A newspaper article highlights the need for older people to keep active to avoid “becoming a burden on the healthcare system”. A leading orthopaedic consultant surgeon was quoted as saying “People need to keep active however old they are”. The article went on to say that exercise has been proven to reverse physical decline and keep elderly people out of care homes.
I think we can all agree that our healthcare system is currently under enormous strain and that keeping active is sound advice.
The same article provides the following statistics:
“Older patients admitted to hospital spend over 80% of their time in a bed, which equates to a 60% reduction in their mobility”.
Why then am I seeing older people being discharged from hospital to their homes without referral to either physiotherapy or occupational therapy services which are aimed at promoting safety and independence ?
An older person who is not given the opportunity to optimise their ability is likely to incur higher care bills in the long term whether these bills are met by the NHS, Local Authority or the private purse.
More importantly, increased dependency on others to fulfil basic activities of daily living will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the older person’s sense of well being, self esteem and quality of life.