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By Debbie le Quesne

Huge boost in numbers seeking residential care

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Christmas over and the reality of work dawns as we run into New Year . . . I always find this an odd time – sandwiched awkwardly between the celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with so many people having to work but not yet recovered from their festive break, it’s a period that somehow has never really been defined.

Why is Christmas such hard work? And why do we need another holiday to recover from its madness?

Despite the seasonal hype, sadly there’s still plenty of gloom about if you wish to find it, but I’m all for a boost in spirits as the care sector embraces 1014. Goodness knows we need tonic.

The online newsletter put out by the National Care Association heralds January 1 with this heartening news: “Huge rise expected in the number of people looking for care homes after Christmas.”

Care home directory site carehome.co.uk, which helps people search for care homes in the UK, predicts nearly half a million extra people will visit its site in January looking for a care home. Wow – that’s an awful lot of potential new business and scarily, a huge amount of need.

I quote: ”Carehome.co.uk has seen a dramatic increase in traffic in January over the last three years, with an extra 395,868 visitors to the site in January 2013 and an extra 386,734 visitors in January 2012.

“It is often when families get together over the Christmas period that they realise their elderly relatives are no longer coping and need proper care – which could be one explanation for the spike in traffic to the site.”

Director of carehome.co.uk, Davina Ludlow, is reported saying: “Over recent years we have noticed a significant trend during January with a huge rise in the number of people searching for care homes after the Christmas period.

“We feel this increase is a reflection of how family members take positive steps in the New Year to assist their relatives.”

It’s clear that the spike in traffic demonstrates not only that older relatives are spending time with family during the festive period but also the increased need for residential care in the UK.

Being with elderly relatives at over a prolonged Christmastime provides a natural benchmark for measuring gains and losses and of course, the season becomes a time of reflection for those, as they say,  ‘of an age.’

Carehome.co.uk gets over 15m visitors to its site every year and is the leading online directory for care homes.

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