Archive - December, 2012

UK survey reveals families feel burdened by older relatives

British families admit they feel burdened by older relatives including at Christmas, research conducted by Friends of the Elderly (FotE), has revealed. Despite 87 percent of people feeling it is the responsibility of family to look after older relatives, worries about the financial burden (19 percent), being too busy (45 percent) and living too far away (36 percent) mean that families can’t take the strain.

In fact, almost half of those surveyed (47 percent) are dreading the day their grandparents or parents need to be cared for.

A reluctance to spend time with older relatives was shown to be particularly poignant at Christmas, with 23 percent of people saying they have older relatives who are likely to spend Christmas alone.

However, only 32 percent of people plan to invite them over for Christmas, with the greatest reason for not inviting older relatives due to concerns about frailty (18 percent).

A problem not confined to Christmas, the survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by FotE, found that while 31 percent would be happy to check in on ageing family members and visit regularly, they wouldn’t want them to move in with them.

Richard Furze, chief executive of FotE, said: ‘‘We can all make a special effort at Christmas and it will make such a difference, not just with our relatives but with older people in our communities.”

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Seniors least involved in the arts

Ballet performance by Dance Dynamic at the inaugural Silver Arts 2012. Presented by the National Arts Council, the programme was developed for seniors by fellow seniors, artists and community organisations.

Seniors and retirees (age 65 and above) have the lowest level of involvement in the arts, according to the “National Population Survey on the Arts” published recently by the National Arts Council (NAC). The survey provides a snapshot of the behavioural patterns of the population in terms of their involvement in, and perception of the arts.

Arts attendance and participation rate for this group was 26 percent and 14 percent respectively, compared with 48 percent and 19 percent for the general population. This also further compared to the youth who had an attendance and participation rate of 61 percent and 28 percent respectively.

The reasons for seniors and retirees not attending arts/cultural events were the relevance of these activities to their lives, familiarity with the artists/performers and not having anyone to go with.

The survey was conducted between October and December 2011 and included a total of 2,038 Singaporeans and PRs. It is part of NAC’s on-going efforts to provide arts practitioners, partners and industry stakeholders with useful resources to help plan and implement their programmes and activities.

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Living in isolation

There are one million people over 65 living lonely and isolated lives in the UK. Over half a million older people will spend Christmas day alone, according to Friends of the Elderly (FotE), a charity dedicated to supporting older people. The group aspires to a society where all older people are treated with respect and have the opportunity to live fulfilled lives.

Richard Furze, chief executive of FotE, said “The effects of isolation on older people – including loneliness, depression, feelings of low self-worth, poor health and diet – can be devastating, with isolated individuals being less likely to obtain the services they need or seek help. We understand that people are incredibly busy today, and especially at Christmas, but we urge people to get more involved with the older people around them – and not just at Christmas.

Small things such as simply checking in on an older neighbour regularly, popping a card through their door or having a chat with an older person at the shops is enjoyable for both young and older people, only takes a moment and can make a real difference. Rather than leave it to the few, if we all do a little bit then a lot will get done!”

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