Between 2004 and 2031 it is expected that UK’s population will balloon by a factor of 7. 2% (National Statistics 2005). These statistics that were releases in 2005 approximates the rate of population growth at nearly 0. 42% per annum which translates to 12% in 27 years (National Statistics 2005). Though the subsequent years will also be characterized by population growth it will be at a slower rate. One of the key challenges associated with the expected change in demographics is an increase in the number of the elderly in England. Long term projections show that the number of people in their pensionable age is expected to hit the 15.
3 million mark in 2031 and increase to 17. 5 million in the middle of the century (National Statistics 2005). UK demographic has traditionally been characterized by a large number of children compared to people in their pensionable age. However, the statistics show that this demographic was expected to change in 2007 when people in their pensionable age were expected to exceed the number of children (National Statistics 2005). Projections show that by 2013 the number of state pensionable people will exceed the number of children by over 34% (National Statistics 2005).
These statistics point to the fact that the UK population is rapidly aging and there is need for strategies that will ensure that the elderly are well take care of. Moving the state pensionable age may reduce the number of state pensionable people it however does not reduce the number of the elderly which is on the increase. Telecare is a reactive strategy that if well implemented could help ensure that the elderly are well positioned to deal with the challenges associated with aging. Telecare is only beneficial if it is well implemented and supported through and integrated approach.
This paper will seek to develop this thesis by analyzing the alternative options for addressing the problem of the elderly in the society, understanding the benefits and cons associated with telecare and its implications on management of the elderly. Discussion There are various challenges associated with managing the elderly and ensuring that their frail health is addressed. Understanding the benefits and cons associated with the existing strategies provides an effective platform for social stakeholders to prepare adequately and implement strategies that are effective in addressing the aging problem.
Managing the elderly is a challenge that every society has had to address (Laing 2005). The elderly are senior citizens and therefore require as much care as other groups. In fact the elderly may require more specialized approach to healthcare delivery and management due to their frail health and deteriorating physical condition. There are various strategies that have over the years been adopted in addressing the challenge facing the elderly. Informal care, intermediate care, early prevention, hospital at home and telecare are among the most common approaches to handling the elderly within the society.
These strategies are prevalent in the UK and each has associated pros and cons. Hospital at homes as an example is an approach through which elderly people receive medical attention while they are at home. Such an approach not only reduces the costs of medical care but also ensures that the elderly are at their home and close to family (Philp 2007). However, the approach may be inadequate for it does not provide the elderly with the support and knowledge required to be self reliant and meet personal health needs.
Informal care is on the other hand associated with provision of an environment that allows for a social approach to managing the psychological strain associated with aging (Department of Health 2007). However, providing the elderly with such an environment still does not empower them with skills to address the challenges that they may face despite the existence of adequate support. Early prevention is a mechanism that focuses on some of the challenges that the elderly face and aim at ensuring that they adopt strategies that will ensure they are well protected from ailments and conditions associated with old age.
Early prevention involves ensuring that the elderly practice healthy livings habits, exercise and take on strategies to improve their overall health. However, lack of equipments and professional advice on exercising and dietary requirements may choke such efforts (Department of Health 2007). Moreover, the physical exertion associated with such strategies may discourage the elderly. Lack of proper support may limit early intervention strategies to addressing the challenges and threats that the elderly face.