I am in my 80’s and still feel fit and up to the task most days, but the problem comes with some families where the children or grandchildren ride-in gung-ho and try to impose a solution on Grandad or Grandma without really understanding their wishes. They think that a care home is best so that someone can be on hand to look after the elderly person, (because their own family can’t) but a great deal of elderly people don’t really need that level of care. We need to find the right solution for us.
I read a story recently featured in the Telegraph which highlights for me the problem of looking after the elderly and keeping them safe in their later years, and how that can be a worry. It covered the case of a care home in Nottingham. I will let you read the details at the link, then come back here to continue.
The fact is that as a society we are living longer – and the balance of ages in the population is skewing to be more of an upside down pyramid rather than the usual pyramid shape (that is, there are now more older than younger people.) With this comes the worry that the working age portion of the population won’t be able to contribute enough taxes to care for a massive older population, especially if it has long term health conditions which are so costly to manage in the NHS. As long as people make the right lifestyle adjustments then on the whole they have every chance of living well in their golden years, and it is simply cheaper to do so at home. Planning must take place at an early stage to prevent expensive knee-jerk solutions.
We must focus not only on what society can give to the elderly, but also on what the elderly can give to society. Successful ageing will benefit all age groups from the altruism, wisdom, and perspective of the most senior members of society.Proactive rather than reactive health systems planning is needed.
In my years of general practice I saw many care home residents who were a bit frail and perhaps not very mobile on their feet (walking with a stick or a walker for example) but their mental faculties were still there, and the reason I was seeing a lot of them I think was due to them not being able to adapt to the new surroundings.
They can’t wander in the garden by themselves, they can’t eat when they want or what they want. Their freedom is curtailed to some extent – rather like being sent away to a boarding school. A vast majority of people can realistically manage at home with a little assistance from helpful products like bath lifts, rise recliner chairs or a stair lift and other assistive technologies.
It is every older persons right to stand firm and choose to age in place at home in the surroundings they love. There are a lot of technological advances today such as tele-care that can provide a watchful eye and a comfort that someone is looking after them even if not in the same home. Monitored movements in their home and having a care-line installed has helped many previous patients of mine whose families lived further afield from mum or dad, to feel a lot easier about them staying put in their house. Watch this video below to see just some of the technology available.
A lot of the elderly have their interests and routines, and it’s best in a lot of cases to not disrupt that by enforcing a move into a communal environment. A lot of widows or widowers, who may have been on their own for a while, are used to their own space and their own rhythms in the day, so they find it very difficult adapting to the change. Siblings and other relatives also find it difficult to see some of the other residents in worse cases of mental or physical health than their own family member and that can be quite disturbing to witness and may put them off visiting at all.
Why not talk to us about your options, about stair lifts or indeed any other useful independent living product. We will be glad to help. Call us up on 0800 007 5050 today.