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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2008): Care of the elderly - UK

Baby boomers in transition

T. Williamson

Working with Older People, vol. 12, Sept. 2008, p. 15-18

The baby boomer generation poses new challenges for older peoples services, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The concept of a fixed retirement age of 65 is rapidly disappearing for reasons of both choice and economic necessity. In older people's mental health services the 65 threshold looks increasingly anomalous, especially in the light of the Equalities Bill that proposes banning discrimination based on age in the provision of goods and services. Older people's mental health services remain the poor relation of services for adults of working age. This will not be accepted by the baby boomer generation, which is accustomed to demanding its rights.

Demographics of the ageing rural population

J. Atterton

Working with Older People, vol.12, Sept. 2008, p. 19-22

The population of England's rural areas in ageing rapidly as young people leave to access employment and education. Older people need to be encouraged to remain active and to contribute to society economically and socially. Rural policy-makers need to develop innovative approaches to draw on the economic and social resources that older people have to offer.

Elderly face 700 questions and endless forms just to get help

C. Hope

Daily Telegraph, Sept 12th 2008, p. 4

Research by the Local Government Association shows that elderly people have to answer up to 700 questions on a battery of complex forms and deal with eight different bodies to get state help. The Association is proposing a single unified system to reduce bureaucracy and a personal budget to give people the power to choose the services which are relevant to them.

Ethnicity and family support

R. Willis

Working with Older People, vol. 12, Sept. 2008, p. 27-30

This article reports on a study of family support for frail older people which aims to:

  • ascertain the extent of family support given to, and received by, older people from different ethnic groups in Britain
  • explore factors, such as social class and family size, that are associated with support.

Results show that, in all but one ethnic group comparison, there were no differences across ethnic groups in support given to family members inside or outside the household. This lack of significant differences may suggest that kinship ties are equally strong among minority groups and the white British population. Alternatively, the results may be a product of different cultural understandings of the meaning of 'help' and 'support'. The findings challenge the stereotype that minority ethnic older people may not need formal support because they are cared for by their families.

Euthanasia would ease burden of dementia, says peer

M. Beckford

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 19th 2008, p. 12

Baroness Warnock, the influential medical ethics expert, argues that elderly people with dementia should be put down if they are unable to look after themselves. At present they are wasting the lives of their families and NHS resources because of the care they require. They should therefore be able to opt for euthanasia for the sake of society.

Explaining about . home improvement agencies' response to an ageing society

M. Ramsay

Working with Older People, vol. 12, Sept. 2008, p. 9-11

Home improvement agencies (HIAs) help vulnerable people to maintain their independence through repair or adaptation of the client's home. They offer handyperson services for minor home repairs, organise major adaptations, and help clients find ways of funding improvements. They will have a major role in implementing the government's lifetime homes strategy.

Get happy: the secret to a healthy old age

G. Lishman

Health Service Journal, Sept. 4th 2008, p. 16-17

The NHS is being asked to shift its focus to preventing illness and promoting good health. Preventative services which would improve the quality of older people's lives include: measures to treat depression; good foot care; detection of malnutrition; and welfare benefits advice to maximise uptake.

Half of old folk get wrong drugs

K. Devlin

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 9th 2008, p.1

A study by researchers at Queen's University in Belfast and Brown University in Rhode Island has shown that half of all nursing home residents may be given anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and painkilling drugs inappropriately to make life easier for staff. The research looked at 22 nursing homes and found that 51% of residents were being given inappropriate drugs.

A place to live

G. Crosby and A. Clark

Working with Older People, vol.12, Sept. 2008, p. 12-14

The government's housing strategy proposes ways to promote and prolong older people's ability to live independently within the community and have control over their own lives. It also calls for the development of a range of specialised housing options for older people, including extra-care homes, retirement villages, sheltered housing and residential care. Older people need to be included in the policy-making process to create a society for all ages.

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