Men more likely to Care for Elderly Relatives

More men than women in the “sandwich generation” provide day-to-day help for ageing parents, while supporting their own children, a study indicates.

Nearly three quarters of fathers said that they helped to “maintain the wellbeing”  of a parent or a parent-in-law compared with two thirds of mothers, according to Mintel, the market research company. Men were also more likely to support parents financially.

Overall, nearly four in ten did shopping for their parents, the most popular task, and the same proportion took parents for medical appointments. Nearly a third went with them on holiday.

A Care logoJack Duckett, a consumer lifestyle analyst at Mintel, said that today’s parents were increasingly under pressure to care for and support not only their own offspring but also ageing parents while holding down a job.

“As the sandwich generation grows, providing additional support to those caring for both children and parents, as well as providing them with opportunities to take time out for themselves, will be essential,” Mr Duckett said.

There is huge value to be found in helping these multi-generational family structures enjoy time together, as it allows them not only to build strong emotional bonds, but also to share important life skills.”

One major benefit to arise from the time pressures put on sandwich generation adults is the number of hours children get to spend with their grandparents.

Three quarters of parents in this category say their children spend some free time with their grandparents and that they try to find activities all three generations can do and enjoy together.

Emily Holzhausen, director of policy at the charity Carers UK, said that men were also active full-time carers of parents and elderly relatives.

“Caring is something that affects us all at some point in our lives, whether we find ourselves providing support to someone we love or need some help ourselves. Although people often think of caring as a women’s issue, four in ten carers are men,” she said.

“Carers UK’s research shows that caring can have a big impact on carers’ lives even when it is not around-the-clock. It can be a struggle for many carers trying to juggle care for an older parent alongside work or other family responsibilities like childcare, while still finding time to look after their own health and wellbeing.”

Bennet. R 2015 THE TIMES 25th March 2015 P. 9

“Many carers ruin their own mental and/or physical health looking after a loved one – Because they don’t want to lose them and they couldn’t ‘hack’ seeing them in a bad way, stuck in a nursing home.”

Elderly living in police cells – Lib Dem funds for child mental health care

Dementia sufferers and children are being locked up in police cells when carers become unable to cope, a police watchdog has found.

Vulnerable elderly people are also being detained when there is nowhere else for them to go.

The probe by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found that a 90 year-old dementia victim was put in custody after his carers dialled 999 during an argument.

Police CellOfficers often took emergency calls from hospital and care home staff.

The inspectorate’s Dru Sharpling  said custody was becoming a default option.

She said vulnerable people were detained “to get them the support they needed”.

She said: “Each public service must fully discharge its responsibilities to ensure that police custody does not become the default option.”

Relph. S 2015 Daily Mirror 10/03/2015 P. 5

“It’s sad to hear that this goes on all over the UK in 2015.”

The Liberal Democrats, last week, announced a “seismic” shift to revolutionise children’s mental healthcare”.

They plan to fund an extra £1.25billion over five years to treat 110,000 more children with mental health issues, and provide rapid access to treatment for new mothers.

Nick CleggDeputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “By introducing waiting time standards and committing to talking therapies for children in every region, we are helping to build a fairer society where young people can get the right treatment and support to live a better life.

“Sounds great, Nick – will you deliver?”

Care ‘should be available and free’ at the end of life

People with terminal diseases should be offered more free social care and a greater say in the type of support they receive at the end of their life, MPs said last night.

While most people would like to die at home, a shortfall in community nurses and outreach palliative care services make this difficult, the health select committee said.

A review found that round-the clock access to specialist palliative care in acute and community settings would greatly improve the way terminally ill patients and their families  and carers are treated.WreathCrucially,  patients should be consulted about their wishes to ensure clinicians feel confident talking to people they believe to be near the end of life.

The report was prompted by an independent review of the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway, which recommended doctors withdraw treatment, food and water from sedated patients in some circumstances. This was scrapped in 2013 after investigators discovered cases where patients were left languishing for weeks.

Committee chairwoman and Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston said: “There are unacceptable levels of variation in the care that people receive and this needs to be addressed  so that high-quality  end-of-life care is available to everyone regardless of their age, medical condition or where they live.” Both the British Heart Foundation and Parkinson’s UK said that while it was easy to determine end-of-life scenarios with cancer patients, those with other conditions can be ignored.

