your needs are met without distraction. In a care home, they might have to rush off to help someone else, or be speaking to and helping many of you at the same time.
Care at home servicesPhoto by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You can feel more in control

When you receive home care services you can feel more in control. It is a home carer coming into your home as opposed to you going to their care home. You know where everything is and it is your space where you feel most comfortable. In a care home, you often don’t have control over the time you eat, when you go to bed and when you wake up. A home carer is more flexible with this and can sort out a schedule that works for you. 

You don’t have to move away from your family

When looking for a care home you want it to be somewhere that you can envisage yourself living at. This might mean that you have to move out of town, or further away from your family. Many people need the care and companionship that their family provides and if it is harder for relatives to visit, this could be detrimental to your mental health. By staying at home you don’t have to alter any visiting routines from your family and if they usually pop round often, this can easily continue.

You can stay with your pets

Not many residential homes allow you to take your pet with you. For many, pets are like family and moving away from them can be very difficult and distressing. By staying at home and choosing care at home, you can keep living with your pet. If you have a dog that you aren’t able to walk anymore, your home care service carer can help you with sorting appropriate care for them so they still get the exercise they need. They can also help you with feeding them and liaising with a vet for you if this is required.

These are just a few reasons that care at home is rising in popularity. Here at Secure Healthcare Solutions, we are a healthcare agency that provides many home care services ensuring you can stay in your own surroundings when you need it the most. We are one of the best home care agencies in Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for a care at home provider that puts their all into everything that we do, then look no further. Find out more about our home care services here and please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Dysphagia is a condition that means it is hard to swallow food or liquid. Not only is this distressing in itself, but if the person it is impacting is not eating it can lead to serious problems such as malnutrition, pneumonia or dehydration. This is why it is so important to try and assist with this as soon as possible. Some of the main conditions which could lead to dysphagia include Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, a stroke, head injury and cancer, particularly cancer of the oesophagus. Often, medical conditions such as the above, can cause the nerves or muscles in the throat to become weak or not work properly, making it difficult to swallow food and drink. 

What are the symptoms of dysphagia?

If you have dysphagia you could have difficulty swallowing certain liquids or foods, cough or choke when drinking or eating, bring food back up and be unable to chew food properly.

What does a nutritious diet include?

A nutritious diet will keep the body and mind healthy, strong and in the best state possible. A nutritious diet should consist of the following:
Carbohydrates – Found in foods like pasta, bread, cereals and rice

Healthy fats – Healthy fats are present in dairy, butter and oil
Protein – Protein can be found in pulses, nuts, meat, eggs and fish
Vitamins and minerals – Different vitamins and minerals are found in different foods. For example, Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits, Iron in meat, poultry and beans and Vitamin A in vegetables such as carrots and kale.
Fluids – Water is best for the body to keep you hydrated

Top Tips for those with difficulty swallowing dysphagiaHow to help someone with dysphagia swallow their food and drink

There are a number of different tips and methods for people with dysphagia and it is a good idea to try different techniques and see what works best for the individual. These are just a few things you can try to help your loved one.

  • Encourage them to sit upright, relax and take their time with chewing small, manageable pieces of food
  • Have more frequent, smaller meals and snacks rather than three large meals in a day
  • Eat soft foods that are easy on the throat, such as soup or yoghurt
  • Mash up food that is not naturally soft, or finely chop it so it is easy to manage. This can include meat, vegetables and fruit
  • Cook food until it becomes tender. This includes cooking rice or vegetables for longer to ensure they are soft and easier to swallow
  • Make smoothies or shakes. Instead of trying to help them to eat an apple or banana, why not put them together in a blender and make them into a smoothie? You can add milk to make it easier to swallow. You could also add in some protein powder to ensure they are getting enough protein for their body
  • Use plenty of gravy and sauce to help food go down easier
  • Avoid foods that are too salty, dry, sticky or have pips in as these can all be difficult to swallow
  • Take small sips of water or another drink between mouthfuls. Make sure these are small sips. If not, you might get full of water

How to decide what to make
There are also a host of recipe books out there which are specifically designed for dysphagia and if you need help with swallowing. No matter if you are suffering from swallowing and need help with Parkinson’s care, Multiple Sclerosis Care, Stroke Care, head injury care and cancer care, there are some great resources to help. You could also try looking on Pinterest. Speak to the individual who is impacted and ask what foods they fancy. You can then put together a plan and some recipes based on this. 

Remember that each individual is different and that some techniques might work better than others. Communicate with the individual and see what they feel comfortable with trying. 

