From fuel poverty and excess winter deaths to social and digital isolation — the health and social care services are ‘struggling’ to deliver what is needed on the Isle of Wight.
In the Isle of Wight Council’s Annual Public Health report, focusing on the health and wellbeing of over 65s, the key concern is we are living longer and care services aren’t able to deliver what elderly people need.
No planned changes to social care to combat rising problems
Despite the ‘struggling’ health care services on the Island, the council have not put forward any changes to social care to combat rising problems, only self-care recommendations.
The council’s remedies for those over 65 to counteract problems so people can enter ‘old age as healthy as possible’ are as simple as exercising, breaking up how long you spend sitting down and getting vaccinated.
Only one in four people aged over 65 years meet the minimum recommended activity levels needed to maintain their health with the council saying ‘it is never too late to start’ regular exercise to help build strength and regain balance.
11 per cent in fuel poverty
With 11 per cent of households in fuel poverty — 5.1 per cent of Island homes have no central heating — an estimated 30 per cent of excess winter deaths are attributable to cold housing, which is equates to approximately 30 deaths each year on the Island.
Despite 97.1 per cent of residents over 65 on the Island receiving fuel winter payments, increasing year on year, it is possible that lowering the temperature in a living room by one degree the risk of strokes and heart attacks increase.
Staying in homes for longer
However, a problem the council is facing are people wanting to stay in their homes for longer, causing implications for the best way to provide social and community care.
Strategically, the council has said the Island Plan draft identifies the need for greater fuel efficiency in new builds.
Uptake for all three vaccinations over 65s are advised to have been consistently lower than national targets as the council warn age alone increases the risk for a number of vaccine-preventable diseases.
It has also urged those who feel socially and digitally isolated to take action — either volunteering, like half of the Islands 55-75 population, and taking part in technology workshops to come out of the ‘offline nation’ — approximately one in five people.
Simon Bryant, interim director of public health for the council, said:
“Many people are remaining healthy and independent as they age and most older people report their health is good.
“This report will look at … ways in which we can further prevent disease and keep people as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”