Frail Older People

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As a social worker, what challenges would you face working with frail older people from minority ethnic groups?

As a social worker, what challenges would you face working with frail older people from minority ethnic groups?


In future, there will be unprecedented demand for all goods and services needed by individuals in their seventh through tenth decades of life. To meet the increasing need, both the impressive heterogeneity of the aging population, and the diversity of preferences, requirements, and trajectories of health and life must be appreciated. Consider the real possibility that the family might encompass three generations, all over the age of 65. Imagine the centenarian woman with an 84 year-old daughter, and the 65 year-old grandson. This is not an unrealistic scenario for the 50,545 centenarians actually residing in the U.K. In addition to multiple generations in the "older" category, those over 65 are evolving more ethnically diverse. Based on the latest census, it is projected that between 2000 and 2030, the percentage of few elders will increase by 328% for Hispanics, 285% for Asian and Pacific Islanders, 147% for British, and 131% for British, compared to 81% for Caucasians. Our communities are increasingly the reflection of multiple ethnic histories and values.

Functional status varies considerably among older adults, with the substantial portion remaining independent in daily function all through their lives and extending to volunteer or work, the majority requiring some assistance with instrumental activities after the age of 85, and the piece of frail aged who are severely disabled.(Bigelow, 1991, 43) Older adults comprise the largest assembly of care recipients in the United Kingdom, and they also represent the greatest number of caregivers (either partners or adult children) for other elders. Viewed in this lightweight, care giving can represent an intertwining of two frailty trajectories.(Andrews, 1976, 1) The time span between ages 65 and 105, the full 40 years, represents the significant piece of one's lifespan. Health care providers would not ever consider equating the health care needs of the baby with the needs of the person in early-middle age, both members of the cohort of the first 40 years of life. (Gubrium, 2003, 33)Likewise, as we discover health care services for older adults, also potentially spanning 4 decades, we must anticipate and appreciate developmental, biological, psychosocial, and functional diversity. This article reviews health care issues for frail older adults, encompassing the system for their care, presents challenges and creative solutions that are actually being tested and discovered, and suggests nursing priorities for the future.(Thompson,1999,98)


Frail older adults potentially need the constellation of health services addressing both acute and long-run needs. Inpatient hospital services concentrate on acute and serious illnesses and injuries, while outpatient clinics supply ongoing management of both acute and chronic health problems. Long-term care primarily addresses functional needs of older adults and includes the system, financing, and consignment of the variety of community-based services.(Bigelow, 1991, 43) In addition to housing in the pattern of skilled nursing facilities, assisted dwelling, retirement housing, and adult family ...
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