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Why elderly care needs to be linked with local communities

There is increasing concern about a ‘generation gap’ in modern Britain, with the elderly and others needing care being isolated from the rest of society.

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What problems does the generation gap cause?

Having care homes as the default option for the elderly needing care causes many problems, both for the elderly and the rest of the population. Removing an elderly person from the community that they may have lived in for many years, establishing friendships and support networks can cause loneliness and isolation. Even where a care home is available in the same neighbourhood as the elderly person’s home, they can find themselves removed from day to day interaction with the wider community.

According to the NHS older people are especially vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. Unfortunately, some elderly people find that solving their care needs by moving into a care home can exacerbate loneliness and isolation as although care homes will have a good range of activities on offer for their residents, the elderly are removed from the support of the wider community and have to work on creating new friendships and links.

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For the rest of society placing elderly people together in care homes can remove their vital experience and valuable skills and outlook from the community. Everyone in a community of whatever age benefits from being able to mix and learn from each other.

How can our model of elderly care be adapted?

A residential placement in a care home may be suitable for some elderly people requiring care. However, whilst many people automatically think of a care home as the default option when they or their loved one require more help than can be given by a visiting carer, it isn’t the only option. There are alternatives which may be more suitable. Live in care such as that provided by https://www.liveincare.com/ is one such alternative. With this type of care the person needing care is empowered to stay in their own home. Their professional carer ‘lives in’ and is there 24 hours a day to provide any care needs.

Alternative care models may be one way to help close the generation gap and ensure that the elderly remain both independent and an active part of their local communities. This benefits not just the elderly but everyone in society.

 

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