Prestige Nursing & Care is a long-established, forward-thinking provider of community homecare that supports independent living across England and Scotland. Prestige was originally a family-run business with a commitment to providing care dating back to 1945. 

We are a long-established, forward-thinking provider of community homecare that supports independent living across England and Scotland. Prestige was originally a family-run business with a commitment to providing care dating back to 1945. We deliver high-quality, personalised private homecare services through over 30 branches in England and Scotland, supported by a Head Office team based in Epsom, Surrey. We provide over 30,000 hours of care and support a week to over 2,000 clients and their families through our local teams of highly qualified and vetted registered nurses, healthcare workers, and Care Co-Ordinator’s. Our home care services range from companionship visits to 24-hour live-in home nursing care across every age group, ability, and health condition. In our last client survey in March 2022, over 90% of respondents agreed that not only, would they recommend us to a friend, but that our service has also made a positive difference to their life. We are a CQC and Care Inspectorate regulated company and hold ISO2001:2009 certification for quality.

Strokes: signs, rehabilitation and risk reduction

Strokes: signs, rehabilitation and risk reduction

What is a Stroke?

When talking about strokes, many refer to what’s known as an ischemic stroke. Accounting for nearly 80% of all strokes, an ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel (leading to the brain) becomes blocked, cutting off blood flow to certain parts of the brain. An interruption of blood flow means that the brain no longer receives its required supply of oxygen, and after just a minute without oxygen and other essential nutrients, brain cells can begin to die.

The other common type of stroke, known as a hemorrhagic stroke (which accounts for 20% of all strokes), occurs when blood spills into the brain, damaging neural cells. More often than not, this type of stroke happens when an aneurysm – a weak, stretched area in the arterial wall – bursts open due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Signs of Stroke

As you can surmise, every second matters when it comes to stroke occurrence. Even if brain cells don’t die right away, they may be permanently damaged if treatment is not administered quickly enough. The challenge is that not all strokes affect the brain in the same way, which can make recognising signs somewhat difficult. Depending on the type of stroke, the signs may be quite subtle – especially for seniors, who suffer from strokes more than any other age group.

Below are signs you or your senior loved one will want to look for. Everyone in close contact with him or her should also understand the signs so that they know when to seek emergency medical assistance.

  • Confusion or sudden changes in behaviour
  • Partial loss of vision
  • Sudden trouble walking and/or dizziness
  • Sudden loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding others
  • Onset of weakness or paralysis of any part of the body
  • Double vision

If you notice any of these signs in your ageing loved one, do not second guess or wait for symptoms to worsen. As noted above, it’s imperative that contact with emergency personnel is made quickly, before damage to the brain becomes irreversible. For most treatments to be effective, the affected individual must be diagnosed within three hours of onset, and get to the hospital within an hour’s time.


The amount of rehabilitation needed depends largely on the extent of damage from a stroke, but in most cases medical professionals will recommend at least one type of therapy or a combination. Physical therapy will help patients relearn simple motor activates – from walking to lying down – through training exercises. Another beneficial rehabilitation practice is occupational therapy, which is a way of helping patients relearn activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and reading/writing. Speech therapy may also be recommended to help patients rebuild communication skills.

As many strokes are caused by hypertension, doctors may also prescribe medications to help maintain normal blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of blood clot formation.

Risk Reduction

In the last few decades, the survival rate for strokes has increased. In fact, the American Heart Association reports that stroke, which once ranked fourth in leading causes of deaths in the United State, now ranks fifth. While increased knowledge of warning signs and effective treatment surely account for this, education on recommended lifestyle changes has also helped.

