Sunday, January 29, 2012

What bothers older people?

There is a new venture in the UK called Tomorrow Together. The web site says ....

This is your chance to join a national conversation that asks how we can all work together in the UK to imagine and then help create a better future.
Tomorrow Together is a place for you to discover the exciting things that are already happening to improve the lives of older adults and be inspired to share your opinions and expectations. We are encouraging comment from people of all ages, lifestyles and sectors.

The more that people talk positively about catering for the ageing population the better – I wish them good luck.

The lead statistic in the organisation’s launch press release is the result of some bespoke research that they undertook that concluded that : “ 90 per cent of people in the UK are not looking forward to older age.” 

I wonder why that is?

Let me suggest a few reasons. Here are a few headlines and detail from the past few months:
…Millions of elderly people are facing a "care crisis" as official figures show two thirds of councils have cut funding for residential homes.....A survey by the Commons Health Select Committee found that councils are cutting social care budgets by an average of 6% while raising charges for services such as home help. MPs warned that funding cuts were becoming "more urgent day by day".
New figures, from the Office for National Statistics, based on health conditions recorded on death certificates, show that in 2010, 218 people died in hospitals and care homes in England and Wales with bedsores recorded as the cause of death, while 2,121 died from blood poisoning - which experts say is caused in the large majority of cases by infected wounds. A further 25,343 died of other causes while suffering from bedsores or blood poisoning. The total numbers who died with one of the two conditions has risen by 56 per cent over 10 years.
A quarter of NHS hospitals visited by the health watchdog are failing even to provide basic standards of care for elderly people. The damning report by the Care Quality Commission Inspectors found patients in some wards were being prescribed water after nurses left them thirsty for more than 10 hours, while others went hungry after being denied help with eating. Pensioners were forced to spend all day in their nightclothes or were put to bed at 6pm, while staff ignored them to talk among themselves or played music.
Believe me this is the tip of a very big iceberg.  Let's move onto finance.

Aviva has done some good work in recording the financial concerns of older people and the state of their finances. Have a read of a couple of their publications  - June 2011 Sept 2011

Here are a few of the things they found.

Unexpected expenses consistent worry over six months and five years. Over-75s worry most about health and care - I wonder why!!
The number of over-55s (17%) who have no savings is up from Q3 2010.  Digging deeper into these statistics, a worrying trend is developing. Pre-retirees (55-64) are more likely to be working than the other two age groups but also have the smallest savings pots (£5,967) and the highest number of people without any savings at all (21%). 
Over the next five years, over-55s are worried about the rising cost of living (70%) and the falling returns on savings (30%). The fact that the base rate has remained at historically low levels for 31 months and significant inflation has been experienced appears to be the reason.
The overall precarious nature of some people’s finances is clearly highlighted by the fact their fears focus on these issues rather than worries about a serious illness for them or their partner (20%) or the death of their partner (11%).
Two things dominate the concerns of older people. Their health and how will they be treated if they enter the loving embrace of the NHS and Social Services. Secondly, how will they be able to afford to stop working – even if they could find/keep a job? Let me say it again, health and finance dominate their concerns. Dick Stroud

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