Rise in number of older people living independently in UK

More older people are getting the help they need to live independently, according to a report published by the UK Health and Social Care Information Centre.

In England, during 2004/05, 32% of all older people needing a high level of support by local authority social services were given help to maintain an independent quality of life in their own home. This compares with 30% in 2003/04 and 27% in 2001/02.

The increase is partly due to a rise in the number of people receiving intensive home care. In September 2004, 92,300 households received intensive home care, six per cent up on figures for the previous year.

Key findings from the Summary of the Public Service Agreement (PSA) target on Home Care 2004/05 include:

  • A total of 92 local authorities (61%) were above the Government’s 30% PSA target for March 2006, compared with 79 local authorities (53%) in 2003/04
  • Currently 65 local authorities (43%) are meeting the Government’s March 2008 PSA target for 34% of older people to receive intensive home care to live independently. This represents a rise of 13 (9%) from the previous year.

Full details of the report are available at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/summarypsa

Medical technology has huge potential in helping the elderly to stay in their homes as long as possible and to provide health care on limited budgets. More communications systems and medical devices will be used to monitor the health and status of the elderly in their homes throughout the developed world. As social services and health authorities become aware of the savings that can be made through the use of technology, the market is bound to grow significantly in the next few years.

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