Posted by Debbie Harris
Whoever said ‘you can have it all’ was clearly misguided!
Many of us are experiencing a demanding time in our lives where we seem to be both cash and time poor (how did that happen?), when, on top of everything else, our parents urgently need support – perhaps more than we can actually give them, however much we want to.
So the guilt and frustration set in.
A recent webinar with employees of London-based professional services firms revealed just how significant an issue this is, and confirmed the knowledge gaps that exist amongst those who find themselves responsible for organising care for elderly parents, or even grandparents.
First of all, no one has any ‘spare’ time, and without knowing what is going to be involved in finding the best care solution, it’s hard to know where to start.
Because we don’t tend to plan for later life, we don’t know what to look for or where to go for guidance despite the enormous amount of information that is ‘out there’. We tend to wait for the crisis; only then do we find that synchronising a variety of services is immensely challenging and understanding the variety of options available requires time-consuming investigation.
'This is precisely why we established Autumna: to provide information and access to everything you need to know – in one place, and thus help you to plan effectively for the future – whether for yourself, your partner or your parents.'
The webinar attracted more than 300 participants, all of whom had responsibility for supporting their parents in some way, finding their way through the care maze. The concerns and queries they raised fell under six headings. These are listed below with reference to relevant places on the Autumna site where you will either be able to find the information you need, or a clear signpost:
2. Understanding the different service options - specifically:
See: Care advice
See: Funding care
4. Making decisions on behalf of parents
See: Legal advice
6. Providing support to parents
The final two categories confirm the need for support in the more emotional areas as well as the practical. They also highlight the value in planning early. We can all save ourselves a lot of worry and stress if we address a difficult subject in advance – before it becomes difficult – than if we ignore the future and just keep our fingers crossed, whilst that lurking elephant in the room becomes enormous.
As the manager of a truly wonderful care home in Tunbridge Wells said to me just last week:
‘If more people planned for this in good time, they could come in here and really enjoy living, rather than expecting to die.’