1 in 6 over 65s may hide serious issues from their friends & family (UK survey)

After commissioning new research, Centra Pulse, formerly Invicta Telecare, found that one-in-six over 65s in the UK (around 1.5 million) may have hidden a serious injury, illness or accident from friends and family. Of these, 12% said they thought they would be seen as incapable of looking after themselves. More than two thirds didn’t want to worry friends and family.

Centra has therefore launched a new online “ten top tips” guide to help families tackle difficult conversations with their older relatives about their care.

The full results of the survey are now available online here.  Two statistics that particularly deserve a quote are:

“While 40% of over-65s Centra surveyed said they worry life may get more difficult as they age, two thirds (65%) haven’t seriously thought about the type of care they would prefer in the past five years. Less than one in three (28%) have had a conversation about what they would want to happen if they couldn’t look after themselves.

But nearly two thirds (62%) said their child would be someone they would turn to if they needed to talk about their care needs. More said they would turn to their son or daughter than go to their partner (59%), doctor (53%) or a friend (18%).”

The survey was carried out online by YouGov Plc for Centra.  Total sample size was 2,003 British adults aged 65 and over. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th July 2013 – 23rd July 2013.

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  1. Although ’65 or over’ still sounds terribly old to people in their 40s or 50s, it may be that that is the wrong starting point for a survey of this type these days as many people in their 60s are not ‘in need’ of such conversations yet. The headline findings may have looked less dramatic if they had confined it to people 75 or over.

  2. Steve is absolutely right – I too struggle to see the relevance of age in a survey of this type. It might just as well have targeted people who smoke, those who have high blood pressure, those who are overweight or those who live on their own.
    If the aim is to make people more aware of telecare (and of Assistive Technology in general) then the focus should be how to provide the population with independent, informed information on both the range of options that are available to them, and the respective costs of provision. I’m afraid that too many people still think that care homes or homecarers who can pop to the shops for people is still a real possibility. They need to know that this was a twentieth century solution – and not one which encouraged people to take care of themselves and to try to maintain their independence. It was sustainable neither from a cost perspective nor from a resource perspective.
    I urge the governments of these islands to join together with the supply industry and service providers to run a campaign of awareness that will leave nobody with any doubts about the way forward for social care and for healthcare. Forget targets – since Supporting People stopped funding the services of many/most people in social housing, the number of people connected to telecare/health services has already fallen by 100,000. I would predict that the number will drop by a further 100,000 next year unless we collectively take on this challenge and focus on new approaches that include mCare, set-top boxes and tablet solutions.