Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

Some of the Biggest Challenges Facing Elderly Care Right Now

Caring for the elderly is a hot topic at the moment. We hear a lot about how care homes are bursting to capacity. And we also seem to hear about scandals inside those care homes far too often too. There are so many different problems that face families and care home facilities when looking after the elderly. And that’s not to mention the elderly individuals themselves. They can experience great strife as a result of their care arrangements. There are certainly many problems out there that need to be addressed.

The issue of who cares for the elderly and who should pay for it are particularly touchy areas. But these, and many others, will have to be confronted and dealt with if a humane and fair solution is to be found. To learn more, here are some of the biggest challenges facing elderly care right now.

Ageing Population

In almost every country in the world today, the average lifespan of the population is increasing. There are numerous reasons for this. Despite all we hear about poor diets and lifestyles, it is becoming easier to treat health problems. This means that things that may have been fatal problems in the past can now be treated safely and successfully. And in poorer countries, economic improvements lead to lower poverty levels. But when more people are living longer, this puts particular pressure on people who are responsible for caring for the elderly. The increased capacity in elderly care homes is the direct consequence of the ageing populations around the world. Only a long-term and comprehensive strategy for elderly care will be able to put this right.

Logistics

The logistical issues surrounding where elderly people should live when they need care is a big issue. Is it the responsibility of the government to pay for care? Or should families bear the burden? There is no easy answer to those kinds of questions. But there certainly needs to be more support for everyone who is involved in caring for elderly residents or family members. It’s also very important that the individual themselves gets a say in the kind of treatment they receive. Many elderly people don’t want to be moved out of their homes and robbed of their independence. This is where care visits and home nursing can play a vital role in the process. But it can be difficult to get the balance right.

elderly

Staffing Shortages

Staffing shortages can lead to many problems in elderly nursing and care homes. When there is simply not enough people around to take care of everyone, it’s the residents who suffer. The problem with these kinds of jobs is that they’re often very strenuous and the hours can be unsociable. On top of that, the pay level for carers remains very poor in many cases. To attract more people to the profession, this is something that is going to have to chance sometime soon. If there were more people becoming carers for the elderly, the problem would be more manageable. That wouldn’t mean that all the other problems would go away, but things would be better for everyone involved.

Neglect

Many of the scandals we hear about that take place in care homes involve neglect. When people who need care and supervision, neglect can be very damaging for them. It is a problem that is on the rise though. It’s tied to the problem of a lack of employees to care for people. But it can also be an issue of bad practice. And that’s something that can be only be addressed by tougher rules and punishments for anyone who neglects residents in care homes. Nursing home neglect doesn’t have to be a reality, and it can be very stressful for families too. As long as work is done to improve standards, this kind of thing can be ruled out. But it takes the will to make those changes happen.

Social Problems

There are also many social problems that elderly people can face when they need care. Being trapped in a care home where they don’t really want to be can be damaging. They could become more isolated than there were when they lived in familiar surroundings. And if that happens, things like mental illnesses and depression become more likely. It’s up to care homes to ensure that no one is left to become lonely and isolated. Encouraging activity and creating social interaction between people is very important. It shouldn’t be too difficult to make things like this happen, but it can make a huge difference to care home residents.

Financing

Care for the elderly is very expensive. Of course, there are different expense levels. But very few families want to send their relatives to the cheapest care homes. This leads to huge bills being racked up over the months and years. For many elderly people, it becomes necessary to sell their home in order to pay for their own care. This then deprives their family of inherited that property later. It’s clear that making care services more affordable for everyone should be a top priority. Without affordable care, more stress and suffering is passed onto the people who are most vulnerable in this situation. Some care homes are offering fairer financing options, but many still are not.

Complex Health Issues

As we get older, we get more likely to suffer some of the most complex and difficult to manage health problems in existence. Things like dementia can make an elderly person’s care more challenging. And issues like this tend to require special attention and care. Assessing a patient’s specific needs and circumstances before they are moved into a care home is key. Only when this happens can that person get the type of care that they need in order to thrive and live happily. But managing these conditions can make bills even higher, so it becomes a big problem for many families. It’s important for families to always check which government support they’re entitled to. This can take some of the stress out of the situation.