If you have someone coming in to help with the care of your loved one with Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, a stroke, head injury, cancer or anything else that can cause dysphagia, be sure to voice any questions you might have. We have a range of home care health professionals who can help. Find out more about how we can help with Parkinson’s care, Multiple Sclerosis Care, Stroke Care, head injury care and cancer care as well as our other services here.

A recent report by Age UK found that over 500,000 elderly people don’t see or speak to anyone else for five to six days a week. They also found there are presently 1.4 million chronically lonely older people in England. Human beings are social creatures and not made to be alone. This is why companionship is so important. Unfortunately, our society has changed drastically over the past few years and social contact is not what it once was.

This is particularly true during the pandemic where we have been in lockdown and it has been harder than ever to see our loved ones. Things such as Facetime and Skype have made it easy to feel that we are in touch with relatives. Unfortunately for those that aren’t in tune with modern-day digital technology, this can be tougher than ever.

Being lonely is not just something that is unpleasant, but can also lead to a host of chronic illnesses. This includes an increased risk of dementia, heart disease, and mental health issues such as depression. It is because of this that companionship care is so important. We are here to help with companionship care services near you to ensure that your loved one is well looked after and has someone to speak to when they need it. Here are some reasons for the importance of companionship care

It can protect them against certain cognitive illnesses
Several studies have been conducted that have shown those who are lonely tend to score worse on the cognitive functioning scale. This means that they could have an enhanced risk of developing something such as dementia. Being on their own for too long has also been shown they are at a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety. With someone to talk to, they can offload any worries or thoughts they might have before they can escalate.

There is a lower risk of heart disease
A recent study found that people who are not in regular contact with people and who suffer from extreme loneliness are 32% more likely to have a stroke and 29% more likely to develop coronary heart disease. The research found that those that are isolated and lonely are less inclined to take care of themselves. They might do less physical exercise, not eat as well and smoke more. Companionship care services can ensure your loved one eats well and regularly and has the company that they need throughout the day.

Why companionship care is so important
hoto by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It will give them a sense of purpose
If someone is lonely they will lose their sense of purpose. They are less likely to feel engaged with the world and feel worthless. Without someone to talk to regularly about both important topical matters and mindless chatter, it can have a great effect on someone’s mindset. This can lead them to feel slowly worse in themselves and unmotivated to do everyday, simple tasks. Without motivation they might not want to get up, bathe, get dressed and eat well.

Our companionship care services will ensure they not only have a reason to get up and ready for the day ahead but that they have tasks to do during the day. No matter if this is just watching television or reading a book it will help. We can also take your loved one to social events such as bingo or to a social club and check-in that they are alright.

How will companionship care help?

Our companionship carers can call in however often they are needed. Whether it is someone to pop in twice a week to check on their mental health and wellbeing, have a catch-up over a cup of tea, or help them get to a social event, they are here to help. They will be there to offload any thoughts and worries too; whether these are mental, health-related or to do with aspects in the lives of those around them. They will be there to play board games with and assist with getting up, dressed, and fed. While these might all seem like small tasks, they will make a huge difference to the loved one in question.

These all highlight the importance of companionship care and just how it can help your loved one today. If you are looking for companionship care in Wolverhampton, the West Midlands, and the surrounding areas, we are here to help. We offer
live-in care services, 24-hour care, and many other services to help. If you find yourself asking where can I find companionship care near me, then please get in touch. 

When a loved one has dementia, the home can have a big impact on them and how they live their life. When someone has dementia it can be a frightening and confusing experience both for them and their loved ones. They can often experience symptoms such as confusion, memory loss and difficulty learning new things. This means that they might forget how to do things around the house. Or they might forget where things are kept. By making the house more dementia friendly, you can make this process much easier for them.

It is important to remember that not every point might apply to every person and that it is not a good idea to do everything overnight. Big changes can often make their condition worse, so you will want to do things gradually. Take a look through the list and decide what will be best for the individual. We have a range of Dementia care services in Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and surrounding areas so are here to advise if you need any further help. As soon as you think “where can I find dementia care near me?” don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here are some top ways to make your home more dementia-friendly.

1. Ensure there is good lighting
It is important to ensure that the home is well lit. This will enable you to see clearly where you are going and if there are any potential trip hazards. Daylight and good internal lighting will help to eradicate any shadows or dark areas that can make the floor confusing. It can also help you to roughly keep track of the time of day. You can set up smart devices that will turn lights on at a certain time of day so that they automatically come on if the room is starting to get dark.

2. Eliminate any unnecessary noise
Unnecessary noise can be stressful and confusing, particularly if the individual has hearing aids. You can reduce noise by getting fabric items such as cushions, carpet and curtains. These can help to absorb sounds such as that of walking on laminate flooring. It is also a good idea to turn the radio or television off when it is not in use. For dementia care at home, this is a simple yet effective way to help.

