"We aim to provide support for people who have found themselves caring for parents or relatives with little prior knowledge or information"
Annabel James, founder of Age Space
A new website, described as a "Mumsnet for the middle-aged", is set to launch a site focused exclusively on the needs of families with elderly parents or relatives in Cheshire.
Annabel James – the founder of Age Space – is launching a regional Cheshire hub, after successfully establishing similar versions of the website in Dorset and Norfolk. Age Space already provides advice, signposting and support to thousands of people in those communities caring for older parents and relatives.
Now it is branching out across Cheshire and is calling on local care organisations, as well as individuals and businesses, to get behind the initiative to ensure it provides maximum support for the rising number of people caring for older family members.
Research commissioned by Age Space reveals that more than half of all Britons aged over 45 are already giving practical, financial, health or personal care to ageing parents.
And data from across Cheshire suggests that the number of people aged 65 or over in the region is above the national average of 18 per cent. NHS research predicts that by 2050, that number will rise to one-in-four across the UK.
“The challenges associated with an ageing population and people living longer – many with complex health problems – in Cheshire continues to increase and, as our research shows, that means more and more families are taking on the responsibility of looking after older relatives,” said Annabel.
"But as more people take on that responsibility, they also take on the emotional, practical and financial burdens that come with caring for a loved one, and that can be extremely challenging. With Cheshire having a higher proportion of older people than the UK average, this is even more prevalent.
“The whole idea behind Age Space was to create a single source and a trusted guide for anyone with concerns about or caring for an elderly parent or relative. We know that people struggle with making important decisions on how to help. The information is often available, but it can be hard to find, particularly if you’re new to it all.
“People are calling us the “Mumsnet for the middle-aged” as typically, it’s those of us aged between 45-65 – not always but quite often women – that take on the responsibility of looking after loved ones with failing health.
“We aim to provide support for people who have found themselves caring for parents or relatives with little prior knowledge or information, but we absolutely depend on the support of local organisations and businesses to make that possible.
“That’s why we’re seeking potential partners and collaborators to get in touch and support what we’re trying to do, so we can introduce Age Space to more people across Cheshire.”
The Cheshire arm of the website will replicate key advice and support provided to the UK’s other regions, signposting people to local services and offering guidance on all aspects of care for the elderly, particularly around funding and choosing care. There will also be a directory of locally-based services for older people, a calendar of local activities, blog posts and articles from partners and supporters.
The website will also feature an active community forum where people can share their experiences and offer peer-to-peer support – much like the established Mumsnet website does for young parents.