Module 3 - Long Term Care
Danica Železnik, Mihela Kanop
National definitions on long-term care vary within the European Union. These variations reflect differences over the length of stay, range of benefits and the often blurred dividing line between medical (healthcare) and non-medical (social) services. Some countries, for instance, prefer to concentrate on out-patient rehabilitation treatment earlier than others, which focus more on providing care in hospitals or similar establishments (European Commission 2008).
While informal carers are most frequently daughters, sons or spouses, informal carers can include siblings, neices, nephews, cousins, grandchildren or friends and neighbours. In some cases, older people themselves may be providing care to their ageing parents. Indeed, informal carers provide the bulk of care to older people in need of care and assistance (depending on the country between 70 to 90% of care needs are covered by informal carers). As such, informal carers, many of whom are family members and women aged 55 and over, provide a vast amount of the care work.
Many older people may be taking medicines for different conditions and so there can also be concerns around the interactions of such polymedication, which can have various side effects, particularly increasing fall risk, but also resulting in decreased libido (Hill and Wee).
The need for intimacy is ageless. Studies confirm that no matter a person’s gender or age, they can enjoy sex for as long as they wish. Naturally, sex at 70 or 80 may not be like it is at 20 or 30—but in some ways it can be better. As an older adult, people may feel wiser than they were in their earlier years, and know what works best for them when it comes to their sex life. Older people often have a great deal more self-confidence and self-awareness, and feel released from the unrealistic ideals of youth and prejudices of others. Moreover, with children grown and work less demanding, couples can be better able to relax and enjoy one another more without the same life distractions.
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