3. Remove any potential hazards Top ways to make your home more dementia friendly
It is important to remove any potential hazards that the individual could be affected by. Remove any rugs that could be a tripping hazard, particularly those at the tops of stairs or in rooms that aren’t as well lit. It could also be a good idea to lock away any hazardous products such as those used for cleaning. People with dementia could get confused, you don’t want them to find and either consume them or get them on their skin which could cause irritation or injury.

4. Put up signs around the house
To help with dementia care at home, put signs up labelling what certain rooms are for. For example, you could put a sign up on the toilet door with the word toilet and an image of a toilet. This could help with them trying to remember what room is for what function in the home.

This will prevent them from becoming distressed at not being able to find what they are looking for. You could also put up signs for things such as the kettle or microwave and instructions on using them. Putting timers next to devices can also be a good way of helping them not forget about things such as putting the kettle on.

5. Display photos of loved ones and happy memories
Items such as photos of family members or loved ones can help with dementia care at home. It can help them to feel comforted and keep their loved ones in their mind. It is a good idea to put a photo of the recipient next to their phone number. Pin this up in case they can’t remember who to call. Make items such as puzzles, books, photographs and essential phone numbers easy to find and put them in multiple places around the home.

If you are looking for dementia care in Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and beyond, Secure Healthcare Solutions are here to help. Our dementia care services ensure that your loved one is looked after at home. We will make them feel as relaxed and happy as possible. For more information about our dementia care at home and dementia care services, please take a look here or get in touch with us today.

When the time comes for you to introduce a home carer to your or a loved one’s life, it can feel like a big step. You probably have a lot of questions to ask and things you are thinking about before it happens. It can feel difficult, confusing, or a bit overwhelming, but this is completely normal and to be expected. In order to make it a bit easier for you, we have put together some of the top questions that you might have thought of but don’t know the answers to, or those that you haven’t even thought to ask. Here are our top questions to ask your home carer before they start…

1. Why did you start working in care?

This is a great question to ask your home carer as it helps you to get to know your potential home carer and what their personality is like. After all, if you are going to be accepting someone regularly into your home and to look after you, you want to know you trust them, their personality, and their professionalism. If you know what prompted them to begin their career as a carer, you will find out about their journey and hear stories about what they have done. It is also a great way to get to know them a bit more and find out if they are someone you gel and connect with for your home care.

2. Do you visit me before my home care starts?

You will receive your own dedicated home care plan before your carer starts with you and this will usually be decided following a care assessment process. The person who will be your main carer or a dedicated care manager will come and visit you ahead of time so you can answer any questions (such as in this article) and they can conduct a health and safety risk assessment as well as find out a bit more about you. They will be able to see your living situation, what your condition is like (if you have one), and how you currently go about your day to day life. When your bespoke care plan is created, they will ask questions such as any medications you require, any challenges you face with your daily life such as mobility, hearing or sight, your dietary needs, who else helps with your care, and your lifestyle choices, preferences and beliefs.

3. Will I always have the same carer? How often will I see them?

We know how important it is to have someone that is constant in your life. Someone that can get to know you as a person, your preferences with how you like things done, and knows your routine. If you were to have a myriad of different carers every day not only would this be an inconvenience, but can also be unsettling. Because of this, we try to ensure you have the same couple of carers as much of the time as possible. Sometimes this cannot be the case, for example, if your regular carer is off sick or on holiday, but you should be given a different carer who you have probably met and interacted with before. Remember that it is down to you with how you feel about your carer and if after a few visits you aren’t comfortable with them, you are well within your rights to ask for someone else.

4. What costs are included? 

The costs for your home care plan will depend on a number of different factors. The amount you pay can depend on if your local council has carried out a care needs assessment and agreed you are eligible for this, your income, and your savings. The council will do a means test to decide how much you need to pay. If you are self-funding your care, you will need to arrange this yourself. As well as the charges per visit, you will also need to find out where they stand on costs such as mileage for trips if VAT is included and National Insurance for the care worker. You will also need to consider things such as shopping money or petrol money for the carer if they go out to fetch your shopping or other items for you during the day.

5. How can I make it easier for you to help me?

Last on our list of questions to ask your home carer is a simple yet worthwhile question as it will help you both with some clarity on what you need. It will show that you understand there are challenges faced within the role, but you want to make it as easy as possible. They might be able to make some suggestions for you which will make you feel more independent or comfortable. For example, you may feel shy and not want to speak up about certain things in case you offend them, but they might not know they are doing something wrong or not how you like it. If you speak up, this will help them care for you in the way you feel most comfortable, and make them feel happier that they are doing their job properly.

