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  1. Is the right family member the caregiver? Geography and gender are deciding factors.

    Article by Jan King Nearest but not Necessarily Dearest A study of older mothers in the Boston Massachusetts area, recently published in The Gerontologist, shows that traditional expectations of who will care for elderly mothers haven’t changed much since the early years of the last century. Then, as now, daughters are expected to step into the breach when things go wrong. In my own family, my mother’s aunt, the youngest daughter, stayed at home to care for her ageing parents and never married. She became, by all accounts, a bitter old woman, and no wonder. But there’s a subtle yet important difference between then and now. Elderly mothers know perfectly well who they would prefer to care for them, but they don’t always get their way. These days, thanks to distance and the fact...
  2. What’s more upsetting, your children moving out or moving back in?

    Article by Fab after Fifty You work hard to raise good kids who will be able to make it on their own once they arrive in the real world. And although it can be a heart breaking day when they finally leave the nest, it’s also a moment to feel proud and look forward to the next stage in your time as a parent. You get to see your kids forge careers and become independent adults; maybe one day you’ll even have grandchildren to enjoy. So it can be a bit of an unexpected surprise when one or more of your kids returns home long term. But the fact is this is happening more and more. And it’s not because we’re not preparing them for the world or because they...
  3. What shall we do today Grandma?

    Article by Lynne Gray It’s that time of year with grandparents step in to help with grandchildren over the long summer holidays. Lynne shares her experience of spending her special time with her grandson: I recently read a report in The Independent on things to do with your children/grandchildren during the school holidays.  The report was called ‘The 10 Best days out in the city’ and showcased different activities in different cities.  The costs to enter these attractions, ranged from free to adult £30, children aged 10+ £24 for Go Ape in Trent Park.  I know these places have to pay their way, but £108 for 2 adults and 2 children for a day out is ridiculous. My grandson, Finlay, is 6 and these school summer holidays, he’ll be...
  4. Care homes can be a positive experience says Dr Lynda Shaw

    Article by Dr Lynda Shaw Recent problems reported in the press about poor standards of care in care homes is causing families to overly worry about choosing care homes for their loved ones, according to age specialist and psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw. I believe the positives of entering a care home far outweigh rogue stories about the unacceptable and sometimes appalling care some unfortunate individuals have received in care homes. The horrors of the lack of care or poor standards by rogue care home workers are often isolated incidents that unfortunately happen in all aspects of our society. What is horrifying about them is that it is affecting some of the most vulnerable people in the country.  However, a degree of understanding that these are unique...
  5. The Pain of being Separated from Grandchildren

    Article by Kate Long It was 2008 and I was sitting in the green room of a radio station, waiting to be interviewed about my books, when I heard her: a softly-spoken fiftysomething telling the DJ about how desperately she missed her granddaughter. The little girl’s parents had gone through an acrimonious divorce, and as part of the fallout, one set of grandparents had been entirely cut off. All of a sudden, the child on whom this lady had lavished years of love and care was gone from her life. Worse, as the law stood then, there was nothing she could do about it. It was a story which affected me very much. Long after the interview I found myself imagining that little girl, her world...
  6. Working together to better understand your teenage child

    Article by Stephanie J. King HOW WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER Transitions between Child, Teen and Adult Being a teen in an ever changing world is a complicated business.  In a new series of articles, Stephanie J. King explains how parents can navigate and nourish the relationship with their children during this often difficult time. Life unfolds the way it does for specific reasons, yet how would you feel if you had been better understood during youth? If you had been granted better tools to help you to cope with where you were, in preparation for what lay ahead, would your direction and life outlook have been different? Did you follow the usual pathways expected of your age group? What if someone had seen the ‘real you’ unfolding, or had recognised or known your potential,...
  7. Could you care for an elderly parent at home?

    Article by Ceri Wheeldon Liz Jones wrote a fairly frank article in the Daily Mail where she shared her experience of ‘caring’ for her bedridden mother for just one day. Of course in true Liz Jones style in her case she was supported by a her mother’s live-in carer and two ‘pop-up’ carers who came in to help lift. As you can imagine the corresponding comments were fairly opinionated !  I don’t really want to go into the rights or wrongs of caring at home/versus care homes from a moral perspective, but the article did, however, reinforce a conversation I was having with my own husband over the weekend- are family member expected to – and indeed want to – care for loved ones at...
  8. Should the value of grandparents be assessed in monetary terms?

    Article by Ceri Wheeldon With the Royal Baby’s arrival imminent, I’m sure Carole Middleton, like many other soon to be grandmothers is looking forward to the new arrival and the new stage in her life. I don’t suppose she will be called upon to help with the ironing, or volunteer to wait in for deliveries, but it seems, according to new survey, that many families could manage if grandparents did not step in to help- both physically and financially. The average mum calls in 254 favours from nan and granddad every year, the study by McCarthy and Stone has revealed. Researchers found grandmothers get called upon for everything from taking the kids to dentist, baking cakes for the school fête and walking the dog. Although 38% of mums do worry that...
  9. How to co-ordinate care for parents as an expat

    Article by Dr Lynda Shaw If you are an expat you may only be able to come over to the UK for a few days or weeks and need an organised way to find the right care home and possibly treatment for your parent.  At the moment it’s a mammoth task, both organisationally and emotionally.  What is needed is coordinated and experienced, expert guidance, so that those living abroad have practical and emotional support that smooth’s those difficult transitions easily and efficiently. There are companies which help expats find the perfect residence for their elderly parent but there is so much to consider from all the administration and paperwork involved, to settling on an affordable financial plan for more long term patients, it is often overwhelming.  Even if you are able...
  10. How to be an ideal mother-in-law

    Article by Cat Williams An ‘interfering mother-in-law’ is one of society’s favourite stereotypes.  The term ‘mother-in-law’ sounds negative and criticising even before anything is known about the individual themselves. Mothers and daughters-in-law often find it particularly difficult to get along.  What is the secret of those who can overcome the stereotype, and build a friendship with their ‘DIL’? “fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” —Shirley MacLaine The first thing we need to recognise is that we pose a uniquely powerful threat to the self-esteem of our daughter-in-law.  As an older woman we could potentially pass judgement on her as a woman, a wife, and a mother, because we might feel that we have ‘been there, done that’, and feel that we either ‘got it right’ or can advise...
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