Across the world, and notably in the developed nations, the number of older persons is increasing, a trend that is largely attributed to the technological innovations in the medical field. The increase in the number of the aged, however, raises many other pressing issues such as health implications and other financial and ethical questions (Elwan, 1999). Changes, especially among the working class, leave many older people vulnerable, consequently affecting their sense of belonging in society.The Concept of Health in Ageing Essay
Despite the welfare programs instituted in many areas, the real needs for the elderly such as relief from pain, feeling involved and being part of a community are rarely taken into consideration (Elwan, 1999). This makes such experiences as pain, marginalization, physical suffering and loneliness become part of their everyday life. Thus as noted by Ferraro (2003), most deaths in the developed and emerging economies occur at 65 years. However, life expectancy rates are increasing in many countries. Increase in expectancy has increased the number of people who live to old age, i.e. past 65 years. More people are consequently dying from chronic illnesses rather than the past acute illness (Ferraro, 2003). People will, therefore, need other kinds of help with problems associated with the old and the care projected to the people.
In the past, quality care was only given to cancer patients who were hospitalized. However, currently, the care needs to be projected to other illnesses that crop up with age, for instance, Alzheimer’s disease (Lakatta, 2002). This then means that older people will need multiple care packages with the kind of care being provided by professionals in partnership with other groups. Professionals will additionally need to be supportive of the older people’s families, and the state, in general, will need to generate other mechanisms that could handle the aged (Lakatta, 2002). Countries will additionally need to develop health care services that will assist them in meeting the medical and social needs of the elderly.
Wenger (1999) adds that effective care will need to reach hospitals, people’s residential places and other nursing and residential homes in the community. As populations age, the pattern of diseases people is suffering from also change. As noted, many people die because of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, célèbre vascular disease, respiratory diseases and cancer (Marshall et al., 2009). It, therefore, becomes difficult to diagnose one particular disease with certainty as to the real cause of death as the old suffer from multiple diseases. For instance, it is very difficult to diagnose dementia, and it is not very clear to many people on whether the increased age is accompanied by longer periods of disability (Wenger, 1999).The Concept of Health in Ageing Essay
It is without a doubt that the increased number of old people will challenge the health care systems and make it impossible to provide effective and compassionate care. In most countries, old people live in their homes, and various countries have advanced various mechanisms for offering care to the aged (Harwood et al., 2004). In Australia, for instance, 1 out of every 15 people live in institutions in comparison to 1 out of 20 in the United Kingdom (Harwood et al., 2004). Many aged people spend their time in nursing homes in the United States, and the service is maintained by federal Medicare benefits.
Modernization and urbanization, in addition to the shifting values as regards family care for older people, has led to a marked breakdown in the community and intergenerational support mechanisms (Wells, 2005). Thus the current support and care models have taken various forms such as community-based care and health maintenance approaches; however, there is a need to integrate strategies that the old can call upon in times of emergencies. Health is not merely the absence of disease but includes among other factors the capacity of one to cope effectively with emerging life challenges and to maintain physical, mental and social well being (Wells, 2005).
Family members must thus ensure that old people have access to basic health services during emergencies. Additionally, their capacity to maintain their health will reflect the ability to re-establish the relationship networks and most importantly, self-sufficiency (Sandhu, 2009). Therefore, other than health, caregivers need to recognize other broader factors such as the socio-economic conditions that affect the older ones’ ability to survive and recover.