Health

Elderly care: 'Who will care for me?'

  • 24 April 2014
  • From the section Health
Family
Image caption Families are trying to pull together to care for elderly people

The number of older people in England needing care will "outstrip" the number of family members able to provide it by 2017, a think tank has warned.

An Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report estimates that by 2030 there will be more than two million people aged 65 and over with no child living nearby to give care if needed.

BBC News website readers have been getting in touch with their experiences.

Crispin Holloway, Lewes

Image copyright Crispin Holloway
Image caption Crispin and his mother Denee

Caring for parents is one of the most demanding and stressful things in life. It is exhausting. You compromise your social life, your finances, your career, as well as your own health and well-being.

Yet doing it was, and remains, for me, the most important and valuable thing I could have done.

I didn't realise just how important it was to me until my mother died. I had always been close to her but more so in her last few years than in the 43 years before that.

I got to know her better than I ever had before in her last three years and learnt things about her childhood that I never knew before. However stressful and extremely demanding the care was, I am so very pleased I did it.

I was working Monday to Friday then caring for my mother from 10:00 Saturday to 22:00 Sunday evening every weekend.

Working during the week was my break. I only wish I could have had one in three or four weekends off. My sister had given up her work, to care from Monday to Friday. I could see the stress it caused her and she could see the stress it caused me doing the weekends. We were able to share, understand and support each other better than friends, partners or other siblings could.

I am now fully engaged in the process of caring for my father, employing personal assistants and looking at funding.

Providing the care for my parents is really important to me, although I wish it could be shared out better, to reduce stress and allow one to live a more normal life.

There is a significant lack of funding in adult social care. Who will care for me and my siblings is a big unknown.

I will only have a state pension. I don't have my own house; I have no savings, no hope of a mortgage and no children. Being the youngest of five children I may be caring for my siblings - after having done it for my parents.

Jean Mowbray, Worcester

It's not just about children who live away from their parents. It is about children who are in their 50s still working, having their own children still at home, and having to look after the needs of their elderly parents.

My mother is 85 and has recently been diagnosed with dementia. Social services are involved but I still have to support my mum. I do her cleaning, take her to her hospital appointments and do her shopping and washing. This all has to be fitted in with the needs of my own family.

My mother is in her own home and wants to stay there and the goal is to keep her independent with some outside help.

Even if you are on the doorstep, it is really a struggle. Sometimes I feel like a hamster on a wheel.

Some days mum has no interaction at home. She switches the television off at the mains in the evening and then forgets that she has done this. She then goes all of the next day without the telly.

She also used to have her newspapers delivered but this stopped when the shop changed hands and stopped delivering. The newspapers used to help her with dates. I know these are only small things but they help her.

What I would like to see is more day care centres so that mum can interact with people who have similar conditions. The less stimulation you have, the more your memory goes.

It isn't easy and it is a bit of a struggle because I am still working. We try our best and we can't give up because what else is there?

More of your comments

Families should get greater support. Caring for the young and the elderly can be provided, to a large extent, by the family. My wife and I have cared for and are caring for her mother and my mother in our own home. We also help look after our grandchildren. We are in the process of buying a recently closed down care home, and living in it together as an extended family. There will be four generations living and supporting each other under one shared roof. Martin Keane, Wiveliscombe

I am having a major operation within the next few weeks and my husband is having tests as they think he has cancer. I am really worried that there will be no family (we have no children) and only a small number of friends living nearby. I just don't know what help is available. Julia, UK

Interviews by Helen Dafedjaiye

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