Nearly two thirds of adults have never considered how they will be cared for when they are elderly, according to a new survey.
The poll of more than 2,300 over-18s, conducted on behalf of a housing and care charity, found 64 per cent admitted they have never contemplated the options when they are unable to care for themselves.
More than three quarters of those questioned in a You Gov poll also said they had never spoken to their family or a trusted friend about their wishes for old-age care.
The most common reason given for failing to address their options for old age was a fear of losing their independence, which was cited by 45 per cent of people polled.
Other reasons were the cost of care (mentioned by 38 per cent), being alone (31 per cent), finding the right place to live (24 per cent) and losing their home (23 per cent).
Anchor, the charity which commissioned the poll of 2,360 adults, has drawn up a guide which features a number of ice-breaking suggestions on how to begin such a difficult conversation.
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said: “Older age should be a time for celebration and enjoying the fruits of your labour, but people are missing out because they aren’t thinking early enough about how they want to live in later life.
“It’s worth exploring the full range of retirement options, from retirement villages to leasehold or sheltered housing, where you can live independently and have care options should you need them.
“It’s never too early to talk to your loved ones about the future, and work out what’s right for you.”
Jo Hemmings, independent behavioural psychologist, who worked on the new guidebook, said: “As a nation we’re taking a gamble as we get older.
“Too many people are putting off thinking about their retirement living and care options, and we’re not having conversations with the people we most trust to make decisions for us.
“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.”
Article by: The Telegraph