New Which? research has found that people struggle to find the information they need to arrange care for older relatives. Do you have experience of arranging care for yourself or for a relative?
This issue is particularly prevalent amongst the ‘sandwich generation’ – those aged 40-60 who look after both their children and their older relatives. Our research found that only 40% of this group feels confident making decisions about arranging their care and around four in ten (44%) are worried about this responsibility.
With people living longer and a higher prevalence of long-term conditions, the ‘sandwich’ generation’ are a growing group. Older people often need support in making care arrangements for themselves and a lot of this responsibility can fall on their children or other relatives.
The challenge of choosing care
This is particularly the case given that care is often arranged in a crisis, for example if someone has gone into hospital and a care package needs to be arranged quickly before they can come out as Convo Commenter Jean told us:
‘We have recently been arranging care for my mother-in-law, a 92 year old dementia sufferer who my wife and brother had been caring for in her own home. When the situation deteriorated further, we had to actually arrange for Mam to be taken into full time care, and we researched a whole range of care homes in the area before making a final decision. One of the decisions was based on cost, as Mam had no private means, other than selling her small home, so as Lasting Power of Attorneys, we felt we had to make her small money pot last as long as possible.’
Arranging care can be a stressful time for the person themselves and their family. Whether you are a full-time carer for a relative or providing support at the same time as caring for your own family, the pressures can be overwhelming.
What are your local care options?
Yet trying to work out how the whole health and social care system works is extremely difficult and people don’t know always know where to start. For example, what type of care is appropriate? What providers are available in my local area and how do I judge their quality? What are the various assessments that have to be done for to get support from social services? What funding might I be entitled to from benefits, my local authority or the NHS? All this makes it even more important that older people and their families get the information and advice they need at this time. And yet, three in ten (29%) of the people we surveyed said it wasn’t easy to find the information they needed.
This weekend we launched Which? Elderly Care, which is a free website offering practical information and advice about arranging care. This includes the different types of care that are available, either at home or in a residential or nursing care home, how to access them and the different ways to organise finance. We hope that this website will be a useful starting point for people looking to make decisions about care and will be a resource that can be drawn upon at different points in your journey.
Do you have experience of arranging care for yourself or for a relative? What were the problems you faced? Is there anything else you’d like to see on the Which? Elderly Care website?