Article by Sandy Sidhu
Back in the day, it was the norm for women to take on the role as full time carers and look after their parents within their own home. But as times have changed, the pressures on women to bring up their own children, have a successful marriage and have a career, as well as caring for their elderly parents is greater than ever.
The problem mainly lies in the fact that women are proud to be perceived as capable multitaskers who can do it all, but in reality, the enormity of each of these responsibilities can cause a knock on effect ultimately resulting in health decline and strain on the family. With the constant juggling and striving for perfection in all of these duties, it has never been so tough on women.
According to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)*, whilst women’s lives have changed dramatically over the past 50 years, members of the sandwich generation are caught between providing care for both grandchildren and elderly parents, often while continuing to earn and pursue their career.
Whilst the sandwich generation is struggling to meet the needs of their parents, our elders are living longer and increasingly determined to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Issues surrounding loneliness and social isolation have often been discussed in the media and they pose threats to the physical and mental well-being of not only the older generation, but also the sandwich generation.
For the sandwich generation, it can be problematic making arrangements to take their elderly parent to a routine GP appointment. We need better solutions to providing vital transport, services and social opportunities which bring reassurance and relief to many especially those who do not have immediate family living nearby.
As a nation, we have a responsibility to make it easier to nurture and look after the elderly and help to improve their quality of life.
- Silver Villages is a new initiative for over 60’s with an aim to relieve pressure on the sandwich generation, combat isolation and to empower seniors to live an independent, confident and fun-filled life in their own home.
- A pilot scheme in Putney has been running since January 2014 with new Silver Villages’ communities now opening in Richmond, Chiswick, Fulham, Kensington and Wimbledon with plans for the next phase to expand across London and the South East, and then nationwide.
- Silver Villages aims to support seniors to live confidently in their own home, encourage them to build new friendships and take part in social events such as coffee mornings, lunches and trips to the theatre to keep engaged, energised and active.
- As well as the many social benefits available, Silver Village members can have peace of mind by contacting the Village Coordinator who is on-hand to help with anything from changing a light bulb to making arrangements for someone to drive them to a doctor’s appointment.