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Emotional needs as important as physical and medical

9th February 2006

Emotional considerations as well as medical and physical need to be taken into account when deciding on how best to support older members of the community.

Help the Aged has urged those working for social and care services to be more aware of the feelings and wishes of elderly people under their supervision.

It is important to remember that many are still mentally and emotionally sharp and will have their own views and opinions on what the future holds for them.

Referring to the recent case whereby an elderly husband and wife were not allowed to live in the same care home, although this decision was later reversed, the charity has called on staff to look at the individual needs of people.

"Older people are overlooked. We tend to forget that the human side; the emotional needs, the psychological needs of older people are just as important as the physical," Annie Stevenson, a spokesperson for the charity, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

Ms Stevenson acknowledged that it can be difficult for social workers to meet the needs of everyone they assess and that the official system is partly to blame.