Scattered families make aged care decisions harder

by Ross Stebbing

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Public realtions for care home provider Bupa in ScotlandBupa survey shows  distance is a problem in arranging care for elderly parents

The growing distance between families is making planning care for elderly parents more difficult, according to research released today by Bupa.

The findings show that:

  • Families in Scotland live on average nearly more than 100 miles from elderly parents
  • Separation means special occasions become alarm calls for older relatives’ welfare
  • Arranging care for elderly parents can be challenging, but long distances are making this harder for families

Scottish adults over 35, who are likely to be in a position of finding care for an older relative, now live an average 113 miles, or a two-hour drive, from their parents. People in London have the furthest to travel, living an average 205 miles away – almost double the average.

So when it comes to making important decisions about care for elderly relatives, many families are forced to research and manage options from a distance without getting to know an area. Scottish adults questioned were the second highest region (66% compared to Northern Ireland at 69%) to agree that distance would make decision-making more difficult.

Bupa says remote planning is a particular concern during January, as living far apart means that for nearly a sixth (13%) of adults the festive period is one of the few set times that they see parents and other older relatives.

The festive period acted as wake-up call for families who are spread out across the country and came together at Christmas, only to notice that their parent’s health has worsened. This year, around 1-in-10 (11%) Scottish adults over 35 – one of the highest ratios in the UK – said they were either worried about, or saw an actual deterioration, in their parent’s health after spending time with them over the festive period.

Bupa’s elderly care support line regularly fields calls from concerned sons and daughters trying to find care for an elderly parent who lives in a different part of the country, and often during their lunch break, as they grab whatever time they can to find help.

The support line was set up a year ago to address the growing need for impartial advice on care options ranging from care in your own home, and supporting people living with dementia, to paying for care, and finding care homes. The line, which is available to everyone, received over 20,000 calls in its first year.

Kirsty Dace, Scotland Director for Bupa Care Services said:

“We know many people face the prospect of finding care for loved ones who live hundreds of miles away and it’s not unusual to hear from someone in Edinburgh trying to arrange care for an elderly parent in the north of England; or a family in Dumfries looking for support in St Andrews.

“We regularly speak to people who feel a sense of helplessness that they do not have time to visit care homes or do the hands-on care research they would like to.

“There is some great advice available online but sometimes it’s better to talk to someone to discuss your options and what might be the best solution involved.  Our advice line is there for that very reason – to give anyone who needs it support when it comes to elderly care.”

You don’t need to be a Bupa customer to call the support line. Advisors are on hand seven days a week with free and impartial advice on a range of aged care issues, including arranging care in your own home, support for people living with dementia, paying for aged care, and finding care homes for respite, short or long-term stays.

To speak to an advisor call 0333 920 1992 or visit http://www.bupa.co.uk/care-services/care-journey-guide for more information.

Bupa has just launched new TV adverts showcasing its elderly care support line and the help offered to families.

Find out how Scottish PR agency Holyrood Partnership can help your business

For more information contact us on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple contact us form below and we will get back to you.

Public rleations agency account executive Ross Stebbing

Private: Ross Stebbing

As part of the expert PR team at a fast-paced Scottish public relations agency, Ross Stebbing works on diverse clients in sectors including film and media, construction, healthcare and logistics. While he delivers PR in Edinburgh, his results appear in newspapers, magazines and websites all across the UK and beyond.

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