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Are we doing enough to care for the elderly generation?


With Britain having an ageing population it isn’t surprising that two thirds of people admit that they could do more to look after elderly relatives.

Latest stats indicate that more than 80% of children worry about elderly parents reaching a stage where they are no longer self sufficient and turn to their children for additional support.

When considering that the Office for National Statistics figures show that full-time workers work on average 39.1 hours per week it isn’t surprising that being too busy is the most popular excuse for not visiting elderly relatives.

But there is a real need to make sure that we are looking after the older generation and it seems that we do recognise that our elderly relatives may need help from us regarding their personal affairs. For example, almost one in four adult children are concerned that their parents may be exploited by rogue tradesmen or unreliable financial advisors as children are often not on hand to provide the support that elderly parents often need. But is there more we can and should do?

Lyn Duncan, CEO of CloudBuy would say so. Her view is that “ the older generation should not pay the price” for our increasingly busy work and personal lives. Lyn does acknowledge that it isn’t always easy for us to visit our elderly relatives, even if we want to. Lyn said “There are a large number of people who genuinely struggle to find the time, or live too far away from their parents or grandparents to visit regularly”.

Perhaps the most upsetting stat is that 40% of those who do make the effort to visit elderly relatives plan an excuse to leave soon after arriving despite 30% having been faced with comments from a relative about being lonely or wishing that they made time to visit more often. This statistic doesn’t do much to reassure us of the kindness of human nature! This statistic doesn’t do much to reassure us of the kindness of human nature!

That said, there are people out there who are doing a great job and are committed to caring for their elderly relatives and are working hard to fit this in with their employment and other commitments. This can be a lonely and difficult existence as they try to balance everything and don’t get the recognition they deserve for their efforts. Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK recently commented on this saying “Combining work and caring can leave carers feeling like they are struggling alone, unable to access support at work or at home, because of an ongoing lack of workplace recognition of and support with caring responsibilities for older loved ones.”

Whilst caring for elderly relatives is probably something the majority of people would rather not have to do, it is important to remember that at some point in the future we will inevitably need support from younger relatives. Perhaps next time we are thinking of whether we should visit an elderly relative/help with their care, or do something else instead like socialising with our friends or other younger family members, we should consider how we would feel if we were that elderly relative with little to occupy us through the days. The motto of treating others the way that we would wish to be treated applies here as it does to all other aspects of life.

The Private Client team at Clarion specialises in elderly client matters and are members of Solicitors for the Elderly. If you require assistance please contact Sarah Berry on 0113 336 3400 or via email at sarah.berry@clarionsolicitors.com

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.