New research from Legal & General and Elderly Accommodation Counsel reveals the 'big conversations' families are having about planning for later life

The big issues include housing, health, in house support and care.

Two women on a couch being interviewed
  • 76% of people are their parents first call in an emergency
  • 64% of people think their parents will have to move into a retirement home or extra care housing
  • Taken together 52% of all respondents have parents aged over 81 years
  • 25% of people visit their parents every day

New research commissioned by Legal & General in conjunction with the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC), reveals the big conversations that families are having about managing and supporting elderly parents and how they are planning the right balance of support and independence so crucial to later life. The big issues include housing, health, in house support and care.

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) is a national charity that aims to help older people make informed choices about meeting their housing and care needs.

The research which sampled 1050 people revealed some key findings –

  • 96% of all respondents have a mother aged 60 years or over, 15% of these are aged 60-70 years with 26% aged between 81 and 85 and 26% aged over 85 years. Taken together 52% of all respondents have parents aged over 81 years.
  • Being able to visit elderly parents regularly and within a reasonable travel time are also important, but over 10% live an hour away with a further 28% living between 1-3 hours away.
  • 60% support regularly by helping with shopping and hospital appointments and 81% prepare a meal
  • 69% are worried about their parents physical decline and 67% are worried about them being lonely and isolated
  • The use of assistive technology such as skype, text and email is playing an important role in helping people keep in touch which is especially important for those living further away. 45% of parents have broadband and 42% wear an alert pendant or wristband.
  • 27% of families have had to leave work for either part of or a full day to help with an unexpected event

A core theme of the research is wellbeing which is influenced both by the age of parents and how far away they live from the family. Of those surveyed, respondents were also asked to rank a list of factors that, for them, constitute their parents’ wellbeing. The most important was being ‘safe at home’ closely followed by ‘well cared for’ and ‘healthy and active’. There was also a close interconnectedness within the family on what comprises ‘wellbeing’. 85% of respondents regard the wellbeing of their parents as either fundamental or ‘very important’ to their own wellbeing with a further 10% rating this as ‘important’.

John Galvin, CEO, EAC commented: “From our experience over the years of informing older people and those closest to them, we understand that family can be the greatest source of support and assistance in later life. The findings of this research, conducted on behalf of Legal & General, are therefore welcomed.

Through our independent advice service, we also understand that sometimes things can get to a point where additional advice and assistance is required for the carers themselves. We are therefore encouraged that Legal & General have conducted this research and are looking at new ways that they can continue to support their staff in the future.”

Graham Precey, Head of CSR at Legal & General said “We have held a close relationship with EAC since 2008 when we first funded their Elderly Accommodation Awards. We commissioned this research in 2016 to help us find out more about the pressures that affect working families who are caring for older parents including our own employees. What this research tells us is that families are increasingly concerned about their parents’ health and wellbeing in later life and how they are coping to manage the impacts of getting older, not only helping with day to day activities such as shopping and housework but also worrying about how to resolve the bigger issues such as their long term housing and health needs.”

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Further Information

Notes to Editors

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private customers or any other persons to make financial decisions.

About Legal & General

The Legal & General Group, established in 1836, is one of the UK’s leading financial services companies. As at 30 June 2016, the total value of assets across the group was £841.5 billion, including derivative assets. We also had over nine million customers in the UK for our life assurance, pensions, investments and general insurance plans.

Legal & General is one of the biggest providers of index-tracking investments in the UK, managing £300.4 billion as at 30 June 2016.

About EAC

Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) is a national charity, founded in 1984, that aims to help older people make informed choices about meeting their housing and care needs. Their HousingCare website attracts four million visitors each year and hosts a range of information about housing and care options in later life. In addition, EAC’s FirstStop Advice service offers bespoke advice and information to over 20,000 people a year.