You may have noticed that the average life expectancy within the UK is increasing. This is of course due to us generally taking better care of ourselves from a health point of view as well as major advances in not only treating illnesses, but spotting any health issues earlier than ever before and taking appropriate action. This is of course wonderful news and it does have a positive impact on the life expectancy with estimates that within a generation we will break through the 100 year old barrier as an average age.
However, with this comes another issue and that is the needs of an increasingly elderly population. As there is an increase in the number of people that are classified as pensioners, there is also an increase in providing them with adequate care when either illness or general frailty connected to being elderly does eventually strike. With more people getting to an elderly age it does then put pressure on not only the NHS, but also care homes to make sure that their needs are indeed being met, so what is happening within this particular area?
What Are The Needs That Have To Be Met?
There are a number of needs that must be met in order to provide people with the best possible quality of life. If we pay particular attention to health needs, then we see that there must be an increase in the number of trained individuals that can care for people suffering from issues such as dementia or various other neurological issues. This has already been seen within studies as it is now believed that as many as 1 in 2 dementia sufferers in the UK now live in care homes.
A study in conjunction with the NHS did provide some rather starting results that show how important care facilities are for that increasingly ageing population. It showed that a staggering 90% of people over the age of 75 in the UK had at least one long term condition that had a direct impact on their health. However, the worrying part is that 50% of those that have one long term condition will have a second and of course that puts more stress on care facilities that have to be able to cope with the increased demand.
What we are saying here is that the main need that has to be met is providing the elderly with appropriate health care and to be able to provide it over an extended period of time due to the increased risk of there being a long term health issue.
It is also important to note that as the medical profession improves further still on curing illnesses such as heart issues, cancer, and other major killers, that attention must turn to meeting the needs of those individuals that have more age related problems. That, in turn, links back to the point made earlier regarding dementia and the increase in the number of people suffering from it. It also means that there will be an increased demand for help with general frailty and the needs that are associated with that.
In other words, the primary concern for the elderly population is their health and this is the area that will always have to be met by any care home provider. Any additional needs are directly related to health including transport to appointments, therapy, and general well-being. The problem is that with an ever ageing population, these issues will become more of a concern, but with correct planning the needs of the elderly will always be met by those with a desire to care.