Older people 'hiding injuries'
Published on 07 November 2013 01:30 PM
Researchers warn that 1 in 6 of the UK's over-65s is concealing a serious injury, illness or accident from friends or family.
No fewer than 16% of Britain's 10 million senior citizens have hidden an ailment from loves ones because they fear losing their independence or believe they will be seen as a burden, according to a survey.
Of these, 12% said they thought they would be judged as incapable of looking after themselves.
Half said they wanted to avoid friends or relatives over-reacting, while two-thirds did not want to worry them, and 1 in 10 said they were scared about being admitted to hospital.
The online poll of 2,000 UK adults aged 65 to 93 was commissioned by Centra Pulse, which provides personal telecare alarms.
Centra Pulse spokeswoman Wendy Darling said more should be done to support older people at risk of covering up potentially serious problems. Too many families will only start talking about care after some sort of crisis has already happened, she added.
This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford, who is backing a campaign to stop older people suffering in silence, said she faced 'some serious barriers' when talking to her parents about their wellbeing.
'My mum is a fiercely independent 83-year-old but she lives alone now,' she said.
'We constantly worry that she is covering up problems and concerns so that we don't see her as a burden.'
The research found that more than 1 in 5 over-65s fear they will be seen as a burden as they grow older.
While 40% of respondents said they worry life may get more difficult as they age, 65% have not given serious thought in the past 5 years to the type of care they would prefer.
Just 28% have had a conversation about what they would want to happen if they found they could not look after themselves.
On a more positive note for family bonds, nearly two-thirds (62%) said they would turn to their child if they needed to talk about care needs.
Interestingly, more said they would turn to their son or daughter than go to their partner (59%), doctor (53%) or a friend (18%).
Age UK Personal Alarms
Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Personal Alarms, said: 'It's true that many people in later life want to live independently in their own home for as long as possible.
'However another issue affecting this is a fifth of over 65s (20%) lack information on independence aids for the home. Independence aids for the home range from fall detectors and grab bars to personal alarms and stair lifts as well as many others.
'Positively, our own shows that those who use independence aids benefit from feeling safer in their homes and that they provide peace of mind to the user and their family.
'It is therefore imperative that those in later life have access to information about aids for the home that can help prevent falls. An Age UK Personal Alarm is one such service which can help those in later life remain in control and confident in their home.'
Copyright Press Association 2013