Here are a few guidelines your loved one can follow to help reduce his or her risk of a stroke:

  • Manage blood pressure
  • Minimize stress (through healthy outlets)
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit consumption of alcohol
  • Exercise regularly (upon physician approval)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Modify diet to include foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium
  • Manage cholesterol levels (consult your physician for options)

Risk reduction begins with leading a healthy lifestyle. Even if there’s a family history of stroke occurrence, encourage your ageing loved one to follow these guidelines. Be sure that he or she also schedules regular medical check-ups with a medical professional to identify other risk factors and prevention strategies.

Prestige Nursing + Care Can Help

Our goal is to see that your loved one has the means to live a happy, healthy, independent life. And as part of that goal, we work to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Our caregivers can prepare nutritious meals, encourage prescribed physical activity, and even take your loved to any scheduled appointments. Call your local office today to discuss our available services.

Prostate cancer: causes, symptoms and treatment

Prostate cancer: causes, symptoms and treatment

A Growing Concern

Based on year-over-year trends, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, there will be 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer and approximately 26,730 deaths. One reason for its frequency in recent years is that life expectancy has increased – and paired with the fact that 80% of prostate cancer cases are found in men 65 years of age (or older), the correlation is relatively clear. While the root cause of prostate cancer may not be easily identifiable, the scientific community has come a long way in recent years in terms of understanding the role played by genetics.


Potential Causes and Risk Factors

Researchers note that, in many instances, prostate cancer can be caused by alterations in the normal prostate cell’s DNA. Some changes are inherited genetically, passed on from one generation to the next. As with many cancers, the genetic factor is not to be underestimated. A man is twice as likely to have prostate cancer if his brother has/had it. Those that have Lynch syndrome, a hereditary disorder caused by genetic changes, also are at higher risk.

Some of these changes, known as acquired mutations, may occur during the course of one’s life. One potential source for these acquired mutations is diet, as some studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency may be a predictor of aggressive prostate cancer. Exposure to certain chemicals may be another source of acquired mutations. A recent study found that U.S. veterans exposed to Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant used during the Vietnam War, had a significantly increased (48% higher) risk of development versus veterans who had not been exposed.


Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

The risk of developing prostate cancer increases once men reach the age of 50. However, one of the more challenging aspects of prostate cancer is that symptoms often do not manifest until later stages of development, since it tends to grow slowly. Below are some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer:

  • Frequent urination (especially urges at night)
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Bladder control difficulty
  • Blood in the urine and/or semen
  • Swelling in the legs or pelvis
  • Chronic bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

As some men may have an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward medical issues, they must discuss testing with a physician as close to the age of 50 as possible – especially if they’ve experienced any of the symptoms listed above. Screening is often done either by testing for prostate-specific antigen levels (PSA) levels in the blood, or by a digital rectal exam (DRE). If the results come back positive, the doctor may wish to test further.

Although screening can help detect prostate cancer, it does not always help gauge the severity or threat level. Additionally, test results may be false-positive (signifying that a man does have cancer when he does not), or false-negatives (signifying that he doesn’t have cancer when he does).


Treatment Options

As mentioned, doctors may not have a full understanding of how threatening a man’s prostate cancer may be – which can make it difficult to recommend treatment. Oftentimes, these treatments – done through surgery and/or radiation – can negatively affect various aspects of normal living, especially for older men. Many health communities tend to agree that screening (and potentially treatment) for older men may not be greatly beneficial since they are more likely to die from other conditions, should they exist.

That is not to say that prostate cancer does not pose a threat. While treatment may potentially be more harmful than the cancer itself, it’s not to be taken lightly. If your ageing loved one is concerned about his prostate and unsure about screening, it’s important to begin the discussion with his doctor and to see what the best course of action is, given factors such as age and health. Screening/treatment should always be mutually agreed upon by both your loved one and his doctor.


Prestige Nursing & Care Can Help

At Prestige Nursing & Care, our caregivers can help provide a daily routine for your loved one that promotes good health and independent living. We can also make sure that he or she has transportation to and from any scheduled appointments. To learn more about services, call your local Prestige Nursing & Care office today.

