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Why won’t we talk to our parents about elderly care? 

A new survey exploring attitudes towards the elderly has uncovered that most people are unwilling to talk to their elderly relatives about their future care plans, despite the UK having an ageing population, most with unmet care needs 

A new survey commissioned by Taking Care Personal Alarms has uncovered that just two in five people have had the conversation with their elderly parent or relative about how they will be cared for when they get older and more frail. 

The results are at odds with the current elderly care crisis, with councils facing increased pressure to enhance government-backed care provision to support the UK’s ageing population.  

have the talk posters

The survey data, which was commissioned as part of Taking Care’s #HaveTheTalk campaign, which encourages people to speak with relatives sooner about their future care and support wishes, reveals peoples’ reluctance to engage in these tricky discussions with their relatives early enough. 

58 per cent of respondents admitted they haven’t talked to their parents about plans for when they get older, with one in three citing that they simply don’t want to think about their parents getting older.  

Elderly care plans are a crucial step in planning for the future, and with experts now estimating a typical stay in a care home could cost as much as £40,000 a year due to rising costs, having conversations about care options sooner will ensure people are best prepared to make informed decisions and plan ahead.  

Commenting on the findings, Lauren Frake, an elderly care expert from TakingCare Personal Alarms, said: “We want to get Britain talking more openly about the future – however uncomfortable that might be.  

“Unfortunately, we often find that elderly care is put in place reactively, likely in response to an older person experiencing an accident – often a fall at home – that triggers the need to find a quick solution.  

“However, preventative measures that are put into place before an accident happens are so much more effective and can head off potential issues before they happen.

This also means that the older person has more of an input into the type of support they might want, making them far more likely to actually make use of the solution.”  

The fear of talking about elderly care is an issue impacting thousands of households across the country, two in three people being unwilling to enter into the conversation with their parents.  

One in four admit they avoid the conversation in case they upset or offend their parents and less than one in five people haven’t even broached the topic of elderly care plans, despite being happy to discuss more sensitive subjects sych as end of life wishes and funeral plans.  

TakingCare has also worked with psychologist, Dr Soha Daru, about why people find it so difficult to talk about ageing and elderly care.  

Dr Soha says: “The topic of elderly care can bring up all sorts of fears and anxieties for both adult children and their relatives.

This could range from a fear of offending and upsetting the relative, to a general denial around the fact that they are getting older and might need additional care. 

“These fears and anxieties are perfectly normal and understandable. Seeing those who were in a position of authority or formerly cared for us and are now in need of that care can be difficult to see and deal with.” 

The issue also extends to people considering their own future care needs, with 40 per cent of survey respondents saying they haven’t considered their own elderly care, and one in four admitting they are scared of the prospect of needing care one day, with insights showing that a massive 80 per cent of people haven’t planned for their elderly care. 

Lauren added: “We need to work harder to undo the perception that elderly is a taboo. It’s no different to funeral planning, Wills and inheritance discussions or end-of-life wishes.

We want to encourage UK households to have The Talk as soon as possible and as often as possible as we know it is a simple way of alleviating some of the stress associated with people getting older.

Sooner or later, we’ll all need that extra helping hand, so let’s get ahead of that, together.” 

To find out more about TakingCare’s #HaveTheTalk campaign, please visit:  


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