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How to support elderly relatives during the UK cost-of-living crisis

The current UK cost-of-living crisis is making things really tough for many people. Read our advice and tips.

October 03, 2022

Elderly couple looking at finances

The ongoing UK cost-of-living crisis means that many people are finding their budgets are stretched as everyday essentials, such as food and home energy, are costing more and more. 19% of the UK population (around 11 million people) are aged 65 and over and lots of older people are finding the current situation a real strain if they rely on a limited and fixed income that isn’t rising with inflation, such as their pension.

Many of those with elderly loved ones are worried about how their older relatives will cope during the current crisis and may be concerned that their relative might need some help practically, some support emotionally and also to manage their finances at this time.

In this article, we look at some of the ways in which relatives can support their elderly loved ones in a variety of different ways during the cost-of-living crisis.

 

Elderly lady in shop

Help with budgeting and household bills

Your elderly relative may be highly organised with their budget, have a perfect grasp on what comes in and goes out each month, even with recent changes, and they might not need or want your help in this area at all.

It’s also common for some older people to not be comfortable talking about money with their friends or family members. This can be frustrating for relatives sometimes, and these conversations can sometimes be difficult, but it’s important for your loved one to feel supported at this time, whether or not they are willing to discuss finances with you.

If they don’t want your assistance with this, you can still let them know that you are there to talk to about it if they change their mind.

If they are happy to discuss their income and expenditure, it can often be useful to make a list of all monthly bills with your relative so that you can look at it together and see if there is anything there that seems unusual or could perhaps be made cheaper.

With so many companies now operating mainly online, it might be the case that your elderly relative isn’t comfortable with using comparison sites or buying things online that could save them a significant amount. You may be able to help them with this by creating an aging parents finances checklist that includes all of the accounts or policies you can look at with them.

A common one for the checklist is insurance policies, for everything from home insurance to car, pet or travel insurance. If the account is set to auto-renew every year, then your relative may be missing out on potential savings if they switch or maybe even cancel a policy if they no longer need that kind of cover.

It will also give you and your elderly relative an opportunity to check together if they are receiving all of the benefits or government support that they are entitled to, and perhaps discuss any other money-saving tips for pensioners that could apply to their situation.

 

Caring for elderly relatives by providing moral support

Providing moral and emotional support for your elderly loved one during the UK cost-of-living crisis is really important, whether you’re able to be there in person or can do so from afar.

Simply having someone to talk to about the things that matter to them can make a real difference, whether it’s related to cost-of-living matters directly or not.

Challenging times such as this can be very difficult to deal with for everyone, but even more so if you feel alone with the problems that you face. Simply visiting regularly, or calling when you are able to, can help them to feel less isolated and more able to deal with daily activities.

It can sometimes be difficult to have conversations with older relatives about things such as the changes they might need to make in life due to their health or increasing frailty, but these discussions don’t always have to be brought up in a serious or set way; they can start as everyday conversations that you have with your loved one.

Knowing that you have their best interests at heart and that you want them to feel supported can often help when it comes to talking about everything from the cost-of-living crisis to decisions about their future care.

 

Elderly couple shopping

Providing practical support

Providing practical support to your elderly loved one during the cost-of-living crisis could take a wide variety of forms. As well as helping with budgeting and managing bills as mentioned earlier, you could talk to your loved one about whether they would like some help with things such as:

  • Trying new recipes or ways of cooking that are more economical e.g. using a slow cooker or an air fryer for the first time
  • Checking their boiler or heating settings to make sure that things are working optimally so they’re not spending unnecessarily
  • Shopping for food with them, to help ensure they get the best value for money from their food budget
  • Accompanying them when they go out and about, to help them stay active and so they don’t need to heat their home when they’re not there
  • Practical help around the home with maintenance tasks or gardening that they might have needed to pay someone to help with otherwise
  • Doing some things online to help save money, such as looking for the best deals on insurance, internet shopping or looking for ideas to help reduce home energy bills.

 

Providing support when you can’t be there

When an elderly relative lives independently, it’s a fact of life that you can’t always be there with them, and this can be a real concern sometimes. You may be worried about them perhaps not looking after themselves as they should in an attempt to save money, or perhaps concerned that if they should have a fall or another accident while no one else is there, that they won’t be able to let anyone know that they need help.

One option can be to install a smart home monitoring system that learns your loved one’s routines, such as when they usually eat and drink, and can alert if something changes, or if the temperature in the home drops below where it should be, for example. The sensors used in this kind of system are small and unobtrusive and use the provided long-life batteries so won’t add to the energy bill of the home.

A smart home monitoring system such as Taking Care Sense can also include a pendant alarm that is worn by your elderly relative at all times, so they will always be able to raise an alert for help if it’s needed. This can give confidence and peace of mind to them and to you to enable them to stay in their home and doing the normal activities that they enjoy, knowing that assistance can be reached at the touch of a button.

Personal alarms

Our personal alarms also have very low energy running costs, helping to ensure that all of the benefits that they bring won’t result in significantly bigger electricity bills.

You can view our emergency alarms for the elderly to find the right solution for your loved one.

View personal alarms

There’s no doubt that the current cost-of-living crisis is going to be a challenge for many people to navigate, with older and vulnerable people often most at risk of suffering disproportionately from increasing prices in so many areas of life at the same time. In particular, the cost of Christmas can be a concern, although Christmas gifts for elderly and young family members do not have to be expensive.

Whether it’s helping someone elderly with finances or simply being there when they want to talk, we hope that this article has given you some ideas on the different ways that you can help support your older loved one through this time.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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