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The Elderly

Who are the Elderly?

  • People who are old enough to receive the state pension
  • Currently women get the state pension at 60 and men at 65
  • By 2020 women will also only recieve the state pension at 65

What are the social concerns of the elderly?

  • Over half those who are older than 75 live alone
  • Some do not have central heating
  • Some are discriminated against when applying for jobs
  • The proportion of elderly people is increasing

What are the economic concerns of the elderly?

  • Most pensioners have to survive on less than half their wages
  • Many elderly have only small savings
  • Most pensioners do not have their own car
  • However, some elderly people are well off

What does sheltered housing provide?

  • This is housing that is adapted to meet the needs of elderly people
  • It allows them to continue to live independent lives
  • It is usually part of a small scheme and has a warden "on call"
  • Residents have alarms in case of emergency
  • The furniture and equipment are designed for older people

What do residential homes provide?

  • These are provided by either private companies, local authorities or voluntary groups
  • They are for elderly people who have difficulty looking after themselves
  • Care workers help look after the social needs of the residents

How can houses be adapted to meet the needs of elderly people?

  • Stair lifts and extra rails to help the elderly moving between floors
  • Hand rails in showers and toilets
  • Alarms, either under the carpet or worn round the neck, so that help can be called if there is an accident
  • Powered vehicles for moving around

Why do the elderly have greater health needs?

  • The elderly are more likely to suffer from arthritis and rheumatism
  • Most elderly people have some problem with their eyesight
  • Problems with hearing increases with age
  • Elderly people are more prone to hypothermia (low body heat), especially in winter
  • Senile Dementia (Alzheimer's Disease) is an illness that affects the brain. It reduces the physical and mental capacity of a sufferer

How have new medical developments helped the lifestyle of elderly people?

  • Hip replacement operations allow older people to move around more easily
  • Cataract surgery can improve the eyesight
  • More advanced medical equipment e.g. whole body scanners, intensive medical care, help the elderly as well as other age groups
  • Minute hearing aids
  • Pacemakers help older people with heart conditions

Why are some elderly wealthier than others?

  • They have worked in well paid jobs and have been able to save rather than have debts
  • They have a good pension from their jobs, and/or have invested in a private pension
  • They have a well paid family that supports them
  • This group is sometimes known as WOOPIES (Well Off Older People)

What benefits are the elderly entitled to recieve?

The benefits available from the government include
  • Retirement pension (men over 65, women over 60 to 65)
  • Attendance allowance -for ill or disabled people over 65 who need a lot of looking after
  • Christmas bonus (over 65)
  • Cold weather payment
  • Winter fuel payment
  • Income support - this is "means tested"
  • Housing benefit - this is "means tested"
  • Council tax benefit - this is "means tested"
  • Free prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests from the NHS (National Health Service)

Why do some elderly people not claim the benefit they are entitled to receive?

  • Some benefits, such as income support, are means tested. This means they are not given automatically, but depend on a person's income and savings. Some elderly do not want their income and savings looked into
  • Some elderly do not know they are entitled to the benefit
  • Some elderly do not want to rely on others
  • Some elderly people are too proud or embarrased to ask for "charity"
  • Some elderly do not want to go through the application process

What other types of support are available to the elderly?

  • Some councils offer travel concessions (cheap fares)
  • Day centres
  • Church organisations
  • Pressure groups such as Age Concern aim to improve the status of the elderly

What arguments are there for increasing the old age pension?

  • The state pension is barely enough to cover meet the basic needs of the elderly
  • The value of the state pension has declined over recent times when compared to inflation
  • Although the poorest pensioners will be entitled to income support, some people do not claim it
  • Pressure groups such as Age Concern aim to improve the status of the elderly

     

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