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Rock Street, San Francisco

1.1 With age comes many changes affecting an individual’s physical and social needs. As the human body ages, the bones can become less dense. This can cause conditions such as osteoporosis where the bones become more likely to break due to weakness. Another cause of weak bones is lack of calcium in an individual’s diet. As an individual gets older their appearance will change and their brain may not function as well as it once did, this is due to their organs not functioning as quickly. Another change that comes with age can be lack of appetite, some older individuals can think that as they become less mobile they don’t need to eat as much. Poor diet and nutrition can lead to a whole host of complications including; poor skin viability due to skin tissue not getting the nutrients they need (this can lead to the development of pressure ulcers). As well as physical changes, older people can also experience social changes which can include becoming socially isolated due to not being actively involved in the community. Older people can struggle to socialise due to not being able to get out as much. This can be because of poor mobility or lack of self-esteem. This highlights the importance of treating older people with respect and being inclusive.
1.2 Aging is a personal experience. No two people will have the same experience as no two people are the same. The lifestyle that you have lead will have some impact on the way you age but having an active and healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that you will always be active and healthy. Some individuals can develop illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia where the brain and memory are affected. Some individuals can develop illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease multiple sclerosis (MS). However, some older people can develop illnesses that affect them psychologically such as Depression and Schizophrenia.
1.3 A) If an older person struggles physically, it can stop them from participating in activities as they may feel like they will be stared at. A physical factor could be loss of hearing or poor mobility. Therefore, it is essential that buildings within the community have disabled access to promote inclusion and dignity.
B) As individuals enter the last years of their life they may see their friends and loves ones deteriorate in health or die. This can have an emotional affect on older people as they worry about their health in their later life and often older people suffer with depression because they are without their loved ones. Chatting with residents about their worries can help put their mind at ease. My organisation is currently working towards the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) to ensure that our residents receive outstanding end of life care. At Abbeyfield, our residents are involved with the GSF and are happy that the carers want to make a difference to their lives.
C) Social exclusion is a big problem amongst the elderly and it is a big cause of self-neglect. Individuals may struggle to physically attend catch ups with their friends and therefore lose touch all together. This can have a big impact on depression and loneliness. On the other hand, some elderly people are very socially active because since retirement they have a lot of time to socialise. Promoting dignity and respect is essential at Abbeyfield for preventing social exclusion. Therefore, one of our care assistants is a dignity champion.
D) As a care assistant, I have seen individuals struggle cognitively. I looked after an individual who stopped attending the morning crossword due to being embarrassed that he wasn’t as sharp as he used to be; to accommodate this gentleman the activities coordinator spent time doing the crossword with him one-to-one. He appreciated this because he still got to exercise his brain, but he didn’t feel embarrassed if he struggled with some of the answers.
E) As individuals get older, they may begin to struggle in their own homes. This could be due to poor mobility or confusion. They may struggle with getting up stairs or they may lose familiarity with their surroundings. Occupational Therapists can be involved to assess their environment and provide equipment to make their homes more accessible. This equipment can include raised toilet seats, stair lifts, shower chairs, profiling beds etc. Unfortunately, there comes a time for some older people when they are no longer safe in their own homes, this means that some people move on to live in a residential or nursing setting. This can be upsetting for some people as they must adjust to living in an unfamiliar environment. At Abbeyfield we strive to make that transition as smooth as possible and ensure that they are surrounded by their personal belongings.
F) A huge concern amongst the older generation is financial abuse/lack of money. This can cause a lot of stress for individuals as they worry about how they will make ends meet. It can also cause stress for family members as they may worry how they will fund their elderly relatives care should they need it. Lack of income can lead some individuals to self-neglect, recognising signs of self-neglect is imperative in health and social care so that we can encourage individuals to value themselves, and recognise their own importance and self-worth.
1.4 A positive approach to healthy aging consists of ensuring that individuals, of all ages and abilities, have a stimulating and social lifestyle. This leads to physical and mental health benefits, by promoting good health to older people, as they will feel empowered to have active participation in their care and include themselves within the community.
2.1 Older people make significant contributions to society. A large percentage of volunteers are elderly; this includes volunteers in hospitals and care homes, volunteers in charity shops, volunteers who raise money for their community etc. According to Age UK; It I estimated that every year, individuals over the age of 65 contribute around £61bn a year from volunteering, informal caring and childcare. There are a further 1 million people aged over 65 who are still in employment. Older people also have life experience that some younger people rely on, a lot of older people have a strong sense of community and are likely to help a neighbour that is in need.
2.2 An individual’s age is a protected characteristic. This means it is a criminal offense to discriminate against somebody due to their age. Discrimination is treating an individual prejudicially or unjustly. An example of age discrimination would be not employing an individual because they are too old/young. Another example would be not treating an individual with dignity and respect due to their age.
2.3 Social attitudes and beliefs can have both a positive and negative impact on older people. Some younger people in society can have a lot of prejudice towards older people and often exclude the from social activities absentmindedly; especially older people that are disabled. They can forget that the older generation were once the younger generation and have contributed a lot to society. Encouraging young people to get to know the older generation leads to an inclusive society that benefits all; without age discrimination.
2.4 Individuals with in society must use strategies to challenge stereotypes and discrimination towards older people to change social attitudes. Individuals should see each other as people, irrespective of age, to avoid having an “us” and “them” divide. If everybody in society had the confidence to challenge negative attitudes; older people would be more accepted into the community by the younger generation. It is against the law to discriminate against an individual, based on their protected characteristics, in the work place; however, it has become accepted in society to discriminate (whether it be directly or indirectly) against older people.

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