Steve Ford of Parkinson’s UK said: “Huge numbers of people with Parkinson’s lie unidentified as being at the end of their lives, so wouldn’t  have access to this support.

Giannangell. M Sunday Express 15/03/2015 P.12

“For us to regain pride in our nation, wouldn’t better care for our elderly and dying be a good and necessary start.”

Elderly Care – ‘Double Blow’ of Service Cuts

Emily Dugan writing in The Independent – Older people have been hit with a “double whammy” of cuts  to social care and a huge drop in the number of community nurses to help them at home.

Spending on services for older people dropped by a third over the last decade, according to new figures from the charity Age UK. Meanwhile, the number of community nurses – essential for delivering care to older people – dropped by 27 per cent between 2009 and 2014.

CarerNurse consultants in the community and community matrons are also down, their numbers falling by 17 per cent and 40 per cent respectively over five years.

Spending on social care services for older people has plummeted from £8.1bn in 2005-6 to £5.4bn in 2014-15. Community care services have been the most affected, according to Age UK, with a “huge drop” of 24.9 per cent – more than £500m – in the last four years alone.

Caroline Abrahams the Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Older people are being hit by a ‘double whammy’ of cuts to community health and social care services many depend on to retain their independence. Far to often frail older people are without the help they need to stay well at home and end up having to go to A&E instead. Others find themselves stranded in hospital because there aren’t enough social care and community health services to allow them to be safely discharged.

“The solution is more investment in primary and community healthcare, and in social care, and we call on the Chancellor to commit to this in his budget.

“I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Mr Osborne to come to the rescue of our older vulnerable people. The deplorable state of our care services, on the whole, will continue and most probably worsen.”

Doctors dismiss grief of bereaved elderly as depression

Fiona MacRae for the Daily Mail writes how suffering from bereavement, many older people seek help from a GP to cope with the crushing feeling of loneliness.

But they are often misdiagnosed with depression – and given powerful drugs they don’t need, a study claims.

Widows and widowers are also tarred with the stigma of mental illness, say experts.

Researchers said that while people battling grief go on to develop full blown depression, many do not.

Those who lose their spouse often withdraw from social contact – and tackling this loneliness could help prevent their health from deteriorating further.

Dr Eiko Fried and other researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium questioned elderly volunteers on their mental health and found those in mourning suffered mainly from loneliness – which can be a symptom of depression.

The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, suggested that the loneliness could be so overwhelming it could lead them to being classed as depressed, despite having few other symptoms.

Lonely man sitting on a benchGPs are then too quick to dish out antidepressants without considering how to tackle feelings of solitude.

It is estimated one million elderly Britons are chronically lonely, with many not seeing or speaking to someone every day.

Almost a quarter of those aged over 75 who live alone go whole days without any human contact – face-to-face or over the phone.

And recent research has also shown that loneliness can have a worse effect on health than obesity and can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

It can also create deep mental scars, with research showing it increases the risk of depression and raises the odds of developing dementia by up to two-thirds. Caroline Abrahams, of charity Age UK, said the issue could be tackled by GPs identifying symptoms and alerting local services that can offer support.

She said: ‘In practical terms people’s lives can change dramatically, meaning they may have to eat, sleep and live alone for the first time, increasing the risk of feeling lonely.

‘Feeling lonely not only makes us miserable, it increases our risk of developing serious mental and physical health problems.

‘Families and communities can make a huge difference to the lives of older people living alone, particularly those who have recently lost a spouse or partner. This can be as simple as making time for older relatives and checking in on older friends and neighbours that we know.

‘GPs can help by identifying symptoms and sign-posting to local services that can help people to stay connected and not presume that somebody staying at home with little human contact is an acceptable outcome of care.’

“Unfortunately, for many, the ‘acceptable outcome of care’ will be that they stay at home and deteriorate as the demand for services far exceeds that available from ludicrously overstretched community provision”

Elderly and Disability Care Auctioned in ‘eBay’ Style – Uncivilised

Paul Burne reports in the Daily Mirror that elderly and disabled people are being auctioned off to care companies on eBay-style websites.

