With the current life expectancy averaging 80 years, we’re now living around 8 years longer than our 1970s counterparts, according to the NHS. With a much greater older population, we’re starting to see changes in the care of the elderly, most notably the growing concept of informal home care.
Today, there are around 3 million children across the country providing informal care to parents within their home.
Social contact boosts wellbeing
Providing care for a parent in their own home can have a massive effect not only on their ability to perform everyday tasks, but also on their wellbeing. The Royal Voluntary Service reports that 75 percent of pensioners who live alone feel lonely at times, and 17 percent would like to see their children more often than they do.
Unfortunately, geographical distance can sometimes make visiting difficult, but for those that live closer, it’s well worth making the effort. Social contact in the elderly has been shown to benefit both physical and mental health, reducing the risk of disease, poor health, and even depression.
When caring for a parent at home, one of the biggest mistakes many children make is to take over every aspect of day-to-day living. They do the weekly grocery shop, they run errands, they cook, they clean – they do anything and everything.
While children may feel that this is the best course of action, and the most important way they can help their parents, this can actually be quite detrimental. Of course, if parents are immobile, or suffer from health conditions which make it physically, or emotionally, draining to complete these tasks, then helping out is essential. If, however, parents are able to complete some day-to-day tasks themselves, then they should.
One way to encourage the retention of independence in the home is to make it easier for the elderly to live as normal a life as possible. If a parent has issues with mobility, installing mobility aids in the home, such as grab rails or a stair lift for the elderly, can remove the need for them to rely upon others to get around. It’s also worth considering moving kitchen items into cupboards at chest level, to avoid parents having to reach up high or bend down low to retrieve cookware, and also adding an emergency response cord which can give the elderly the confidence they need to continue leading a ‘normal’ life.
You are not alone
Caring for a parent in the their home, or even in your home, can be a rewarding yet challenging and sometimes frustrating experience, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
Due to the rising life expectancy, there has been a rapid increase in demand for informal home care in the UK, with more and more pensioners preferring to spend their retirement years in the comfort of their own home, or in the familiarity of a family members home, rather than in the unknown environment of a care home.
It’s only natural
By 2050, the Congressional Budget Office in the United States estimated that one fifth of the population will be officially classed as ‘elderly’ (over 65), and with further medical advancements, we can expect the older generation to be much livelier and healthier than ever before.
The next generation of pensioners aren’t going to be incapacitated to the point where formal care is required, so it’s expected that the demand for home care will continue to rise. Already, we’re seeing more and more mobility aids being introduced to make home care much less stressful for children, and we’re also seeing more and more respite agencies popping up to provide backup support. You are not alone!
Acorn Stairlifts are a leading supplier of stair lift technology, supplying both the domestic and commercial sectors with high quality mobility aids to improve quality of life.