When silence isn’t golden – widespread social stigma is crippling conversations about care in later years, Bupa research reveals

16 November 2016
  • Almost half of UK adults believe there is a stigma attached to moving a loved one into care, despite almost two-thirds having no recent experience of a care home 
  • 41 per cent cite guilt and abandonment of loved ones as biggest emotional tolls 
  • Bupa is calling on the public to challenge this stigma through earlier ‘care conversations’ 
family lunch
A widespread stigma surrounding care homes is crippling conversations about provision of care in later life and threatening to undermine their value, according to new research from Bupa UK. 

The leading health and care company is calling for families to help tackle this stigma by having earlier ‘care conversations’, after findings from a recent study revealed that almost half (48 per cent) associated fear of societal disapproval with choosing to move a loved one into care.  

Moreover, the belief that individuals should be providing care themselves is helping to fuel the stigma, with 41 per cent citing feelings of guilt and abandonment as the biggest emotional tolls when considering care options.  Sixty per cent of respondents also said they would rather have an alternative awkward conversation than talk about aged care, underpinned by almost two-thirds (60 per cent) admitting they held an opinion of care homes despite having no recent or first-hand experience of one. 

Despite the stigma, 76 per cent believe care homes either would, or could, help address feelings of loneliness among older people and assist with complex requirements such as round-the-clock care, companionship and safety and security. 

In response to these findings, Bupa UK has launched a guide for families (CARE) with advice on how to approach and have conversations about planning for care in later life. 

Linda Patel, Professional Adviser, Wellbeing & Activity, Bupa UK said: “Care homes play a crucial role in providing physical, mental and emotional support to both residents and their families. Britain’s ageing population, coupled with often complex and increasing care requirements means people can’t afford to bury their heads in the sand. We are launching our CARE guide to give people information and support, and to drive more awareness among people to have the conversation about future care options, for the benefit of both elderly loved ones and themselves in later life.” 

Bupa UK’s Elderly Care Support Line is also a free advice service for anyone seeking information about future care options, and can be reached on 0808 149 1384. The Bupa UK CARE guide can be downloaded here (PDF, 0.1 MB).

Notes to editor

These findings are based on a survey of 2000 British people, conducted by Mortar on behalf of Bupa UK between 16th and 17th August 2016.   

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

At Bupa, we have no shareholders. Our priority is looking after you... through our care homes, health insurance, health centres and dental centres. Bupa. Our focus is your health.

We have 15.7 million health insurance customers, provide healthcare to around 14.5 million people in our clinics and hospitals, and look after over 23,000 aged care residents.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through our associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

Health insurance is around 73% of our business. In a number of countries, we also run clinics, dental centres, hospitals, and care homes and villages.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com

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