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Caring for Elderly Relatives in Britain

  • Published: 2011-08-16 : Helping Hands.
  • Synopsis: Three quarters of Brits would rather take on the burden of caring for elderly relatives then put them into a home.

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Three quarters of Brits would rather take on the burden of caring for elderly relatives then put them into a home - because they don't trust care homes.

New research has revealed that Brits don't like the idea of their relatives being in a care home because they would worry that the staff wouldn't look after them properly and that their relative would be distressed.

A quarter said their relative had already indicated that they were scared of being forced to live in a care home.

The survey of 2,000 Brits with elderly relatives, said that stories in newspapers and documentaries on television had given them a negative perception of care homes and many said they had heard horror stories from friends that had put them off.

Eight out of ten said they would rather their own quality of life was affected and their relative stayed with them or they cared for them in their own home than have to put them into care.

The research was commissioned by Helping Hands, a family-run live-in care provider.

Lindsey Edgehill, Care Services Manager for Helping Hands said: "Everyone wants what's best for their relatives and with so much negative publicity around the care sector, particularly care homes, so many people are struggling to find the right support they feel happy with when it comes to the care of their aging relatives. This often leads to people taking on a caring role, rather than enjoying their later retirement years, but the reality is that shouldering the burden yourself is not always the best option either for you or your loved ones.

"The right care home can be the best care option for some, but all of the negative publicity surrounding them is scaring a lot of people faced with difficult decisions about their relatives' care. The other concerning thing is that over 65 per cent of those questioned were unaware of alternative care options, such as live-in care, which can provide care for those who want their relatives to be able to stay in their own homes."

The average Brit already takes 12 and a half hours out of their week to help out older family members get to hospital appointments, keep their houses clean, help with their finances and cook for them. But there are thousands of Brits taking on substantially more.

Women in particular were distressed by the idea of their relatives being in a care home despite the fact that they spent more hours helping elderly family members than their partners.

Two thirds think that their relative would feel let down if they tried to get them to live in a care home and one in three said that they would hate to be surrounded by unfamiliar things and people.

Half of parents said they would feel uneasy letting their child go to a care home to visit relatives because they felt it would be distressing for them to see sick and old people, and eighty per cent said they have struggled themselves watching relatives get older.

A third of Brits regularly help older relatives with their shopping and one in five manages their finances.

Most help them with household chores, household cleaning and cooking on a regular basis. Half of Brits have admitted that having a relative depend on them is quite stressful and many reported that it had affected their own social life and plans.

One in five Brits has even struggled to go on holiday because they are scared to leave their relative for too long.

Lindsey Edgehill, Care Services Manager for Helping Hands said: "The right care choice for our relatives is critical for quality of life, both our own and our loved ones. Taking on that caring role, including elements such as sacrificing holidays and the constant stress without any breaks, can be so damaging to both relationships with those that require the care and between family members. Many of our clients at Helping Hands were desperate to remove this care burden from the rest of the family. The right choice for everyone can have such a positive impact all round."

One in five said they already considered themselves as caring for a relative and a quarter of Brits said they were worried that they wouldn't be able to visit their relative as much as they wanted if they were to go in to a home.

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