Beth Britton is a freelance campaigner and blogger on issues affecting older people. She was awarded Best Independent Voice at the Independent Age Older People in the Media Awards 2013
All blogs are the views of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Age
In 2030 my mum will be 91. My dearest wish is that she is still with us, and as vibrant, capable and go-ahead as she is now. Realistically, however, I know the future is uncertain.
Having spent my teens and 20s caring for my father with vascular dementia – something I never imagined I would do as a child – you might think that I feel prepared for the prospect of facing a future that could involve caring for my mum. You would be wrong though.
Through all of those years with my dad, Mum and I supported each other. My mum is truly my best friend, and fills a space in my life that no one else ever could. We wanted so much more for my dad all those years ago. Now I campaign to bring about positive change for others, and my expectations for what I would want care in the UK to look like in 2030 are ambitious.
In 15 years’ time we must have a health and social care system that is (finally) fully integrated. The UK should be leading the way in providing aged care, and recognising and fully supporting the role of family carers. More broadly, I want to be living in a society that makes ageing something we embrace and nurture, not something to be sneered at, marginalised and locked away.
If I ever make my mum a grandmother, I will effectively make myself a member of the sandwich generation. The thought of bringing up a young child alongside supporting an ageing parent, all while pursuing my career and nurturing my relationship, seems an impossible task. Will it be made any easier by 2030? I sincerely hope so.
I value my beloved mum more than anyone in the world. If she ever asks for anything from the country she has lived in, worked in and contributed to all of her life, it would be that it values her back. Whatever the years ahead bring, living in a society that holds her hand and mine through the ageing process is something that I believe should be intrinsic to the UK, not optional.
What do you think needs to happen to make the UK the best country to grow older in?
What concerns you most about growing older and why?
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