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Charity urges people to talk about getting old

14th July 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A charity supporting older people has said that the golden generation is reluctant to talk about getting older, suggesting that only two in three adults over 65 have had a conversation about their options later in life.

As we enter our senior years it can be reassuring to have a plan in place, whether this is considering a stairlift to help us move around the home independently or arranging the kind of care we want to receive when we need the extra support. Discussing what will happen as we get older in an open and honest way can help to work through any anxieties or queries we may have about this time in our lives.

In a recent study published by Independent Age, We need to talk about caring: dealing with difficult conversations, the charity found that many older people are steering clear of conversation topics about later life.

Tough topics included preferences for end of life care, where older people might live when they could no longer remain at home and who would care for them when they’re getting older.

Over 2,000 adults completed the online study for Independent Age, which included questions about how they talked about getting older and who with.

Despite almost four out of five older respondents believing that having these difficult conversations is important, worryingly, less than a quarter of older people have actually managed to broach the subject with family members.

An estimated seven million people aged 65 and over said that they have never talked about their options. Of this, three million claimed that they planned to, while another three million had not and did not intend to discuss the crucial subjects with family or friends.

The charity’s chief executive Janet Morrison explains the unwillingness of some to open up to others: "For many families, having these conversations will never be easy. For older people, it can mean facing the prospect of losing independence.

"For their relatives, it can mean facing the thought of losing a loved one or feeling overwhelmed by a sense of responsibility.

"But these are issues that only get more pressing with time. It is vital that families start talking about these issues now, so they're not left making important decisions at times of crisis or suddenly struggling to cope with significant caring responsibilities."

The concern is to be expected with complicated conversations about care, housing and health and wellbeing becoming more necessary as the years go by.

The charity has recommended that information about care should be made more accessible to the older generation, and that the NHS as well as local authorities and key providers would play a pivotal role in this distribution.