Dr Jamie Wilson on ‘24-hour care set to double’


The news

Many will have seen the news today from the Lancet Public Health journal, that the number of people aged 85 and over needing 24-hour care is set to double. It also found the that the most “high dependent” group – those needing round the clock care – will double.

People in this most ‘high dependent’ group are very disabled, need full time care and can not be left alone. The study predicted that this group would increase from 220k to 440k.

If you believe these numbers, this will mean a doubling in the size of the number of care homes or a massive expansion in live-in care, a service hometouch provides nationally.

The impact

Society will not be able to manage this increase – even if individuals could afford the financial burden, there are not enough carers and not enough care homes.

This paints a frightening picture and although few will be ignorant of the pressing need to address our current and future social care needs, the projection should come as a stark warning to all.

Specifically, this should be a clarion call for addressing the brain health of baby boomer and retirees.

Today, 60% of people receiving home-care services and 70% of people living in care homes are living with dementia.

Prevention

However, there’s ample evidence that more can be done to prevent this type of care being needed at all. Research published in the Lancet suggests that 40% of dementia cases could be prevented through lifestyle interventions and further research released just last week added to the body of evidence which shows that healthy habits can in fact delay the progress of dementia by up to 70%.

If we’re able to stop dementia in its tracks, we can radically reduce the need for care. We need to encourage people to take more control over their own health, and crucially, more responsibility for their own future brain health.