In this week’s Careline news round up we discuss the risk of Salmonella, 30 years on from the UK crisis, and the Food Standards Agency’s new announcement. Also, loneliness in the elderly hit the headlines, and the story of the Minister who says elderly should sell their homes to pay for care costs.
UK Eggs Declared Safe For Elderly & Pregnant To Consume after Salmonella Scare
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have announced this week that the elderly, pregnant and babies can now safely consume runny and raw British eggs, which in the previous 30 years was a danger to health due to the risk of Salmonella poisoning.
“The FSA has thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence about the safety of eggs, and we’re confident that we can now change our advice to consumers.” – FSA Chair Heather Hancock
The announcement comes 30 years after the UK Salmonella Crisis which hit in the 1980’s. It was on the 3rd December 1988 that Edwina Curry hit the headlines saying that most British eggs were contaminated with the bacteria. Mrs Currie, who at the time was the MP for South Derbyshire, made this shocking announcement during an ITN television interview, which subsequently sparked outrage among the public and Farmers.
Her precise words were: “Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with salmonella”
As a result of the comments, sales of eggs plummeted a massive 60% overnight. The loss of revenue forced farmers to slaughter up to four million hens and destroy 400 million unwanted eggs.
Salmonella bacteria is almost always killed in cooking. But the bacteria can live in runny eggs and almost certainly in raw eggs. As a result of this it was advised that pregnant, elderly and infants stay clear of consuming under-cooked and raw eggs as they might not be able to fight the bacteria off if they consumed an infected egg.
Salmonella poising can cause fever, stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Most infected people recover in around a week but it can be deadly, particularly if it reaches the bones or blood. For such vulnerable groups like mentioned above the Health Protection Agency expressed that salmonella can be “extremely unpleasant”.
In an interview back in 2013 with Edwina, she expressed that she had “no regrets” of the comments she made. You can read the full interview here: The Independent
Since 1988 it has now been officially announced British eggs with the Lion stamp are free of Salmonella, unlike back in the 1980’s when a small percentage still carried the bacteria, which fuelled Curries comments.
You can read more about the recent announcement on the Food Standard Agencies website.
Loneliness In The Elderly
In other news this week, the subject of Loneliness in the elderly has hit the headlines. The Chief of GPs’, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard has said that loneliness is as almost as bad as a long-term illness.
It has been reported that a huge percentage of GP appointments made by elderly patients are making appointments simply for the social interaction, and subsequently putting a huge strain on the NHS. Despite being overworked because of the growing demands on their schedules The Chief has stated that GPs’ should be urged to make time for lonely elderly patients during appointments so that these patients lower health risks linked with loneliness.
The Royal College of General Practitioners reports that an estimated 1.1 million Britons who are lonely are 50% more likely to die prematurely than people with a good social network, making loneliness as big a mortality risk as diabetes.
Loneliness not only is being described as almost as bad as a long-term illness – but did you know it can also lead to the likes of stress related issues, and also depression. Depression is a serious illness and it affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over. Loneliness isn’t the only trigger of depression but many other things can also cause someone to develop this mental health issue. This includes bereavement, relationships (which can link closely to feeling lonely), finance and also physical health.
Suggested article: Depression in Old Age
You can read more on depression and loneliness in our blog article listed above. To read the full news article in the headlines this week regarding loneliness in the elderly head here.
Care Home Costs
The final main story coming to light this week was regarding care home costs. Reported in The Sun, Jackie Doyle-Price said ‘taxpayers should not “prop up people to keep their property” when it could be sold to look after them.’
The article covered the issue of the Dementia Tax, and Social Care Minister Jackie Doyle expressing her opinion that the elderly should sell their homes to pay for care costs rather than handing it down to their children. She said if this were to happen the tax payers wouldn’t need to cough up the expenses of funding care homes.
“People who are now well into their pension ages are sitting in houses too big for their needs and we need to have conversations about what’s appropriate earlier.”
The Dementia Tax and comments such as Doyle’s have sparked outrage among many pensioners and also family members, suggesting that it’s unfair to take away homes to fund for care in later years. The comments have fueled speculation that the government might persuade elderly homeowner to sell their properties in the future to pay for their care costs if needed.
Reducing the Strain
Careline plays a huge part in reducing the strain on care costs and taxpayers money through our Personal Alarm Service.
One in three people aged over 65 fall every year and require medical care and attention. With a personal alarm from Careline, anyone who’s elderly, frail or lives with a disability can get one of our alarms.
These act as an emergency call-out if ever you’re in a situation on your own where you need help. Rather than our pendant alarms relying on the emergency services, the first point of call is friends and family. This system not only saves lives by stopping people lying helplessly for ages, but it also takes the strain of the emergency services as help is sought quickly through friends and family first before any further action is taken.
Of course in more serious situations our monitoring team, who respond to alarm calls, will get in touch with the emergency services.