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Head of Carer’s Trust charity says younger generation needs to ‘wake up’ and start talking about their parents’ future care arrangements

Have you thought about who’s going to care for your parents as they get older, and their needs increase? In reality, it will probably be you.

But a recent YouGov poll by the Carers Trust has identified that just 23% of adults with living parents have talked about future care needs for them.

The issue is most prevalent in people aged 25-34 year old age, with 81% admitting they had never spoken to their parents about care in later life, and 10% of this group thinking the government would foot the care bill.

‘The research suggests an “ostrich- approach” when it comes to later-life care of our loved ones,’ says Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of the Carers Trust. ‘We were shocked that future care needs of parents appear to be such a taboo family topic. Given the expected rise in the UK’s elderly population and the fact there are already over 12 million over 65 year olds in the country, we simply can’t afford to not have these conversations.’

Some of the problem may be a result of the ‘taboo topic’ of care, with over a third of those quizzed admitting they were embarrassed, thought it would upset their parents, didn’t think they would want to discuss it, or simply didn’t know how to broach the subject.

And it seems the issue stretches out into the older generations, too, with a third of those aged 55 and over with living parents admitting the conversation about care needs had never arisen.

‘People need to plan for the care of their loved ones in later life. Three in five of us will become a carer at some point in our lives – often to our parents. Anybody can become a carer, literally overnight. Unpaid carers save the UK £119 billion each year but often at a high price for themselves. They need support.’

Getting organised about legal issues surrounding choosing care is a great way to start the conversation. Talk to your parents about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney and whether they would like to write an Advanced Statement, as these documents encourage people to think about and set up directives on how they wish to be cared for.