The main concerns faced by those caring for older people with reduced mobility have shifted away from Covid-19 and back to more traditional concerns about safety and accessibility in the home, new research has revealed.
A study by AI-based monitoring technology provider Kepler Vision Technologies has found that although UK adults with parents over 75 are still concerned about the disease, other concerns have now become as prominent if not more so, THIIS Magazine reports.
The survey revealed that while about half are concerned about their parents catching Covid, 48 per cent are worried about their parents being lonely and 46 per cent about them suffering a fall at he and not being able to get up again. The concern about falls is still high – at 37 per cent – for those whose parents are living in care homes.
These concerns are exacerbated by fears that lockdown has had other negative effects. Four out of ten respondents said they were worried their parents had seen their physical conditions deteriorate due to a lack of outdoor exercise during lockdown, while others have concerns about their mental health.
Declining mobility could increase the need for changes around the home, such as more accessible kitchens and bathrooms in order to promote continued independent living.
Chief executive officer of Kepler Vision Technologies Dr Harro Stockman said: “With fears about Covid beginning to recede, those with older relatives are rightly concerned with the more common problems faced by the elderly both in care and while living alone.”
He added that the staffing crisis in the care sector are making issues like loneliness and falls more of a problem, concluding: “The children of elderly parents should be looking for solutions that provide them with the best possible care and dignity in their old age.”
The comments come at a time when the care sector faces a potential problem of vaccine hesitancy among staff. Adults putting their parents into a home might consider it reasonable to expect that anyone looking after their parents should be fully vaccinated to minimise the Covid risk, but there have been numerous instances of staff being unwilling to have the jab.
This week, the BBC reported that the government is set to make vaccination compulsory for care home staff in England. While this might remove unvaccinated staff from the front line of care, it could lead to a reduction in staffing levels if some workers remain so reluctant to be vaccinated that they opt to leave the profession instead.
If this occurs, it could mean anyone who lives at home and receives care visits now may need more mobility equipment to cope as a consequence of getting fewer visits.
The shift from concerns about Covid comes at a time when the data on the spread of the new Delta variant of the disease has shown much higher rates of infection and hospitalisation among younger people. These include those who have either not yet been able to have a first jab and those still awaiting their second, as well as those who have declined it, while the elderly are more protected.
NHS boss Sir Simon Stephens has said only 30 per cent of Covid patients in hospital are now aged over 65, compared with 60 per cent in January.
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