THE BLOG

Is Old Age the Final Taboo? Why We're a Nation With Our Heads in the Sand

12/08/2014 12:43 BST | Updated 11/10/2014 10:59 BST

A new piece of research out today reveals we are a nation in denial about ageing. It seems we're more at home asking for a divorce than looking at the care options available to us in later life. Some 64% of us have never thought about our own care and one in five of us would put off doing anything about it, even at the point we think it's most needed.

Worrying statistics considering that one in three women and one in four men will need care at some point in their lives. But are we really a nation of procrastinators?

Fear of losing control seems to be the main factor crippling the nation, with the top concern about care in later life being losing independence. Worries about being able to afford it also feature highly, and nearly a quarter of us are concerned about the impact on our loved ones.

These are all real and valid concerns, but by not addressing them head on, we're not doing ourselves any favours.

Our experience at Anchor shows that all too often people put care and retirement living in the 'too difficult' box and just don't think about it until they really have to. The misperception is that it's a care home or nothing. And what that can mean is people end up at crisis point, with no idea of the options open to them, and make a rushed decision under pressure.

Contrast this with the amount of time, thought and effort we put into planning other stages of our lives. We begin pondering our career while still in primary education; we spend months planning weddings and holidays; and we start thinking about school places for our children while we're still pregnant. But we tend to ignore our later lives and just hope for the best rather than taking a proactive approach to getting what we want.

It's about time this changed. We want to get people thinking and, importantly, talking about what they would like their later lives to look like. Over three quarters of people (76%) who would trust someone else to make care decisions for them, have never talked about their care options with that person.

Do you know what your loved ones want from later life? Could you make the right decision, quickly? Check out our short video to see what happened when we asked people if they knew what their mum/dad/partner/sibling wants.

We've worked with top behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings, to develop a guide to help people plan care and retirement living including tips on having a conversation with family or friends.

As Jo says, "It's much easier to talk about life changing decisions when you're not faced with an immediate crisis - and talking earlier means you are more likely to get what you want in the long run. It's time to think about it, talk about it and plan for it now."

Download your free Grey Matters Guide at www.Anchor.org.uk/GreyMatters