UK survey reveals families feel burdened by older relatives

British families admit they feel burdened by older relatives including at Christmas, research conducted by Friends of the Elderly (FotE), has revealed. Despite 87 percent of people feeling it is the responsibility of family to look after older relatives, worries about the financial burden (19 percent), being too busy (45 percent) and living too far away (36 percent) mean that families can’t take the strain.

In fact, almost half of those surveyed (47 percent) are dreading the day their grandparents or parents need to be cared for.

A reluctance to spend time with older relatives was shown to be particularly poignant at Christmas, with 23 percent of people saying they have older relatives who are likely to spend Christmas alone.

However, only 32 percent of people plan to invite them over for Christmas, with the greatest reason for not inviting older relatives due to concerns about frailty (18 percent).

A problem not confined to Christmas, the survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by FotE, found that while 31 percent would be happy to check in on ageing family members and visit regularly, they wouldn’t want them to move in with them.

Richard Furze, chief executive of FotE, said: ‘‘We can all make a special effort at Christmas and it will make such a difference, not just with our relatives but with older people in our communities.”

Other survey findings:

• Although people are concerned about making a big commitment, 64 percent of people are willing to open their doors to take a first step.

• Forty-seven percent of people feel local communities should take more responsibility for looking after older people.

• Almost half of those polled believe people in the UK should have a legal responsibility for looking after their parents in older age, as they are in France, while 27 percent of people think it is down to the Government to take care of the elderly.

• The survey also revealed the issues around visiting older relatives, with almost two-thirds admitting they struggle to visit them at all, and one in five seeing them only a couple of times a year at most. Sadly, more than a quarter say an older relative has asked them to visit more often because they are lonely.

Furze added: “If you live far away or can’t afford to travel to see an older relative regularly, a phone call can really make the difference for those who live on their own and can’t get out as much as they would like.”


(** PHOTO CREDITS: Friends of the Elderly)




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