These are some of the most important questions to ask your home carer before having them start in your home. It is a big step for all of those involved and therefore it is important that you feel comfortable. Find out more about our home care services here.

If you are looking for a home care role, we have many vacancies and information which you can find here. Get in touch with us today.

Exercise
Although it is winter exercise can be difficult and with gyms being shut it can become more difficult for individuals to be motivated to exercise. Getting outdoors is a great way to boost your mood. It is essential to keep active to improve your mental health and stimulate your brain. Lack of exercise can result in increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.

Even short periods of exercise such as a 10-minute run, walk, bike ride or gardening can help stimulate your brain. Those that are missing the gym can exercise in the garden using dumbbells and resistance bands which you can purchase off eBay.

Exercise is critical to clear your mind and negative thoughts to boost your mood.

The NHS recommends various home workouts which you can do at home or you can discover some using Youtube.

Set a new target
Due to limited interaction with friends and family because of COVID-19 restrictions setting a new goal or target can be important to help clear your mind. It could be gaining a qualification online, learning a new language, learning new recipes, or losing weight.

It is important to do something out of your comfort zone to keep you focused and motivated to achieve a target/goal.

There is so many beginner and advanced free courses that you find online using through the Open University or using reed.co.uk.

Volunteer opportunities
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health. Keeping active can reduce anxiety and stress and you can increase your self-confidence by volunteering. You will get the satisfaction of helping and supporting those in need and it will boost your mood.

There are many opportunities to volunteer to support COVID-19, whether it is business support, working at the test centers or administering vaccines. Visit the NHS website and register your interest in your area if you are interested.

Reach out
During the lockdown, it is difficult to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, however advanced technology such as video calls is the next best option to help us get through these difficult times and ensure a positive mood. Whether you need someone to talk to or you can support someone, checking someone’s well-being is important to ensure people are feeling good and supporting them during difficult times.

There is a modern technology that you can use over the phone such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Microsoft teams to regularly communicate with your loved ones. Using Apple and Google play store you can download many group team quizzes and have fun as a group.

Daily Routine
Having a daily routine can be very important to keep you occupied, so your brain is active. Having a to do list for each day can be very important, even if is basic such as food plans, shopping times, shower times etc. It is also important to spend time away from electronic devices and allow time to relax, whether that is listening to some music, going for walk, run and doing some exercise.

Healthy Eating
During these difficult times individuals can be distracted to eat junk food, however, it is important to eat healthily and exercise, particularly with Gyms being closed to ensure you are fit and healthy.

There are many foods that you can eat to ensure you have a healthy balanced diet, below is some to consider:

Fruits and vegetables: Oranges (high in vitamin C), Apples (high in fiber), Bananas (high in Vitamin C, B6, and potassium), Broccoli (high in vitamin C), Carrots (high in Vitamin A), Spinach (High in Vitamin A).

Protein: Chicken Breast, Salmon, Tuna, Turkey, Beans, Lentils, Eggs, Tofu, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds

Snacks: Hummus and Vegetables, Mixed nuts, Greek yogurt with berries, fruit smoothies

Secure healthcare solutions
provide 24-hour care and ensure quality care in the West Midlands. During the lockdown, our healthcare staff interacts with those in care to ensure they remain positive during the lockdown, based on what individuals are comfortable doing.

Growing up back in the 40s, 50s and 60s was vastly different to how people grow up nowadays. With no social media or access to their friends and family’s virtual lives 24/7, more time was spent valuing real-life encounters and relationships. One of the ways in which people used to socialise back then was to go to local dances together, in order to have a good time and often meet a potential future partner. However, people would gather at such venues for one thing over everything else: A collective love of music.

According to the British Geriatrics Society, evidence shows that four in ten older people living in nursing homes in England are depressed. One way to combat depression in older people is with a technique called music therapy.

The British Association for Music Therapy explains: “Everyone has the ability to respond to music, and music therapy uses this connection to facilitate positive changes in emotional wellbeing and communication through the engagement in live musical interaction between client and therapist. It can help develop and facilitate communication skills, improve self-confidence and independence, enhance self-awareness and awareness of others, improve concentration and attention skills.”

More specifically, music therapy can be a brilliant aid for those living with dementia. An article published by the NHS describes music and memory as powerful connectors. “Music lights up emotional memories – everyone remembers songs from their past – the first kiss, the song at a wedding, seeing their parents dance and we often use music to remember people at funerals.