The details of vulnerable people are listed by a dozen councils so firms can bid.

Under the system providers which find they are in second place can cut prices or offer extra services to win the auction.

One council sad it had cut costs by a almost a fifth.

Auctioning care servicesA Freedom of Information request shows 92% of care packages over six months went to the lowest bidder.

Government Adviser Ros Altmann said: “These sites highlight the funding crisis. Bidding for a person is uncivilised. These people are not parcels they are people.”

Birmingham council said well-being was “paramount”  and it only awarded packages to providers which can meet individual needs.

“George Orwells novel ‘1984’ is getting so contemporary”

Loneliness of Our Elderly – Major Public Health Challenge

Britain faces a “Major Public Health Challenge” caused by the impact of long-term loneliness on elderly people, two charities have warned.

Linked to dementia, depression and high blood pressure, chronic loneliness threatens the health of one in 10 older people.

With numbers set to surge 50 per cent to 1.5 million by 2028, AgeUK and the Campaign to End Loneliness say health professionals and local authorities must take urgent action.

Lonely man sitting on a bench

Caroline Abrahams, director of AgeUK, said: “Loneliness is widespread among older people, leaving millions facing the ups and downs of later life largely alone.

“As the numbers of old people  in our society increases, the problem is set to get worse unless we do more to help older people to avoid and overcome it.

“Mounting evidence shows loneliness has a serious impact on our mental and physical health – which in turn can lead to greater reliance on health and social care services –  making it an issue we can ill afford to ignore.”

Titled “Promising approaches to reducing loneliness and isolation in later life”, the report details the impact of chronic loneliness – feeling lonely all or most of the time – can have on the health of older people.

The research uncovered that one in four (2.9 million) Britons aged 65 and over feel they have no one to go to for help and support. As well as serious implications for mental health, it found that chronic loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, increasing the risk of dementia, high blood pressure and depression.

The report claims that health service funders and commissioners are suffering from a “knowledge gap” as they struggle to meet the challenge of chronic loneliness.

Highlighting figures showing that in 2014 around five million 65-year-olds had never used the internet, the study found that older people have difficulty accessing public transport services due to local transport cuts and high taxi prices.

The report suggests a framework of solutions aimed at improving access to technology and transport. And after finding that having friends and family nearby is important to older people than to younger generations, the report sets out strategies aimed at helping the elderly to be better socially connected.

Laura Alcock-Ferguson, director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Although facing tough budget choices local authorities want to know what can be done to tackle loneliness.

“We are offering this framework to those 51 per cent [of councils] who have promised to tackle the issue in their health and wellbeing board strategies.

With this they can put into place a comprehensive network of community to prevent and alleviate isolation and loneliness.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this “framework of solutions” could be implemented to start a turnaround. The situation at present with reduced funding to county councils and probably more to come, more broken promises from the next administration (whichever) and a situation getting worse with time passing, it’s highly likely not to.”

Britain’s Care of the Elderly – In Rapid, Calamitous Decline

Care of the elderly is in a state of “calamitous, quite rapid decline”, a leading charity boss has warned, with hundreds of thousands fewer people receiving care than five years ago.

More than £1bn has been slashed from councils’ social-care budgets in England since 2010, despite an increase in the elderly population, meaning thousands who would have received help with basic tasks such as getting out of bed or taking medication no longer get support, AgeUK said.

Caroline Abrahams, it’s director, said the cuts were also harming the NHS, with hospitals struggling to discharge patients quickly into home or community care – a major factor behind the extreme pressure faced by hospitals this winter.

Elderly CareThe problems of “exit block” leads to delays in admitting patients from emergency departments, because beds are taken up by frail elderly people waiting for a community-care package. It is believed to be a major factor contributing to this winters’ 10-year highs in A&E waiting times.

AgeUK said the number of older people receiving home care has fallen by a third since 2010, while places in day-care centres declined by two-thirds. More than 40 per cent fewer people receive equipment and adaptations such as rails and stairlifts.

Just under 9 per cent  of over-65s – 850,000 people – receive any support from councils, down from well over a million five years ago.

The Department of Health, said that, in total, an extra £1bn had been given to local councils to help to protect social-care services this year, adding that councils were responsible for determining their own budgets.

