For hundreds of years, families have taken care of their ageing loved ones, with most families housing children, parents, and grandparents all under one roof. Today, we are seeing people live longer than ever before. In Europe, for example, the number of people over 65 already exceeds those under 15. However, despite this, intergenerational care is becoming less common with many elderly people living separately from their families.
So, the question is, how do we rise to this new challenge?
The ageing population in the UK is influenced by many factors including fertility, health provisions, mortality, and lifestyles. Throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, the UK population has been gradually ageing and this is causing families to consider how they can help provide the care their loved ones need.
That’s why we were so encouraged to receive a story from one of our subscribers who shared what a difference intergenerational care is making for his uncle.
David shared with us how his uncle, John, lives in the USA and has just turned 99 years’ old. He lost his wife just a couple of years ago after 74 years of marriage and they do not have any children. Since his wife’s death, John continued to live at home and was supported during the COVID pandemic by various friends.
Recently, John’s Goddaughter contacted him asking if he would like to come and live with her and her husband. The new house would provide the space for John to have his own room for privacy, but he could eat all his meals with the family and join them whenever he wanted company.
We were so encouraged by this story of care. What a wonderful thing that John won’t have to worry about the responsibility of running his own house or caring for himself on his own. Living with his family, John will receive all of the assistance, company, and care he requires when he needs it.
How encouraging it is to know there are families still being such good stewards of the resources God has provided them with. John’s Goddaughter has done such a special thing by inviting John into her home. Not only has she helped relieve John of his burdens, but she has also helped him maintain some independence, while being part of her family.
We want to see and hear more stories of successful intergenerational living because it encourages us so much when we hear how families are caring for their aging relatives.
Society does not always seem to view the ageing population in the same way as God does. God values and delights in all his children, no matter how young or old, no matter how capable or incapable. As a society, it is time we reevaluate how we treat those most vulnerable among us.
We know that there are many people who are desperate to care for their elderly relatives but simply do not have the means with which to do so. Many families do not have the space in their homes to invite someone to live in, many do not have the financial means, and some just do not think it would be the healthiest option for everyone involved.
But where those hurdles do not apply, history has shown us that elderly people living with relatives or other families prepared to help is a better outcome both for the individual and society.
If you are considering caring for an elderly relative or friend, but you don’t know where to start, we have created a resource hub with all the information you need. We are pleased to support you in your care of the older generation, and we would love to hear your stories of successful intergenerational living. How are you caring for an elderly relative and what advice would you offer other people who are wondering where to start? Leave a comment here to share your story.