Food allergies: detection and management for seniors

Food allergies: detection and management for seniors

What Are Food Allergies?

In theory, it can be easy to confuse food intolerance for a food allergy. The former primarily involves the digestive system and its inability to properly break down certain foods. Food intolerance can cause everything from nausea to bloating and cramps. With food intolerance, you can generally consume small amounts of the food without causing much of a reaction. On the other hand, reactions from a food allergy can be much more serious, and contact with even trace amounts of offensive foods can be life-threatening.

Food allergies (commonly linked to foods such as peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat) are directly involved with the immune system. For those with a food allergy, the body produces an antibody called Immunoglobulin E (or IgE). When an offensive food allergen binds to these antibodies, they trigger immune cells to release histamine and other chemicals, leading to several potential symptoms.

Mild Symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Redness of the skin or eyes
  • Nasal congestion or sneezing

Severe Symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, or throat

A Growing Problem

A common misconception regarding food allergies is that they only develop during childhood. In reality, food allergies can manifest at any point in life, and while the first appearance is not readily seen in older adults, many are still faced with symptoms due to an allergy’s persistence late in life. In fact, food allergies are becoming more prevalent within the rapidly growing senior population. The scientific community has yet to conclude the exact reason behind this increase. The ageing of the immune system – or immunosenescence – is a factor, according to some. Others theorise that we, as a society, are not developing the proper immunities quickly enough, due to the overly hygienic standards put in place.

Detecting a Food Allergy

If a senior is concerned about the possibility of having a food allergy, it’s important to receive a diagnostic food allergy test from an allergist. Below are the four most common diagnostic tests. Note that all of these tests should be conducted under the supervision of allergists and other medical professionals (as necessary).

Skin prick test: This involves an allergist allowing a small amount of food allergen to enter the surface of the skin on the forearm or back. If a wheel – small raised bump surrounded by red, itchy skin – is produced, it generally indicates an allergy exists.

Blood test: This tends to be more costly than the skin prick test, and is used to detect the quantity of IgE antibodies to help determine potential triggers. Though this test can yield helpful information regarding the chance of a food allergy’s existence, it does not necessarily provide information on the severity of the allergy.

Oral food challenge (OFC): Known to be one of the more accurate methods of food allergy detection, an OFC involves an allergist providing small samples of potentially offensive foods to the subject, followed by periods of observation/identification of reaction. If a reaction occurs, no more food is given.

Food elimination diet: Typically used in unison with skin or blood tests, the food elimination diet is exactly as it sounds. The test involves the elimination of potentially offensive foods from one’s diet to determine the cause of allergy symptoms, over a finite duration with close monitoring.

Management Is Key

If your loved ones are faced with a food allergy, they must treat it seriously and take the proper precautions. Understanding which foods are offensive is naturally the first step, but it must be followed by strict, active avoidance. They should read food labels carefully and avoid any potential cross-contamination when preparing meals. However, even with the most stringent measures in place, there’s always a chance that a reaction may occur. That’s why, in addition to having a plan in place for such an occurrence, your loved ones must have their emergency medication with them at all times – even if they do not anticipate being around food of any kind.

Prestige Nursing & Care Can Help

We can work with your loved ones’ medical provider to understand their food allergies. And with that knowledge, we can help prepare meals and remind your loved ones of which foods to avoid. Our caregivers will provide meaningful day-to-day interactions, while promoting physical and emotional well-being – which, in turn, will help eliminate worry for you and other family members. Reach out to your local Prestige Nursing & Care for more information.

