£119 billion of unpaid care is provided every year in the UK. The majority of it is provided by an ageing population, who are often in need of care & support themselves.
In the past year I’ve witnessed so many carers close to breaking point – as they struggle to cope with caring for a loved one. As social services come under increasing pressure and many people cannot afford private care – the pressure grows.
The number of elderly unpaid carers is on the increase. They are often too busy caring for their loved ones that their own health & wellbeing suffers. It’s physically demanding & emotionally draining caring for someone 24/7 in your prime, let alone as you enter your supposed “golden years”.
The modern phenomenon of disparate family networks living increasing stressful existences, has led to elderly carers being placed under increasing pressure. Elderly people feel it’s “their duty” to care for their partner and are often “too proud” to seek help.
When people finally admit they need support, they are often confused about the services available to them, which ones are most suitable, how to access them and whether they can afford them.
This can be overwhelming to older people. It’s not surprising they get confused when you consider the complexities of accessing care and the myriad of organisations involved in delivering it.
Co-operation & collaboration is crucial if we are to provide the support our elderly population desperately need. With the right “mind-set” amongst health & wellbeing stakeholders it can be achieved.
Here’s a potential way we could simplify things.
Firstly let’s produce Combined Care Plans (CCP’s), that incorporate the health, social and respite requirements of elderly people and their primary carer(s).
Secondly, let’s clearly signpost the right person-centred support services.
Thirdly, CCP’s delivered in partnership between local health & wellbeing stakeholders – to ensure professional, consistent and high quality outcomes.
Fourthly, conduct regular reviews of the CCP’s to ensure they remain relevant.
And finally, recruit CCP champions who can lead the healthy ageing agenda in their local community.
A Simple, thought-provoking approach that puts elderly people and their carers at the heart of it.