Evaluate the impact of sociological factors such as socio-economic status, gender and/or ethnicity on health, wellbeing and clients’ occupational needs. Introduction
In 1841 life expectancy at birth in the UK was 41 years for men and 43 years for women (Higgs 2008). By sharp contrast, in 2005 life expectancy at birth was 77 years for men and 81 years for women (Office of National Statistics 2007). By 2014 it is estimated that the number of people aged 65 and over will for the first time exceed those aged under 16 (Higgs 2008). Clearly, the health, wellbeing and occupational needs of the elderly are poised to take on a greater prominence in coming years! Occupational science is a paradigm that can help all health professionals to understand and respond to the health needs of the elderly as it contributes to an evidence base that substantiates that engaging in occupation influences health and wellbeing ( Law et al 1998, Rebeiro, Cook 1999 as cited in Black, Living 2004). The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (CMOP) (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists 1997 as cited by Tipping 2002) places the individual in a social-environment context and defines occupations as meaningful and purposeful activities in the occupational performance areas of self care, productivity and leisure (Tipping 2002). Occupational deprivation refers to situations in which peoples’ needs for health promoting occupations are unmet or institutionally denied. Although the older segment of the population is often regarded as a vulnerable group in its own right, it is important to recognise that this group is not homogenous. Hence some elderly clients may be more exposed to ill health due to the added contribution of sociological factors such as gender, socio-economic status and ethnicity added to the usual barriers presented by old age (Wait, Harding 2006). Hence the needs of our growing elderly population have great implications for health planning and resource utilisation...
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