At present in the UK, as with much of the Western World, there is an ageing population, the knock on effect of this is a much greater level of pressure on both the Health and Social Care sector, as well as individuals family members. Currently in the UK there are over 10.5 million older people, and this number is estimated to double in the next 20 years. There are currently around 400,000 older people living in care homes, leaving a large percentage of older individuals who are living at home.
As we get older, we may begin to struggle with day to day living activities. Often older people require more help and support in and around the home and there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved.
Support Available For Elderly Individuals
The elderly often rely on family members for support but this can be great pressure on those family members and some of the elderly do not want to burden their family members with their problems, so where do they go?
There are a number of different types of support that are available for elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home, and these include: implementing a home care package, specialist equipment, and day centres.
Home Care Packages
Implementing a Home Care package can be extremely beneficial to an elderly individual who is living at home, and this is because a care worker would be able to help them with all areas of daily living. Areas that a care worker may be able to help an elderly individual with include: meal preparation, medication management, domestic duties, and all aspects of personal care.
It may be beneficial for an elderly individual to have a Home Care package because it allows them the opportunity to stay independent for longer, as they will be receiving the help and support that they need from home. This in turn means that they are able to continue doing the activities that they enjoy doing, as it can provide the individual with much more freedom in comparison to living in a Care Home.
Home Care packages also provide elderly individuals with more choice about the type of care or support available, as most Home Care organisations are able to provide individuals with a number of different services to ensure that individuals receive all of the help and support that they need, in order to remain independent for as long as possible.
There are a number of pieces of specialist equipment, adaptations and improvements that can be implemented within an individual’s home to support them with daily living activities. Along with the traditional equipment: commodes, walking aids, hoists, stand aids and bathing aids, there are now more technology products around to assist known as assistive technology which includes Telecare.
Using specialist equipment, adaptations and improvements within the home all add to the elderly being able to stay independent for much longer than they would if they did not use these devices. The message to the elderly is not to struggle but to get advice on what there is available to improve their lives.
Specialist equipment can be used in a wide variety of situations to help to support an individual within their own home, and they can compliment other types of support such as Home Care. For example hoists can be used for moving individuals who are unable to do so themselves as part as a Home Care package.
Assistive Technology such as Telecare can be extremely beneficial for those individuals who choose to remain living independently at home. Telecare is a generic name for device that monitors in real-time that can deal with emergencies and lifestyle changes over time in order to manage the risks associated with living alone. This can be beneficial because it can give both themselves and their loved ones the peace of mind that they are being monitored, and if any problems were to occur someone would be alerted and help could be at hand in a quick and efficient manner.
Day Centres can provide elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home with the opportunity to obtain some additional support as well as getting the opportunity to socialise with other individuals are may be living in similar circumstances, which they may otherwise not be able to do.
Day centres provide elderly individuals with the opportunity to partake in a number of different activities and events that in turn will help them to maintain independence, whilst enjoying socialising with their peers. Day centres help an elderly individual who is living at home because partaking in a variety of activities on a regular basis may help to raise an individual’s confidence and self-esteem, which in turn will make them feel more able to partake in daily living activities independently.
There is a wide variety of support available for elderly individuals who choose to remain living at home. The more the elderly use the support that is available to them, the more the strain on the Health and Social Care sector is reduced, as they will be able to maintain some independence for a longer period of time. The Home Care sector will play its role in trying to educate people in what is available to keep them independent.