Skin cancer in seniors: development, identification and risk reduction

Skin cancer in seniors: development, identification and risk reduction

On the Surface and On the Rise

Skin cancer is consistently reported to be the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting more than one million people every year – many of whom are 65 years of age or older. While many are aware of the three types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma – the actual development of skin cancer may not be as well known. Below you will learn how skin cancer forms, the differences between the three types, and how your ageing loved ones can identify and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Development and Types of Skin Cancer

The outer-most layer of our skin, known as the epidermis, is composed of three cells: squamous, basal, and melanocytes. Over time, as ultraviolet rays (from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds) come into contact with the skin, DNA within the skin cells can become damaged, resulting in mutations. These mutations can then cause skin cells to multiply in quick succession, eventually invading the dermis layer of the skin. The classification of skin cancer depends solely on the epidermal skin cell from which it originated.

Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, two very common types of skin cancer, are considered highly curable and have been linked to those who spend a considerable amount of time outside and thus are frequently exposed to the sun. Melanoma, though less common, is recognised as more serious and potentially life-threatening. Resulting from the rapid growth of the aforementioned melanocyte cells, melanomas tend to manifest as red, brown, or pink mole-like formations or even form moles themselves.

For men, melanoma generally develops on the head or neck, and for women, it is often found on the legs, arms, or other extremities. That being said, melanoma can certainly develop in other areas of the body (wherever melanocytes are found), including the mouth, eyes, and even the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike squamous and basal carcinoma, melanoma is seen largely in those who have experienced sunburns from excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays.


Identifying Melanoma

Although the three types of skin cancer are generally considered curable if detected early enough, the possibility of early detection is largely contingent upon one’s own self-examination. To help with identification of melanoma-related areas, the American Academy of Dermatology has created an easy and helpful system. If your ageing loved one is concerned about a particular mole or series of moles, help him or her follow the ABCDEs of melanoma.

  • Asymmetry: If you were to draw a line right down the middle of the mole and both sides looked the same (or symmetrical), there’s a good chance it is benign. If, however, the two sides don’t match (or are asymmetrical), it could be a melanoma.
  • Border: Pay close attention to the border of the mole. Benign moles generally have smooth borders, while melanomas have irregular or notched borders.
  • Colour: Another warning signal is if the mole has more than one colour, including multiple shades of brown, black, or tan. Additionally, melanomas may become red or blue in appearance.
  • Diameter: While benign moles are smaller in size, melanomas tend to be about ¼ inch or larger (or about the diameter of a pencil eraser).
  • Evolving: Many of the characteristics listed above may change over time for a mole, in which case you will want to monitor closely. If other changes develop – such as itching, crusting, or bleeding – it could also indicate melanoma.


Risk Reduction

As mentioned previously, older adults – those 65 years of age or older – are more likely to develop skin cancer than any other age group. The correlation behind this is not complex; seniors have lived longer than others and have had greater exposure to the sun’s UV rays. However, with some extra precaution, seniors can reduce their overall risk of skin cancer. Below are a few helpful tips.

  • Avoid tanning beds altogether.
  • Use effective sunblock (at least SPF 15).
  • Avoid going outside between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, if possible.
  • Wear proper clothing (hat, sunglasses, light, loose-fitting shirts) to protect against UV rays.
  • Find shade whenever possible.
  • Examine your skin regularly (following the ABCDEs), and follow up with a medical professional, if you suspect there may be a problem.


Prestige Nursing & Care Can Help

Our caregivers can establish a daily routine for your ageing loved ones, to ensure that they are following the risk reduction tips above and keeping their skin protected from the sun’s UV rays. We can also help them get to any scheduled medical appointments, safely and on time. Call your local Prestige Nursing & Care office to learn more about our unique style of in-home care.

Low impact exercises for seniors

Low impact exercises for seniors

The Importance of Staying Active

Staying physically active is important at every stage of our lives, but as we grow older, it becomes especially vital. Engaging in the recommended daily amount of moderate activity (at least 30 minutes) has numerous long-term benefits, but it can also improve overall health for those with certain conditions and disabilities. Conversely, a sedentary (or inactive) lifestyle can negatively affect physical and emotional well-being, and can potentially increase the risk of injury or development of diseases.

What Are Low-Impact Exercises?

