Many pensioners 'conceal' illnesses

08 November 2013 09:49

Sixteen per cent of Britain's 10 million pensioners have hidden an ailment from their loves ones

Sixteen per cent of Britain's 10 million pensioners have hidden an ailment from their loves ones

No fewer than one in six of the UK's over-65s is concealing a serious injury, illness or accident from friends or family, research has suggested.

Some 16% of Britain's 10 million pensioners have hidden an ailment from loved ones because they fear losing their independence or believe they will be seen as a burden, according to a survey.

Of these, 12% said they thought they would be judged as incapable of looking after themselves.

Half said they wanted to avoid friends or relatives over-reacting, while two-thirds did not want to worry them and one in 10 said they were scared about being admitted to hospital.

The research, which highlights the importance of ensuring forms for seniors travel insurance have been filled out correctly, found that more than one in five over-65s fear they will be seen as a burden as they grow older.

This Morning television presenter Ruth Langsford, who is backing a campaign to stop older people suffering in silence, said she faced "some serious barriers" when talking to her parents about their wellbeing.

"My mum is a fiercely independent 83-year-old but she lives alone now," she said.

"We constantly worry that she is covering up problems and concerns so that we don't see her as a burden."

The online poll of 2,000 UK adults aged 65 to 93 was commissioned by Centra Pulse, which provides personal telecare alarms.

Wendy Darling of Centra Pulse said more should be done to support older people at risk of covering up potentially serious problems.

Too many families will only start talking about care after some sort of crisis has already happened, she added. Taking out pre-existing medical travel insurance can guard against such a crisis happening overseas.

Age UK spokeswoman Caroline Abrahams described the figures as "worrying".

But she said they came as no surprise considering the "constant conversation" about the impact of our ageing population on NHS costs and the rest of society.

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