“Music can have many benefits in the setting of dementia. It can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, is helpful at the end of life, enhances quality of life and has a positive impact on carers.”

According to Aging Care, music is particularly beneficial for people struggling with memory loss “because it’s easier for them to access the memory of a melody than to recall a person’s name or a past event. ‘The memory of the song stays with them much longer than regular memories’”, says Snyder-Cowan, director of the Elisabeth Prentiss Bereavement Center for Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio.

The elderly often fall into the routine of not being as active as they should be if they find that they are stuck indoors a lot and can become demotivated by feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. The NHS states that 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.

However, there is some hope. It is a well known that regular exercise has been scientifically proven to delay the effects of ageing on the body, and introducing music therapy can encourage older people to get up and moving to their favourite songs. Regular exercise can lower the risk of getting heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

In an article published by Age UK Mobility, Retire at Home comments: “It has been found that even such minimal movement as tapping a foot or clapping hands is enough activity to release pent-up mental and physical stress, and bring a little joy into the room. For many seniors who are able, dancing to music is a wonderful way to exercise. Being swept into the rhythm of music can lower blood pressure and stimulate organs in the body.”

Music therapy can also encourage social interaction between lonely, older generations. As we mentioned in the introduction, dancing is how many used to socialise years ago, and so introducing music therapy can be nostalgic for lots of older people, a joy which they can all share together. Music therapy can initiate dancing, laughter and sharing stories – all being great ways to communicate and to keep the brain ticking.

The website of Bethany Village explains that music is known to bring people together. “In music therapy programs, older adults are encouraged to communicate and connect with other members of their group, often making new friends in the process. The social aspect of music therapy helps seniors alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

Although the number of people who smoke has dropped significantly by 1.6 million over the last six years, according to Chemist 4 u, more than 15% of over 18s in the UK still currently smoke while 5.5% vape. “Current records state that smoking is responsible for around 96,000 deaths in the UK every year, and smoking-related diseases cost the NHS £2 billion a year.” The website adds that over 60% of current smokers want to quit.

If the majority of smokers want to quit, why is it so difficult for them to do so? The British Lung Foundation explains: “Tobacco smoke contains over 5,000 chemicals, including nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive, and smokers will develop a level of physical dependence to their use of tobacco. Nicotine is thought to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

“Some people who smoke also have a greater physical dependence on tobacco than others. This may be because they smoke more cigarettes or have smoked for a long time. Those people will experience more extreme withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.”

It’s true that quitting smoking is difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible. There are lots of reasons to want to quit smoking, but the most pressing would be for its health implications. The NHS says that smoking causes around 7 out of every 10 cases of lung cancer. It can also damage your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease.

Additionally, smoking can worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, and in men it can cause impotence because it limits the blood supply to the penis.

If all of that isn’t enough to help you quit, here are some additional tips to help you give up the cigarettes for good in 2020:

1. Let others know of your plans to quit

If everyone knows that you are trying to quit smoking then they can hold you accountable if they spot you with a cigarette in your hand. If there is societal pressure on you to quit you are more likely to stick to it.

2. Talk to your doctor first

Your doctor can offer advice on the best ways to quit according to your own individual health needs. They can suggest aids such as nicotine patches and gum, or suggest you take up vaping instead to ease the transition.

3. Focus on why you want to quit

Think of the implications of smoking on your health as listed above. Make a list of your own reasons for quitting and place it somewhere visible so that you can read it when you are feeling like you want to give up. This will motivate you to keep going when things get difficult.

4. Consider altering your diet

The NHS says that a US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. “Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, make cigarettes taste terrible. So swap your usual steak or burger for a veggie pizza instead.

“You may also want to change your routine at or after mealtimes. Getting up and doing the dishes straight away or settling down in a room where you don’t smoke may help.”

5. Same goes for drinks

The NHS adds that “fizzy drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. So when you’re out, drink more water and juice. Some people find simply changing their drink (for example, switching from wine to a vodka and tomato juice) affects their need to reach for a cigarette”.

6. Hang out with people who don’t smoke

It’s much easier to turn down a cigarette if you are with people who aren’t nipping outside every 20 minutes for a smoke. Explain to your smoker friends that it’s nothing personal, you are just trying to distance yourself from temptation to smoke.

7. Exercise!

The NHS also says that if you want to quit smoking, it helps to get moving. “A review of scientific studies has proved exercise, even a 5-minute walk or stretch, cuts cravings and may help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.”

It also helps to have another healthy habit to distract you from wanting to smoke, so why not try different sports, go walking with friends or join a local sports team. If you’re busy you can delay your urges to smoke more easily.