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Eating Disorders: Some 65+ Can't Get Access to Some Clinics



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Media caption "At my age, who is receiving an eating disorder? It's a teenage disease. "

Over 65s with eating disorders have been prevented from accessing some specialist clinics, despite NHS England being open to all ages, the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire program has opened. For some, such support is seen as essential to keep them alive.

"I have a little grandchild and last week was his birthday," says 64-year-old Jillian Hayes. "He wanted to give everyone one piece of cake ̵

1; and I just couldn't get it."

Jillian has been living with anorexia since the 1960s, when her ballet teacher at drama school told her and other students that they were "all

'Still ringing in my ears,'" she says.

She now lives predominantly on a diet with drink additives and says her four children keep her alive.

Jillian believes that anorexia is still considered a "teenage disease". However, her experience with the condition has worsened in later years, she says, having been split three times since she was 40.

If her weight drops, she will be taken back to the hospital. But she says that's not the answer.

Image caption

Jillian believes that her anorexia began while in drama school

Of the 49 Adult Eating Disorders clinics in England and Wales examined under the Victoria Derbyshire program, three are interrupted at age 65, with older patients referred to common geriatric units for mental health – which some experts say they are not able

This is despite the fact that NHS England says the program does not have an upper age limit for eating disorders.

Two other clinics have changed their website – after contacting BBC News – to remove the reference to the age limit of 65, while two said they have a limit of 80.

And some NHS trusts do not provide any form of specialized eating disorder services for adults over 18 years.

NHS England said in a statement: "The NHS long-term plan means almost £ 1 billion extra each year by 2023-24 to expand and improve mental health care in the community so that the elderly, including those who living with eating disorders get early access to care as close to home as pos

The Welsh Government says in a statement: "Welfare Disorders Services in Wales are considering recommendations for adults of all ages. We are making improvements to services , after knowing The Health Minister has identified a number of actions that need to be taken in the short term and we will continue to work with health councils, clinicians and patients as this work progresses. "

MPs from inter-party public administration and constitutional issues The Committee stated that earlier this year, life was lost and destroyed by the failure of the NHS in England to provide care for people with eating disorders.

Charity Research Beat showed that some specialist services have a waiting time of more than five months. [19659004] It is estimated that around 1.25 million people in the United Kingdom have an eating disorder, although the problem among older patients is so hidden that there is currently limited data for this particular age group.

Meanwhile, a Gransnet survey of 1,000 women suggested that 77% of responding women said they were not happy with their weight.

Caption of images

Sylvia, 62, was diagnosed with anorexia five years ago

Sylvia, 62, was diagnosed with anorexia five years ago.

She first experienced this condition in her 30s when she was pregnant and watched her body grow larger.

But she really got along when her grown son left home – and she got sick so well that she had to leave her job as a social worker.

She sometimes thought of killing herself, she says, describing her inner torment as "hell."

Sylvia was admitted to a specialized anorexia clinic where she was fed through the nasal tube.

But she was discharged two months later and says the clinic has been holding patients longer if they were just under 50 years old.

Symptoms overlooked

The Royal College of Psychiatrists calls for care to be standardized for over 65 years in the country.

This was told by BBC News Elderly People with Eating Disorders "face serious problems about underdiagnosis and overlooked symptoms" due to a combination of lack of awareness, unconscious biases, stigma and mental health attitudes .

Eating disorders in the elderly are often more difficult to spot, it is added, with symptoms often considered part of a physical health problem only "without mental health concerns".

Agnes Ayton, who chairs the Faculty of Eating Disorders, said the answer was to ensure "improved training for physicians and health professionals."

Both specialist nutrition clinics and elderly services have insufficient resources, she said.

And there was "a lack of skill in older adult services that tended to focus on other psychiatric disorders such as depression, dementia or schizophrenia rather than eating disorders."

Caption images

Gillian she says it's her four children – now grown – who keep her alive

For Jillian and Sylvia, the lack of standardized care means that they are left to worry about treatment that they will be able to access in the future.

"What happens to me if I refuse?" Jillian asks.

Sylvia asks herself the same question – and fears the answer.

"If I really did get sick again, I think I probably would have died. That's the long and the short of it, "she says.

For information and support for eating disorders, visit the BBC Action Line .

Follow the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire program on Facebook and Twitter [19659046] – and see more of our stories here .


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