Resources and Advice

Helping you and your loved ones live well in later life

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As we get older, we all need a little support to maintain our independence and wellbeing.

It is a natural consequence of ageing, however broaching the subject of care is difficult.

Almost one in two of us say we are “afraid” to talk to elderly relatives about their care needs, and one in four admit to avoiding the conversation in case they upset or offend their loved ones.

By being aware of the different types of elderly care and having the conversation about what support is available earlier, we can help our loved ones to remain healthy and independent for longer, so they can continue doing the things they love.

Our parents discussed difficult subjects with us when we were growing up. Now it's time for us to #HaveTheTalk with them. That's why we offer personalised advice to help you have an open and honest discussion before it is too late.

Download our free guide

1.6m

aged 65+ have unmet needs for care

1-in-3

say they “didn’t want to think” about an elderly relative getting older

10%

of us know what care support we would wan

Personalised advice to help you #HaveTheTalk

Even if your parent is fiercely independent and is usually resistant to help, there are ways of broaching the topic to get your loved ones onboard.

Answer the 6 questions below to receive personalised advice and a guide to discussing care with your loved ones, including advice from Dr Soha Daru, a psychologist with experience of cognitive behaviour and compassion focused therapy.

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You'll receive an email with personalised advice and a free guide about having the talk with your parents. Insight from Soha Daru includes:

  • Why it is normal for people to feel anxious or uncomfortable about having these types of conversations.
  • How to put yourself in their shoes and understand their fears and concerns.
  • How to reach an understanding about the best solution.
  • Communication tips for persuading elderly parents to accept help.

The risks of delaying support

Elderly care guide on table

Firstly, acknowledging the uncomfortable nature of these conversations without judgement is an important first step.

The topic of elderly care can bring up all sorts of fears and anxieties for both adult children and their relatives.

Dr Soha Daru, counselling psychologist

Delaying support can risk health and wellbeing

Studies show falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into long-term care. If we wait to discuss care options until our loved ones' have a fall or their health deteriorates, they may need a higher level of care. This has a greater impact on their independence and is often more expensive.

A vicious circle of decline

  • As we get older, we can become less active as we fear injury or falling.
  • Our fragility increases because we are less active. Up to 50% of those that fear falling, reduce their social activities too.
  • As a result, our independence decreases further, affecting our wellbeing and ability to do day-to-day tasks, such as maintaining the home, driving and shopping.
  • The risk of falls and serious injury increases over time. In fact, 1-in-3 people over 65 will fall and injuries from falls are the number one reason older adults are taken to A&E.
  • It is more difficult to recover full mobility after a serious injury as you get older and unfortunately some falls are fatal.

However, fragility doesn't have to be an inevitable part of ageing with the forethought and planning.

Prevention is better than cure

Early support can improve health and wellbeing

The vicious circle of fragility can be broken by addressing the causes early and openly discussing ways to support your older loved ones.

The level of support your loved ones may need as they get older will change over time. There may some things you can do now to help them before they need a higher level of care.

Prevention is better than cure

Be aware if your loved ones are starting to find some day-to-day tasks more difficult or are becoming less steady on their feet:

  • #HaveTheTalk about how you can help and encourage them to stay active to reduce fragility.
  • Offer practical help, starting with small gestures and offers of support.
  • Reduce trip hazards and falls risks around the home.
  • If further support is needed later, discreet home sensors and emergency alarms can support them to feel confident and independent for longer.
  • This can help to delay or reduce the need for higher levels of care by keeping them safe and providing a way to get help in an emergency.

Support for carers

My parents are fully mobile and although they take some medications, as many people do in later life, they are both relatively well and fiercely independent.

Despite my parents relatively good health, and having one another, they are still potentially vulnerable.

Jacqueline Hooton, who cares for her Mum and Dad

How Jacqueline's took steps to support her parents' independence

When Jacqueline's Mum had a fall at home, she knew she had to do something to ensure her parents safety and health. Find out more about Jacqueline's experience of supporting her parents' independence.

We're getting people talking about care

We asked families to share their perceptions of ageing, the fear of losing independence and how they raise the topic of care with their loved ones.

Meet Ella, Tracey and Linda

Watch Ella, Tracey and Linda discuss ageing and how that influences their family relationships across three generations. Linda shares her concerns with daughter Tracey and granddaughter Ella and insights from her relationship with her mother in this touching and personal video.

Watch the full video here.

Tracey and Emma talk about their carer responsibilities

Tracey talks with daughter Emma about the difficulties of providing care for her father as he gets older. She shares the pressures of juggling work commitments with family concerns and how her father is reluctant to accept help.

Watch the full video here.

Articles and guides to support carers

We know how important it is for your loved ones to have the care and support they need. Explore our guides and advice about caring for the elderly, and the care costs to consider.

Carer with elderly person

The reality of paying for elderly care

When looking into care home costs or home assistance, the sums involved can be significant.

The costs of care

Nurse with elderly patient

What support is there for a family caring for a loved one?

Providing care for your elderly loved one can be quite challenging. Read this useful guide to find out more.

Support for families

Older man with flowers

How to promote independence in elderly loved ones

As we age, our health and mobility can limit independence. Finding a balance between helping our elderly loved ones and encouraging their confidence to perform tasks on their own is important.