While it’s certainly no secret that physical activity is beneficial, many seniors may not know exactly what kind of exercise is most appropriate. For those that are unsure, low-impact exercise may represent the best solution. A low-impact exercise is generally defined as any workout where at least one foot stays on the floor at any given point, making it ideal for those who have limited mobility or suffer from chronic pain.

Though not as hard on the body, these exercises are not necessarily designed to be less intense, as the goal of any beneficial exercise is ultimately to elevate the heart rate. Recent research has indicated that low-impact exercise is as effective in reducing the risk of heart disease as high-impact exercise, such as running or jumping rope. If your ageing loved ones are looking to get into an exercise routine, you may want to recommend the low-impact exercises listed below. Be sure that they consult a doctor or physician before beginning an exercise program.

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

  • Walking: One of the benefits of walking is that, unlike running, it’s easier on the joints. Plus, it doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership. With a comfortable pair of tennis shoes and a smooth pathway, you’ll be on your way. The key is to keep a brisk pace for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Swimming: What’s better than minimal stress on the joints? No stress at all. Swimming provides several benefits, including strengthened shoulders and increased lung capacity. You can also take part in water aerobics, or walk on underwater treadmills.
  • Yoga: From improving flexibility and coordination to strengthening your core, there’s very little that yoga doesn’t do for you. Additionally, yoga has been shown to improve mood, focus, and overall mental well-being.
  • Pilates: This exercise allows for very slow and concise movements, designed to improve posture and flexibility. Similar to yoga, Pilates is known to improve mental well-being.
  • Cycling: With the proper safety measure in place (including a helmet, shin pads, and appropriate configurations), cycling can do wonders for not only the cardiovascular system but also the joints and various muscle groups.
  • Weight training: Don’t be daunted by the idea of bulking up with weight machines at the gym. Weight training can be done at home, with small free weights or even moderately heavy objects that you can grip easily. Consistent repetition is key, as is advancing to heavier weights over time.
  • Leg Raises: You don’t have to go far at all to do these exercises. Simply stand behind a chair, and while holding on to the back of the chair, move one leg to the side and then back. Repeating this, with different variations, can help strengthen lower back and thigh muscles.
  • Dancing: In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of dance class enrolment – and for good reason. The constant movement in dancing classes can help circulation and flexibility. Attending these classes can also provide great opportunities to socialise and connect with others.

Prestige Nursing & Care Can Help

Low-impact exercises can be extraordinarily beneficial for your senior loved ones, and at Prestige Nursing & Care, we want to help see that they have the ability to do them. Under the guidance of a physician and/or physical trainer, our caregivers can see that your loved ones are abiding by the recommended regimen. We can also help prepare healthy meals and provide safe, reliable transportation to your loved ones’ destinations in and around town. For more information, call your local Prestige Nursing & Care office.

5 quick and healthy meals for elderly people

5 quick and healthy meals for elderly people

Elderly people need to be careful about what they eat to stay in good health. However, preparing healthy and tasty meals is often a challenge. If you care for an elderly relative or friend, you might be looking for some inspiration, so here are five simple and healthy meals that you can prepare quickly or that they can prepare for themselves if they are able to.


  1. Porridge

Nothing beats porridge for ease of preparation in the morning, and it will give you an energy boost that will last all day. It’s perfect for cold winter mornings, but great any time of year.

Simply take half a cup of rolled oats and add it to a saucepan along with a cup of water and a cup of milk. Cook and stir the porridge until it boils, then turn it down to a low heat and simmer, stirring continuously.

Once it’s ready, eat it as it is, or add sugar or honey to sweeten it. You could also add blueberries, bananas or any other type of fruit for extra flavour.

A boiled egg or poached egg with toast is another easy and delicious breakfast to prepare on any morning.


