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Record number of centenarians shows need for new care systems
With a significantly increased number of us enjoying more years of good health, it's time to look at new care systems that can help us live life to the fullest for longer.
In today's article, we'll take a look at what the latest research says about life expectancy, and our ability to stay socially and physically active for a higher proportion of our lives. Then, we'll give you our thoughts on what new care systems we should focus on to move with these trends.
Life expectancy has increased rapidly
According to the Office for National Statistics, the total number of centenarians (people living to 100 or beyond) has increased by a massive 85% over the last 15 years.
In 2017, there was a total of 14,430 centenarians living in Britain, in addition to 579,776 people aged 90+. This group is changing in terms of demographics, too. Whereas there were 8.22 female centenarians for every male centenarian in 2002, this figure has almost halved to 4.85 today.
Recent figures from Northern Ireland have shown a similar trend, with the total number of centenarians increasing by 60% over the last decade. Meanwhile, Wales has the highest number of centenarians per capita, at a rate of 26 in every 100,000 people.
Some secondary factors are in play, such as a pronounced fall in birth rates during WW1. However, increasing life expectancy is primarily the result of improving medical and care-related processes.
New care systems are needed to support our ageing population
Not only are these advances in medicine and care helping people live longer, but they're also helping us enjoy more years free from conditions that could prevent us achieving the best possible quality of life.
To accommodate these trends, our society must think carefully about new care systems that place greater emphasis on empowering older people to stay independent, active and socially engaged.
These are some of the key areas we believe care providers should focus on:
Medical advances are helping us stay active until later in life. An active lifestyle will also help older people maintain good health for longer, as well as offering a host of mobility and mood-related benefits.
Care providers should focus on two main areas:
- Helping older people lead an active day-to-day life by enabling them to continue with the things they're still able to do while offering support for any specific tasks they're starting to find harder
- Promoting light exercise (when appropriate); this could include some gentle stretches and exercises around the home or attending a dedicated group (e.g. an age-appropriate aerobics or dance class)
The ability to make decisions about your lifestyle or day-to-day schedule is important at any age. Care providers should look to introduce more ways to help older people live as independently as possible, by:
- Providing them with a broader selection of care options to choose from
- Working with the public to help encourage older people to have these conversations as early as possible to ensure their opinions are central to any final decisions
- Offering flexible care services that are adaptable to their daily lifestyle preferences
- Helping them continue to stay socially active and engaged with the community by attending, or even hosting events
Live-in care is different from traditional residential care models. This model puts independence and the ability to stay active at the centre of the equation and is wholly adaptable to your loved one's needs.
Help your loved one live an active, independent lifestyle for longer by discussing a live-in care arrangement with the friendly team at The Good Care Group.