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How Care Vision Can Support Male Care Residents with Their Health?

On average, women live an average of 3.6 years longer than men into older age according to a 2019 report from Age UK (Source: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/later_life_uk_factsheet.pdf). However, the same report also states that men only enjoy an average of 8.9 years of disability-free life after 65, while women enjoy the slightly extended time of 9.9 years. When men and women age, both sexes can experience multiple medical conditions – both physical and mental. However, with statistically fewer older men out there, care homes and medical facilities need to make sure that their specific needs are not overlooked in favour of a female majority.

Men’s Health Week has just taken place in June, shining a spotlight on male health issues and ways to support men of all ages and stages of life. The automated admin, accurate reporting and information sharing features of Care Vision’s software can help care home managers support male residents with their health issues. The system can support other aspects of care home living for men (and women) too. For example, helping to enhance quality of life and ease worries that many older and vulnerable men can face.

Physical health and wellbeing

Rightly or wrongly, men can sometimes be painted as being reluctant to go to the doctor with concerning symptoms. However, once living in care, it is more likely that care staff will spot problems earlier on. Care Vision’s resident records, daily notes and other assessment tools can help keep track of symptoms, medications, side-effects and treatments to keep a closer eye on men’s physical health. Care teams can also record the outcomes of regular wellbeing checks to give a more detailed picture.

Health conditions affecting men include heart disease (the leading cause of death for men over 65 years old), high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer, bladder problems, erectile disfunction, loss of muscle mass and depression. All of these can be tracked by the various health care tools available on Care Vision’s digital care management system.

Loneliness and isolation

Depression is, as already stated, a serious concern for older men. This is often brought about or exacerbated by loneliness or isolation. As more women survive into older age, senior men can feel that they have fewer friends of the same sex and therefore a smaller social network. Many are no longer able to enjoy active hobbies as they age, such as going to sports matches, playing sport themselves, travelling or working in the garden or workshop.

It can be harder to engage men in social activities, such as tea parties, craft groups or book clubs. Women often feel more comfortable sharing social conversation with others. This can be helped by setting up activities geared more towards masculine interests. Watching sport together on TV, for example, or playing a game of skittles or dominos. Even work-related activities, such as shining shoes or doing some light woodwork could draw men into a social group that they would otherwise shy away from. Activities that enable people to sit and reminisce, such as sharing photograph albums or discussing vintage films can also work well for both sexes. People can make contributions themselves or enjoy sitting and listening to others.

Communication

It is a biological fact that women’s brains have larger areas dedicated to speech and language than men do. Women are stronger, in general, at word memory, verbal abilities and social cognition (Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/so-happy-together/201904/male-and-female-brains). So, it is not surprising that after a stroke, men can often be more likely than women to lose speech abilities or suffer with aphasia. It is vital for care homes to have access to speech therapy, multiple communications aids and other ways to help men recover language abilities after a stroke. These can also help men living with dementia in residential care homes. Some ideas for communicating with men who have speech or cognitive problem include speaking slowly and clearly in short, simple sentences. Only one person should talk at a time. Speech can be accompanied by gestures or pictures for greater clarity. Facing the person while talking to them can also help with communication difficulties, as well as hearing loss. Managers can also use Care Vision to track staff training needs around communication skills, sign language and how to help residents who have had a stroke.

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