Online support for those caring for aging parents

Founder Annabel James with her elderly parents
Founder Annabel James with her elderly parents

When Annabel James’ mother suffered a stroke, she found it hard to find information, or to know what to do for the best to support her mum’s long stay in hospital and recovery.

The 54-year-old was sure she wasn’t the only one feeling lost when it came to caring for aging parents, which is why she set up ‘Mumsnet for the middle aged’; Age Space.

Founder of Age Space Annabel James

Founder of Age Space Annabel James

Age Space is an online community launched in 2015, providing advice, a forum and information for those caring for elderly relatives.

And now, she’s launched a bespoke site for Sussex.

Research shows Sussex has the highest percentage of over 85s anywhere in England, which is why Annabel thought there was a need for a specific Sussex platform.

Brighton and Hove alone has around 35,600 people aged 65-plus, which is increasing every year; and the older population of West Sussex (183,969 in 2014) is expected to rise by 65 per cent by 2039.

A recent survey by Age Space, ‘Keeping Mum’, found that more than half of Britons aged between 45 and 64 give practical, financial, health or personal care to at least one parent.

The study found these concerns are taking their toll, with over half of respondents stating that supporting their parents is negatively affecting their wellbeing and a quarter saying that they didn’t know where to start looking for advice.

Others compared it to the single most stressful life event with moving to a new house, changing schools and getting divorced.

Annabel James, founder of Age Space, said: “Our research shows the need for much better information and support for the generation that has the responsibility of ‘parenting their parent’.

“This is a major issue for employers, communities and families, and one which we need to confront collectively to ensure that our ageing population receives the very best care.

“When suddenly finding yourself responsible for the care of a relative, it’s natural for you to feel worried and not know what to do.

“Age Space is there for you to make this difficult time easier by providing practical, localised information to ensure that our ageing population receives the very best care.”

The Age Space website also features specialist content written by local experts including lawyers, estate agents, and older people’s charities.

For more information, and for support, visit: www.agespace.org/local/sussex/