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An Aged Population

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Number of people reaching 100 years old jumps by 70% in a decade

Better nutrition, standards of living and healthcare have all contributed to us living longer, so much so that there are now over 14,000 people aged over 100 living in the UK. In fact it’s recently been reported that the team responsible for making sure centenarians receive their telegram from the Queen has had to take on extra staff!

The big surge in this 100+ generation is partly down to the baby boom after the First World War but the population in general is also becoming increasingly aged. 1% of the population is now over 90 and that age has taken over the previous life expectancy of ‘four score years and ten’. At 41 this is good news for me personally as it means I’m not considered middle aged for another 4 years (!) and it’s great for families who get to enjoy having their older relatives around for much longer but of course there is a cost. I remember musing, post-partum, to my midwife how there seemed to be a design fault with pregnancy and birth and the train wreck of a body I seemed to have been left with and she replied that the problem was we were all supposed to die at 30; it didn’t much matter the devastation that childbirth left behind – we were only built to last a few more years anyway! Medical advances have basically conspired against nature to keep us going so by the age of 70, 80, 90 + things don’t really work as they’re supposed to and that means an entire section of the population with varying degrees of care needs.

Pre-Residential Care

When a person gets to the stage where they need 24 hour care then the options are residential care or care by their family. But what about the stage before that? The one where older people want to stay in their own home but are increasingly experiencing falls or difficulties with mobility. Their needs are not quite serious enough to warrant 24 hour care but they do need some additional support. That’s usually when people turn to personal alarms so that they can live independently but call for help when they need it. That’s fine but so often there are issues: you can go out of range – even in the garden; if you become unconscious, through a fall or otherwise, you can’t trigger the alarm; and if you knock it by mistake you can set off a false alarm. Experiencing these issues can leave a person vulnerable or expedite their need for residential care.

MonitorGO doesn’t have these issues because it’s fully mobile, it includes fall detection and unconsciousness alert and it has a failsafe to prevent false alarms. The fact that these problems are resolved means that this particular personal alarm can make the difference between people continuing to live in their own home and needing to seek residential care or move in with family. It can just give them that independence for a bit longer and as our population continues to age, this becomes increasingly important.

At 4 years shy of middle age I already have sore knees, a hip replacement and star jumps are out of the question so I’m not quite sure how I’ll fare for another 49 years but at least I know I’ll be in good company!

Post by Sarah Ainslie, MonitorGO Customer Champion

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