Surge in numbers of elderly put in care homes after Christmas

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Elderly people are far more likely to be put into a care home after Christmas, research finds.

Care Home Funding Advocates reports on the Telegraphs news story today that elderly people are far more likely to be put into a care home after spending times with their families over Christmas, research has found.

Data held by an online directory of care homes shows a 40 per cent increase in the number of people searching for residential care for the elderly every January.

Experts said the findings suggest that the extra contact with older relatives over the festive season meant families were more likely to realise how infirm they were, or to become overwhelmed by the burden of caring for them.

The figures from carehome.co.uk, an online directory of care homes, shows that for the last three years the number of visitors to their site has surged after in the new year, by at least 40 percent, with almost 400,000 extra visitors to its website this January, compared with the month before.

Martin Green of the English Community Care Association, which represents care homes in England said: “This phenomenon often results from the fact that people have been in contact with their relatives over the Christmas period and then they realise that they’re not able to manage because of illness or confusion.


“This is quite difficult to pick up on if you only see the person occasionally, but over the period of Christmas, when people might be together over a week or more, it becomes apparent that their level of functioning is significantly reduced and people realise that their family member might need a care home in order to stay safe.”

Neil Duncan Jordan, from the National Pensioners Convention, said: “I think its probably quite a complex picture – the other thing going on in January is the weather getting worse, so fraility becomes more of a problem. I don’t think it’s a question of everyone sitting around for Christmas and getting fed up with granny, and deciding to shove her in a home – I think it is very likely that it reflect a crisis in social care, because there is so little help available to keep people in their own homes.”

Davina Ludlow, director of carehome.co.uk, said their figures showed a consistent trend for the last 3 years, with a spike of between 40 and 50 per cent in users visiting the site in January.

She said: “We feel this increase is a reflection of how family members take positive steps in the New Year to assist their relatives.”

“Residential care can often feel like a daunting step – but it can save someone from not only the day-to-day tasks which have become difficult, but also from feelings of loneliness and isolation.”


Last week health officials made an unprecedented appeal for 100,000 people to pledge to look in regularly on an elderly friend or neighbour, in a campaign which is supported by the Telegraph.

Now the Royal Voluntary Service is urging those who want to do more for older people in their community, but do not know a pensioner in need of help, to sign up for volunteering opportunities after making a pledge.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Many older people suffer chronic loneliness which is only exacerbated in the winter months, so even a simple cup of a tea and a chat, or a lift to the shops, can make all the difference and ensure older people have everything they need to stay warm and well. We all need to come together to prevent the tragic deaths of so many older people in winter and even a small amount of time a week really can help.”

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