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A guide to taking care of an ageing parent or relative

Ageing parent 

It is often difficult to know where to start when it comes to caring for an ageing parent or relative. Grappling with financial planning, finding the right care and working out what benefits are available to you (to name but a few) can leave you floundering. But it's not something you need to struggle with alone: here, gransnetters (who've been in this position themselves) offer their tips on the best ways to cope and to find the help you need. 


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Ask for a Community Care Assessment

"Contact Social Services and ask for a Community Care Assessment for the Elderly. This will help you to find out what your parent's needs and circumstances are and ensure that their views are very much taken into account." grannyactivist


Consider sheltered housing or respite care

"I would suggest talking to Social Services about a spell in respite care - it has worked well for all of us." GinnyTonic

"It is a decision we have never regretted. The sheltered housing gave my mum a new lease of life as she was relatively active when she first moved in and went on holidays and short breaks knowing her home was safe. Anchor Homes have properties in many places. They also have 'extra care' sheltered housing, which provides more support but isn't a care home." trisher

"It truly doesn't have to be all or nothing. A move to a housing environment with independent living, but a development manager available for most of the day and a built in emergency call system, can increase confidence, independence and social contact. It isn't for everyone and it does depend on both the individual and their personal needs, but it can make it possible for independence to be maintained whether in a familiar area or a new one." cornergran

"Sheltered housing is a really good option if you can find it, but Mum couldn't bear to leave her treasures. My mum did not want to be in a home, but when that was the only option after hospitalisation, she enjoyed the company and the care." adaunas


Respect their wishes

"Find a way, privately or with the help of Social Services, (or a mixture of both) - to provide a support structure, which allows your parent the independence they want without having to go into a care home...Beware of taking an elderly person away from familiar surroundings and neighbours. I've known it to be a total disaster in a few cases when friends did that with their own parents." granjura

"I'm afraid [my siblings] haven't yet got used to the fact that I, who used to live 40 miles away and no longer do, am not able to pick up the pieces as I used to do...The elderly have a right to make their own decisions, but we had to make it clear that, to some extent, they would have to put up with the consequences." Wilks


Put 'safety nets' in place in their home

"The council came and put grab rails in and provided a frame for the toilet (Mum hated that, but my dad needed it in the end). We were able to arrange for meals to be brought in each lunchtime, we bought a rise and fall bath seat and also had an alarm system installed which rang us and the company if they pressed a button. Some of it we had to pay for, but we also had a visit from a support worker who advised what benefits we were entitled to." Willow500


Work together

"If you have siblings, try to split things evenly between you from the start, both in terms of practical help and financial intervention. I've seen too many family relationships break down over things like this, so it's better for everyone to be up front." leila


Contemplate a carer

"For my mother, we started off with a carer who dropped in early morning and early evening to do bits and pieces. As she became less able, we got a live in carer. It worked well for all of us, but it was not a cheap option." glenda

"Talk to neighbours who may have local experience and know good and trustworthy people who offer private care." granjura

"I was lucky and had spare room downstairs. My mother lived with me for her last two years - dying two months after her 100th birthday. She had care morning and evening and on days that I was out midday. She paid us the bedroom rate for no tax. We went on holiday together. It was a very good last two years." EmilyHarburn


Set up a care package

"The care package has been a godsend. The carers breeze in, chat while they care for him and send me out to the shop, or for a breath of air. They will continue when and if we move." aggie

"Everyone is different, but it's worth looking at help for [a parent or relative] that can work around what [they are] still able to do. This keeps intervention to a minimum while giving you both peace of mind." hollyandjack


Think about a care home for two

"I know couples who have moved there purely due to one not being well. The other half loved the place also." Cath9


Realise that you can't do everything

"I have to arrange a helper for my sister every day, physio in the home and have to make sure all the home aids are available. I also do the shopping. For everything else she says, "my sister will do it." Unfortunately, she forgets that her sister is getting older." millymouge

"From my own experience it's better to plan ahead and think about things now rather than when things deteriorate and it's harder for both of you. I found it hard to talk about with my mother, I was wary of upsetting her and it was hard for her to accept she had suddenly aged to the point of needing care. But the harsh reality was that for both of our benefits we needed to address it." 99gyf99


Join our community for advice and support from those who share your experiences. For more information on how to care for an ageing parent or relative and what help is available to you visit the Age UK, Carers UK and Saga websites. 











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