A survey of family and unpaid carers has highlighted the extent of the worry about elderly relatives and the key practical matters carers need to consider.
The survey, part of a wider initiative called Prepare to Care, was carried out by elderly care experts Age Space, and the top findings include:
- Over 50% admitted they worry about their elderly relative(s) nearly every day
- Nearly 80% spend more than 5 hours a week as a caregiver, with almost half of those spending over 20 hours a week (35%)
- Over 40% worry about what type of care might become necessary
- Over a third of those being cared for do not have a personal alarm in case of falls at home, despite nearly half of the carers revealing they are primarily concerned about falls
- Nearly 40% do not know where their relative(s) will is stored, and over a third of those surveyed report that their relative(s) has not arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney (POA), or they are not sure if there is one in place.
The survey showed that practical matters such as having a spare set of house keys, a list of medication taken, bank account details and the name of the GP are in place for over half the respondents, with the numbers rising as the amount of time caring increases.
But the survey also revealed that some key financial and legal matters – the location of the Will and whether or not Power of Attorney is in place – are not as widely adopted, with less than half of carers knowing either.
With increasing numbers of family members taking care of elderly relatives and the numbers worrying about what care might be needed, Age Space has launched “Prepare to Care” to raise awareness of the practical matters to consider and important conversations to have. It has been designed to guide those starting to care for an elderly relative and for those who find circumstances have changed and more or different care is needed.
Prepare to Care provides practical advice and guidance to help carers deal with their biggest concerns for their relatives which the survey revealed as loneliness, Dementia, falls and types of care that might be necessary.
Age Space founder Annabel James said: “Our survey amongst people already caring for a parent or relative has highlighted some practical matters to deal with. With more people than ever taking on caring responsibilities, we must give them as much support as possible to help make the best decisions on all aspects of elderly care”.
Prepare to Care includes a step-by-step guide:
- Checklist to help tell if elderly relatives need more help at home.
- A guide to having important conversations about care.
- Getting organized – a checklist of seven things to prepare to care.
- Diagnosis and support – why a care assessment is important.
- Preventing falls at home – home adaptations, personal alarms and other practical ways to help people live in their homes.
- The paperwork – Power of Attorney, writing a Will and an Advance Directive
Concludes Annabel: “It can be so difficult, impossible even, to know what to do or where to turn for help caring for an elderly relative, whether you’re just starting after an emergency, or if circumstances have changed and you need to make more decisions. This initiative will help signpost and guide people every step of the way”.
Copies of the Age Space Prepare to Care checklist can be downloaded from the website.
The survey was conducted online between 14th–23rd February 2023 with 729 written responses.