Two thirds of Brits admit they ‘could do more’ to look after elderly relatives, a study timed to coincide with Carers Week revealed today.
Being too busy, living too far away and the cost of travelling were cited as people’s main reasons for not spending as much time with elderly relatives as they should.
Researchers found that many admit their parents or grandparents are ‘an after-thought’ and often cancel potential visits if something ‘more exciting’ comes up.
As a result more than 80 per cent worry about their elderly parents reaching a point where they can no longer look after themselves.
And almost one in four worries about them being exploited by others such as rogue tradesmen, door-to-door salesmen or financial advisors.
Lyn Duncan, CEO for social care marketplace provider cloudBuy, which commissioned the research, said: ‘’Brits are leading busier and more hectic lives than ever before, but the older generation should not pay the price for this.
‘’There are a large number of people who genuinely struggle to find the time, or live too far away from their parents or grandparents to visit regularly. However, with telephones and the internet it is possible to be actively involved in their health and well-being.
‘’It’s important to never underestimate how much regular communication can mean to an elderly relative who may be lonely or struggling on their own.’’
The study of 2,000 adults found that more than one in three admits they don’t visit elderly relatives as much as they should do, with 33 per cent saying months can often pass between trips.
One in ten says they only go to see elderly parents or grandparents a couple of times a year, while almost one in twenty claim it can sometimes be once every few years.
Being too busy is the biggest reason for the lack of visits with almost half claiming their own lives get in the way.
One in five say they can’t afford the cost to travel, with another 36 per cent saying they live too far away to visit regularly.
Another one in ten blames the few and far between trips on not really getting on with their relative, while more than one in twenty just don’t want to.
More than one in twenty even admitted they NEVER visit older family members – even for birthdays or Christmas.
And one in ten describes the visits as a ’chore’.
Three in ten have even been faced with comments from their loved one about being lonely or get requests to visit more often.
It also emerged that 42 per cent put off visiting elderly relatives or use any excuse they can to get out of it.
And even of those who do make the journey, 40 per cent go armed with an excuse so they can leave soon after arriving.
More than a quarters also admitted to regularly cancelling plans to visit an elderly relative at the last minute, with one in five of those saying ‘something better comes up’.
One in three even described their elderly parents or grandparents as an ‘after-thought’.
And 24 per cent have fallen out with their elderly relative or another family member because of their reluctance to visit.
Lyn Duncan, CEO for cloudBuy added: ‘’As time goes on many of us will find ourselves part of the “sandwich generation” trying to manage the growing care needs of our elderly parents while also raising children of our own.
Having a national Care Marketplace will help make things just that little bit easier. Families can remotely produce a care plan for their elderly relative, manage a personal budget and find local council approved suppliers of care-related products and services.”