Promoting independence

Carer with senior man

Know your carers’ rights

If you provide care to elderly friends or family and you’re struggling due to the rising cost of living, this guide may help.

Carers' rights

Senior with mobile phone

Getting help in an emergency: Mobile phone vs personal alarm

We look at why a care alarm is a better option than a mobile phone in an emergency.

Ways to get help in an emergency

Senior man feeling lonely

Recognising the signs of loneliness in the elderly

Download our Staying Connected guide to understand the symptoms of loneliness and address the causes.

Get our Stay Connected guide

How TakingCare support independence in later life

As we get older, we should be able to continue doing the things we love and living life the way we want to. However, ageing can bring feelings of vulnerability and affect activity levels. Our personal alarms can restore confidence, and enhance independent and active living, with the reassurance that help is just a button press away if needed.

Personal alarms for the home and out-and-about

Have the freedom to maintain an active lifestyle, with reassurance help is available wherever you are. 

An Out-and-About Personal Alarm will also work in your home so you can get help from Taking Care's Emergency Resolution Team any time of the day or night.

Compare out-and-about alarms

Elderly care simply shouldn’t be a taboo topic in UK households. It is something we should no longer be hiding from and having "The Talk" is a simple but effective way of alleviating some of the stress associated with people getting older. Sooner or later, we’ll all need that extra helping hand.

Lauren Frake, Elderly Care expert at TakingCare Personal Alarms

Frequently asked questions

How can I raise with my elderly parents that they need to accept some help?

Our parents are used to caring for us as children, so reversing this responsibility is complex emotionally. One in three of us don't want to think about our parents getting older and a third feel our parents don't perceive themselves as old.

However, our survey showed people were more likely to have discussed wills and funeral arrangements than elderly care. This reluctance means care support is put in place too late to maintain independence, often after a fall or hospital admission.

Sharing your concerns and sensitively raising that you would like to help them is a good start. Our personalised advice can help you have the conversation.

How can I raise the subject of assisted living with my elderly parents?

Typically, assisted living homes are self-contained apartments with personal care services available. They are often within communities and have social activities and communal areas. Your parents may be reluctant or offended to discuss care options that require them to move out of the home they love and it is important you know what you are talking about. They may not understand the differences between care homes and assisted living communities.

Before raising this as an option for your parents, research the different assisted living, residential care and sheltered housing options close to your parents. The facilities, services and costs can vary greatly. Once you are better informed of the options, you will be well placed to listen to your parents preferences and talk about your parents future care needs.  

How do I talk to my elderly parents about their driving?

Driving is essential for many people’s independence, freedom and convenience. Statistically, older drivers are some of the safest; the risk of a driver aged over 70 killing a pedestrian is lower than middle-aged drivers and half the risk of drivers aged 25 and under.

However, as we get older our reactions may become slower and health conditions and confidence may affect our driving ability. There is no specific age when you legally have to stop driving, although driving licences expire when you turn 70 and have to be renewed.

Many people are understandably reluctant to stop driving and you may find it helpful to consider ways to stay safe on the road first. We’ve compiled some tips and advice on what you need to know about driving in later life.

What is the best way to talk to an elderly person about dementia?

Dementia is a tricky subject because of the nature of the condition and many people are understandably fearful of the ramifications of a diagnosis. Forgetting things such as misplacing your house keys are not always a symptom of dementia and as we grow older, situations like this are common and normal.

However, if you are concerned an elderly loved one is displaying some early signs of dementia then a visit to their GP is the first step. If you have become concerned about their symptoms, then it is likely that they are also worried. It can be a good idea to attend the appointment with them if they would like some moral support or if they are a bit confused about why they are seeing the doctor.

There are many different types of dementia, symptoms, causes and treatments. We’d recommend making yourself familiar with dementia types and symptoms before raising the subject.

Should I talk to my elderly parents about their finances?

Financial discussions with elderly parents are often complicated, and talking to them about managing their finances could be even more sensitive.

However, leaving things left unsaid until the point when your older relative needs urgent care, is suddenly not able to make their own decisions or require other assistance, means that there are usually far fewer options and choices available.

This often means that things can become a lot more stressful for everyone if plans are not already in place. Read our guide on how to start a conversation about finances and the future.

When should I raise lifestyle changes with my elderly parents that could help keep them safe?

There are no easy conversations to start when it comes to lifestyle changes and elderly care.  However, finding the right way to bring up your worries will make you feel better and help your loved ones remain safe and independent.

Many people find changes to their daily lives and routines really difficult too. Try not to suggest too much too quickly. Start with sensitively discussing the things that worry you the most – our tips for talking to elderly parents about changes to lifestyle can really help and covers everything from health, home safety and driving.

How can I sensitively discuss the need for parents to move home as they get older?

Your parents will have an emotional attachment to their home and it may be full of memories. Downsizing, or moving into assisted living or residential care, is understandably seen by many as a loss of independence and admission of being unable to look after oneself. You will need to take into account their pride and fears. You may need to have several conversations and carefully choose the time and setting. The conversations should be about their needs and safety and whilst it may help to highlight the positives, patience and understanding is key.