The Government is to give £25m to 65 councils where delays in discharging elderly patients from hospitals are the most severe.

“The Department of Health puts back £1.1bn into c0unty councils when so much damage has already been done by savage cuts to funding. It’s a bit rich.”

Elderly Among EU’s Worst Off

An article by Jaymi McCann of the Sunday Express reveals Britain’s pensioners are among the poorest  in the EU, with a greater risk of poverty than those in Poland or Latvia.

Despite the UK being the second richest country in Europe, a new report says 15 states do better when it comes to pensioner poverty.

A failing state pension system and low employment in later life has left 1.7 million below the poverty line.

The International Longevity Centre report due out next week shows 16.1 percent of British pensioners live in relative poverty compared with 15.4 percent in Romania and 13.9 percent in Latvia.

The elderly also fare better in Germany, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, France, Norway, Slovakia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands.

About 1.5 million over-50’s have lost their jobs since 2006 due to redundancy, ill health or forced early retirement, according to the Prince of Wale’s Initiative for Mature Enterprises.

The ILC said “The state pension is being squeezed and it is difficult for people to keep saving when earnings are not rising but costs are increasing.” Its report says the state pension is now just 31.9 percent of average pay in Britain. Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said “Many pensioners live on very low, fixed incomes and have been walking a tightrope in recent years as food and utility bills have escalated.

“The government must do more to get vital money benefits to those who need extra support.”

Pensions expert Ros Altmann said “The UK has one of the lowest state pension in the developed world . We rely heavily on private pensions but those who don’t have the chance to save are living in poverty.”

The Department of Work and Pensions says it is switching to a more effective single-tier system next year, while the “Triple Lock” introduced by the coalition will ensure the state pension increases each year by inflation, wages or 2.5 percent, whichever is greater.


100 Patients ‘Put to Sleep’

An article in the Daily Mirror has revealed there is to be a probe into a hospital where old folk were dosed with morphine.
A HILLSBOROUGH-style inquiry was lunched on Thursday 10th July into the suspicious deaths of up to 100 elderly patients at a hospital.
Care minister Norman Lamb said the independent probe would centre on procedures at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Hants from 1988 to 2000.
Patients who could have been discharged are reported to have died after being injected with morphine and diamorphine to make them “comfortable”.
Some were given “life-shortening” painkillers even though they were not in any pain, according to a previous report.
The alarming practice is said to have continued for years, despite complaints from families, three police investigations, 11 inquests and a professional misconduct hearing. The daughter of one of the victims welcomed the inquiry – after a decade of campaigning.
Gillian Mckenzie, 80, believes her her mum Gladys, who died aged 91 in 1998, was unnecessarily prescribed high doses of morphine after a hip operation, despite showing no signs of pain.
Gillian, of Eastbourne, East Essex, said: “I’m very happy that there is finally to be a full inquiry, but I will be unhappy if it is contained simply to to the hospital as there are far wider ramifications involving the police and the General Medical Council.” She hopes the inquiry, expected to last up to two years, will spark a fresh police probe. She added “It’s frustrating that there has never been  a criminal prosecution. I want to know why not.”
The inquiry will be led by ex-Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, who chaired the Hillsborough panel.
A report into the deaths at the Southern Health NHS foundation trust hospital was released last year after a 10 year delay in publication because of ongoing police investigations and inquests.
The report, led by Prof Richard Baker of Leicester University, found the routine use of opiates “almost certainly” shortened the lives of some elderly patients. It said a number could have gone on to make a full recovery.
Announcing the inquiry, Mr Lamb said: ” I was deeply concerned by the findings of the Baker report and I am confident that this independent process will help answer the many questions of the families affected by these shocking events.”

A doctor who prescribed”potentially hazardous” levels of drugs to 12 patient at Gosport War Memorial Hospital to “keep them quiet” escaped being struck off. Dr Jane Barton, who insisted her actions in the 1990 were correct, was found guilty in 2010 of serious professional misconduct. She was given 11 conditions to prevent her prescribing opiates by injection.
The doctor who has retired spoke of an “excessive and increasing burden” in trying to care for patients at the hospital.

If guilt is found, will anyone be brought to task !!!.