  1. Potato and Leek Soup

Soup is one of those classic dishes that is easy to prepare, fills you up and keeps things interesting because there are so many varieties to choose from. You can also cook up a large pot at the same time then separate it into individual portions and freeze them for easy meals throughout the month.

Potato and leek is a classic recipe that’s easy to prepare. Simply boil up some chopped potatoes and leeks in vegetable stock and cook on a low heat until they are soft. Add salt, pepper and any herbs you want for flavour, then serve when it’s ready. Alternatively, put the soup in a processor to create a smooth consistency.

There is no limit to the type of soup you can make, and it’s a great way to get plenty of vegetables into your diet.


  1. Greek Salad

Greek salad makes a light and tasty lunch packed full of goodness. The basic ingredients are lettuce, mint, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, and onions. Simply mix them together and add a generous helping of extra virgin olive oil along with salt and pepper. Eat on its own or with bread.


  1. Fish Fillets and Vegetables

This is an easy dish that packs a punch. Preparation is simple, the result is delicious and it’s a great way to get some fish in the diet.

Simply take a boneless fillet of a fish of your choice and lay it on a pan to go in the oven. Slice up an onion and a tomato and lay them over the fillets, and add a few knobs of butter.

Place in the oven at 200 degrees for about half an hour or until the fish is cooked through.

You can accompany this with any boiled vegetables of your choice, and aim for two or more (e.g. potatoes and broccoli).


  1. Omelette

Omelette is healthy fast food at its best, and the variety is infinite. To prepare, simply heat a frying pan and add a few drops of oil. Then beat an egg or two in a cup and add it to the hot pan.

Wait until the egg is almost cooked through, then turn it over to cook on the other side.

As the other side is cooking, add whatever you want into the omelette. Ham and cheese is a simple and delicious option, but you could also add diced and cooked vegetables, pepper, spices or any variety of sauces.

Then fold the omelette in half and serve on a plate. Eat on its own, with a slice of toast, or with any vegetables you want.

The future of self-funded care

The future of self-funded care

With the general election fast approaching and the launch of party manifestos, we have seen a renewed interest in social care and the ongoing debate on its funding.

First came Labour, who revealed that it would introduce a ‘National Care Service’, promising an additional £8bn for social care over the lifetime of the next Parliament. The manifesto also pledged to increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers, bringing it in line with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

This was swiftly followed by the Conservative’s manifesto announcement, which revealed plans for all care costs to be assessed against an individual’s total assets, including their home, subject to a floor of £100,000 that would be left untouched. For the first time, we are seeing a proposal for a majority of people to contribute to care costs, whether home-based or in a residential or nursing home. (At present, the value of someone’s home is not included in the £23,250 of assets someone can have before they lose the right to free care at home.)

The Conservative’s proposal indicates a shift in policy away from previous plans to raise council tax, and towards a model of care that relies on self-funding, even if many don’t end up paying the full amount until after they die. Many people who were previously intending to rely on the State to fund care will now need to consider how or if they pay for care at home.

Moving mountains to fund care

If we accept the assumption that Government now expects more people to fund their own care, we should also be asking what schemes, if any, it plans to create to help people achieve this.

One option would be an arrangement similar to a stakeholder pension, whereby people are mandated to set aside a minimum proportion of their income each month. The money would be allocated to a fund which would be set aside exclusively for their care needs in later life.

An alternative and more flexible policy would be to facilitate the creation of private care funds with significant tax incentives, similar to ISAs. The Government has adopted a similar policy in its attempts to support first-time homebuyers, and it would therefore make sense to adopt similar savings incentives for older age.

Whatever financial scheme is put in place the fact remains that a seismic shift in public attitude is going to be required. At present, a majority of people believe they are entitled to high quality State-funded care, a legacy of the NHS’ universal healthcare principle. The unfortunate reality is that as demand for care services continues to rise, so will the financial pressures on this unsustainable model. The change towards contributing towards our care is gaining momentum. The question is: how to make the unpalatable more palatable?