Health secretary urges people to take responsibility for older relatives
14th July 2015
Earlier this month, it was reported that health secretary Jeremy Hunt was scheduled to give a speech, which would encourage people to look after older relatives. His reason for doing so is to provide a solution which would help to reduce isolation, as well as prevent pensioners from dying a ‘lonely death’.
His call to prevent pensioners from dying a ‘lonely death’ follows the announcement that eight people are buried every day by their local council, as they have no known relatives or family, as well as the elderly man found in Edinburgh in June, three years after he had died. According to Age UK, one million older people have not spoken to anyone in the last month, which highlights the severity of the current issue.
Help to prevent the elderly from feeling lonely and isolated
Hunt is going to urge people to keep in closer touch with older relatives, even if it means just picking up the phone to ensure that they are okay, and to have a short conversation. While older people may be independent in their homes due to adaptations such as walk-in baths, a percentage of these do not get any human contact, which can be detrimental to health in a number of ways.
By making a call to families, Mr Hunt hopes that people will begin to address the problems we face with an ageing population, such as those mentioned above. Another suggestion Hunt will make includes asking people to ask older relatives to move in with them, which will help to reduce the strain on the NHS, amongst other benefits.
Currently, there are six million carers in the UK and a strong network of charities. However, even though they are all doing fantastic work, this is still not enough to cater for the growing number of older people in Britain. In an article by the Guardian, it is thought that Hunt will say: “The best person to prevent a long-term condition developing is not the doctor, it’s you.”
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