What did you find was the biggest challenge caring for your mother?
The biggest challenge was getting my mother to accept help. She was very negative about having another person in her home and was worried about losing her independence.
What advice would you give to those people that work but know that their parent/s need looking after. It can be a real challenge finding good cost effective care?
Make sure your parent/s have made a will and that you have taken out power of attorney, without which you cannot help them either financially or health-wise should they become incapacitated. Also discuss ahead of time with your parents what care they might prefer when the time comes, such as care at home, a care home or even downsizing to a property on one level. Use shopping delivery services and local taxis to help them day to day. Get them connected to the internet, so that they can communicate with friends and family via email and Skype.
Often conflict is created within the family when there are care issues involved. Is this usual?
This is very common and can cause great distress. Try not to use the issue of parental care to open up old sibling rivalries. If some of the family live closer than others, think about what all parties can do to help. If those living closer visit more often, those further away can help sort out banking, insurance and perform other administrative tasks.
We seem to talk a lot more about parenting within the workplace rather than eldercare. What do you feel about this?
I think both issues are of equal importance; in fact, elder care now accounts for more time off amongst employees than childcare. Companies need to offer help and support to their staff for both issues, as they both affect their lives in terms of anxiety, stress and demands on time.
What is your single piece of advice for working carers?
Plan ahead. Talk to your parents before a crisis hits about what their preferences are. It causes much less distress when a problem does occur.
Mature Thinking is a strategic marketing consultancy, which helps companies develop and market the right products and services to the older market to maximise sales. The company is run by Deborah Stone, who has many years’ experience in advising clients at senior levels and who also has extensive knowledge of the elder care sector, having founded myageingparent.com. She can be contacted on 07768 876871 or at firstname.lastname@example.org