As we’re getting older it’s inevitable that things like eyesight, hearing and mobility will start to diminish.
It’s not easy to watch our parents and other relatives struggle with old age.
We spent the last few days over in Ireland with my wife’s family.
It brought home how life choices we make when we’re younger can affect us in later life.
That’s intensified when living in a rural area with few amenities and transport options.
A case in point is where you reach the situation you’re no longer able to drive.
Many shops and post offices have disappeared from local communities.
That makes it tricky to exist outside of towns and cities without another means of transport.
I remember when I was a kid, the post bus used to serve local villages and take people to the nearest town and back.
It was the way my grandparents used to get around.
With them being underused and with rising costs, most of them disappeared from our roads some time ago.
If getting older means we can’t drive and there’s no local bus service then the only alternative transport would be taxi.
Getting a taxi when you need to get the groceries in isn’t a sustainable model for most pensioners though.
We all need food to survive but not everyone lives within easy reach of a supermarket.
With supermarket deliveries becoming more accessible perhaps they might become a lifeline for the elderly.
There is a conundrum here though.
Many people who are getting older and could avail of supermarket deliveries don’t have internet access.
Broadband and smartphones aren’t high on their priorities.
That means ordering online is not an option.
We need to find a way to help people who are getting older in life to avail of this service.
I’m sure as the internet generation get older getting online will be less of an issue.
But for those who aren’t they’re missing out on what could be an essential lifeline.
The nature of today’s world means many families find themselves spread far and wide.
Without access to transport, there’s a risk of social isolation for older people.
It’s not always practical to sell up and move closer to other family members.
Local communities aren’t as cohesive as they once were and helpful neighbours are like gold dust.
The world’s older generation is only going to get bigger over time.
We need to find a way to help them through social care and intervention.
I’m sure most people would be happy to pay a little more in tax to fund that.
Are There Any Possible Solutions?
Most people don’t want to lose their independence as they’re getting older.
But they also need to be realistic about what they can do for themselves.
There are a few things we might all be able to do to help.
- elderly relatives could stay with other family members during winter months;
- family members could do the supermarket shopping online and get it delivered to their elderly relatives;
- ask friends and neighbours to look in on older family members;
- find out what and sign up to the services the local council provide for the older generation;
- see if any charitable organisations operate in your elderly relative’s area and what help they can offer.
How Are You Helping Relatives Who Are Getting Older?
Have you come up with any interesting solutions that help your elderly relatives stay in their own home?
What do you think will change in the future with regard to social care for the elderly?