The website for Carers UK has some very interesting information on both the number of carers there are in the UK and also the demographic of those carers. Based on the 10-yearly census, the last taken in 2011, there were approximately 6.5 million carers in the UK, which accounts for one in ten of the population. That in itself is a bit of an eye opener for those who are not involved with the caring profession and social care in Bristol. Further investigation of these figures reveals that this number has risen by 11% since the previous census taken in 2001. Here at SCPA Care in Bristol (the SCPA stands for social care personal assistants) we have noticed this trend through the number of requests we have been receiving for both short-term and long-term care.
In addition, the breakdown of the carers in the UK reveals that over 2 million are aged between 50 and 65, while 1.3 million are aged over 65. Now the one concern with this figure is that as we get older, our own health can deteriorate, both in the short and long term, but we still try and shoulder the responsibility of caring for those we love and who depend on us. It is tough, both emotionally and physically, to cope with being a carer when you are not 100% fit and healthy.
To try and provide a list of situations where a carer is needed would be wrong as that involves pigeonholing people into groups. Now everyone's situation is different, the levels of care required are different, the age of the person being cared for can be different and their illness or ailment can be different. The simple truth is, each and every one of these people who are not in a position to look after themselves needs care, and that is where the help of a reputable social care agency in Bristol, like ourselves here at SCPA Care, can help you out.
We are able to offer you invaluable help and support with the following:
Adults aged 18 years or over
Adults who have dementia
Adults who have a physical disability
Adults who have a learning disability
Adults who have a sensory impairment
Adults who have a history of substance misuse
Adults who have mental health support needs
Adults who have both short- and long-term support needs or care needs
We are particularly aware of the diversification in requirements so we can also offer a choice of live-in support, domestic support (in the patient's home), companionship and also a sleep in or what we call 'waking nights' (where our carer stays overnight, but as though it were a 'night shift' as opposed to sleeping over).
Our Aging Population and its Effect on the Health and Social Care Sector
From 2012 to 2032 the populations of 65-84 year olds and the over 85s are set to increase by 39 and 106 % respectively; whereas 0-14 and 15-64 year olds are set to increase by 11 and 7 % respectively (source: 2001 census and 2011 census population estimate). While currently around one-in-six of the UK population is aged 65 and over, by 2050 one-in-four will be.
The rapidly ageing population can be analyzed through 2 factors: 1) the rising longevity of people (improvements in health, diet, medicine and preventative care) and 2) the declining fertility rate, as women in Britain are having fewer children (offsetting the increase in younger generations). According to the UN, the global ageing trend is "without parallel in the history of mankind".
Although factors such as income growth and advances in the technological capabilities of medicine generally play the largest role, the rising population is placing upward pressure on overall health care spending. One of the great triumphs of the last century, vastly improved life expectancy, looks set to be one of the great challenges of this one.
Much of the costs are stemming from the problem that the growth in total life expectancy has outpaced the growth in healthy life expectancy. We'd hope to look for government policies that improve preventative healthcare and help people to remain active and healthy in later life. Yet a future prediction may be difficult as the potential downfall of increase costs may be offset by the creation of new economic and social opportunities. If people stay healthy for longer, they will remain engaged members of society and place less pressure on services such as the NHS.
1 in 3 babies born in the UK in 2013 are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday.
What can we do?
A healthier old-age population would allow increased numbers in the labour market for longer, mitigating the impact of an aging population on the dependency ratio. A less politically attractive, but a 100% viable option, would be to increase the immigration of working-age individuals. These both work to increase tax receipts and limit public expenditure growth.
The major worry from health experts is that as people get older, they will become prone to several debilitating conditions if they do not keep active. So, a major emphasis on this, is important, stressing the need for a healthy heart - healthy lifestyle. And then you can couple this with a sensible immigration policy.
An important factor to note is the economical position certain companies stand to gain, as certain sectors - health care, leisure, insurance and pensions - will be able to generate increased business in line with the increased number of older consumers. The aim of this is to utilise this knowledge effectively for the domestic economy - and reinvest back into the aged population. This can start right now with intelligent investments, either with individual shares or purchasing into the right funds.
However, the biggest option we can take as a nation is accept that as lives are changing, so should our attitudes too. If we encourage a new understanding of the phase of life between full time work and full time retirement, the better work-life balance, should have serious economic and social benefits. If we could find a good way to not waste the vital resources millions have spent years acquiring throughout their lives, this would have untold benefits. We need to help older people in their independence, set up a revolving door of appreciation and knowledge transfer between the old and young, and of course, drop the stereotype that the old aren't fit to do anything!
Because every situation is different, what we like to recommend is that you give us a call and invite us over to discuss, openly, how and when you may need some assistance, the costs and what allowances you may be able to obtain from the state. Sometimes you can become so worn out you forget to think about more obvious solutions - whether you want some respite care while you recharge your batteries, or you want to plan for a longer-term solution with a care agency here in Bristol. Let us help take some of the responsibility off your shoulders so you can assess the situation and think more clearly what the best solution for everyone all round will be. Call us 0117 941 5323
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