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MOBILISING STAFF


WITH SKILLS AND UNDERSTANDING BRINGS COMFORT AND CARE INTO THE HOME


By Angela Body, Managing Director, 4 Health Home Care Agency Ltd


It is a reason to celebrate that we are living longer, but as the number of older people increases significantly, so do the problems and challenges associated with an ageing population.


If trends continue - and there is not much chance that they will improve significantly - in 30 years there will only be three or four people of working age, for every member of the population over 65. This obviously presents economic problems but will also bring about changes to society and add substantial pressures to health services.


However, regardless of current financial challenges, there will never be a better time than now to create an affordable and sustainable care environment offering dignity and lifestyle choices t an elderly population. The cost of hospitalisation and residential care, means that financially it is best to keep people in their own homes as long as possible. But it is also - and perhaps more importantly - best for them. It may be financially more sustainable, but the most important consideration is that most people want to stay in their own home as long as they can. That, of course, is easier said than done.


Page 30 An Ageing Island


There is little point in the elderly living at home if they lack the care and support needed for comfortable, fulfilling lives. Many different areas of assistance may be required and many health care professionals and others will need to work together to achieve this goal. Home care assistants will have to join forces with domestic help, wound care services, rehabilitation agencies and other specialists so that preventative measures are in place for both the mental and physical well-being of an ageing population. We all know that there is a struggle to meet demand for hospital and community-based beds, but the Island is fortunate in the depth of the primary care facilities and expertise it already has. We will need much more of this simply to cope with increasing numbers but also to improve the quality of care available.


Health and Social Services and primary care professionals are leading the way on this but we all have to work together to help


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