A Large Population of UK's Elderly Population are Facing the Pandemic Alone
In this article, we will discuss the situation of the UK's elderly population and how the pandemic is isolating them. According to an article entitled, "Social isolation and loneliness among older adults in the context of COVID-19: a global challenge," it found that social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on both the mental and physical aspects of the elderly. If you want to learn about this issue, continue reading this article.
Now, let's get started!
A High Number of Elderly are Living Alone Amidst the Pandemic
Currently, in the UK, around 12 million people are aged 65 and above, and about 3.5 million of them are living alone. This is some concerning information because the pandemic has wholly isolated them from social, physical contact. Based on an article by the BBC, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) has stated that the sick and elderly are at high risk for the Covid-19. With so many of the elderly living alone, it has further aggravated prevalent issues.
Elderly Facing Depression Alone
Before the pandemic occurred, the majority of the elderly lived active lives, such as gathering at church activities, attending social events, and travelling. Some of them even did community-based services. But because of the pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings and activities have caused many to feel isolated and lonely. According to the Mental Health Foundation, despite 6% of the people aged 70 and above not coping well with the current situation, the pre-existing issues that existed, such as loneliness, have been exacerbated. To quote the NHS regarding elderly and loneliness, "Someone lonely probably also finds it hard to reach out. There's a stigma surrounding loneliness, and older people tend not to ask for help because they have too much pride." In another study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, ever since 1974, the UK elderly population ( aged 65 and above) depression amongst them has grown by 47%. In 2014, an estimated 18% of the entire elderly population was depressed.
Cases of Dementia and Alzheimer's are Rising
According to the Alzheimer's Society in their 2014 Dementia UK report, about 850,000 people are living with Dementia, which costs about £26 billion annually. They warned that if anything is done about this problem by 2051, nearly 2 million people would have Dementia. This is particularly alarming because, as of now, there is no cure for Dementia. The NHS has stated that people should prepare for the future by getting the right support and treatment. According to an article by the NHS, those living with Dementia should maintain a socially active lifestyle, watch out for their health by having a nutritious diet, maintaining a good exercise regimen, and having a solid support network. Building a reliable support network involves your family, friends, and the elderly care you're receiving.
The Need for Flexible and Quality Elderly Care
Now more than ever, healthcare providers should start thinking about creating a plan to cater to an increasing Dementia and Alzheimer population. Elderly care services should be flexible and can easily be a part of the elderly's lifestyle. Since a large population of the elderly live alone, elderly care services should consider the lifestyle and how the elderly want their caregiver to facilitate domestic and personal care into their day to day activities.
The pandemic exposed prevailing problems regarding the elderly population that should be addressed immediately. It also revealed the UK's increasing Dementia and Alzheimer's cases, potentially burdening the current healthcare system. Only time will tell how public and private health providers can resolve these issues and prepare for more than two million Dementia patients by 2051.