More than half of British adults with elderly relatives (58%) agree that they are worried about their parents or an elderly relative, yet over a third (34%) agree that they find it difficult to discuss concerns about health and safety with them according to a new national opinion poll1 of over 2,000 British adults commissioned by 3rings - the smart plug that helps people make sure older parents are okay.

Relationships on Female First

Relationships on Female First

To help give people in this situation practical advice and emotional support on how to help older parents live happily, safely and independently, 3rings has created a new, free Guide, authored by Dr Patricia Macnair, Speciality Doctor, Medicine for Older People. The Guide called " Are My Parents Okay: a guide to the parent role reversal?" covers a range of topics including; when it's time to start offering more support, clues that they may need extra help, making the most of available technology, creating a safe home environment and how to broach concerns or worries. If you or a partner are in this challenging situation, here are 3rings' five tips in helping you support each other and your family.

  1. Lend an ear: Worrying about an elderly relative can be a real strain, and might be having an effect on your partner's own mood making them seem anxious or withdrawn. Even though this may be difficult for you, it's important to be patient, taking time to listen to their worries and take an interest in the situation. The old adage, "a problem shared is a problem halved" is never more true than in this instance!
  2. Be practical: Your partner may well appreciate your help to keep an elderly relative's diary busy and keep the lines of communication open. Getting out to meet with family and friends or attend religious events is fundamental to wellbeing and a good quality of life and can make a world of difference to their general well-being. However, it might be difficult for your partner to always juggle this with other work or family commitments. So, why not offer to help with lifts or visits to ease the pressure on your partner and suggest that you get in get in touch via email, text or 'phone call to share the load?
  3. Online support: Using the internet can be an easy and quick way to offer your support to look after older relatives. Why not ask if you could "take charge" of the online grocery shop, take elderly relatives to the shops yourself or ask if you can pick up a few essentials for when you next visit? The big advantage of helping with food shopping is that you can encourage healthy and nutritious choices.
  4. Give them a break: When someone is carrying the majority of care for parents, make sure they are well supported and see if you can arrange for them to take regular breaks or even a holiday. You could arrange a rota amongst immediate family, take over the care yourself for a short period or explore respite options, to give carers a break. Visit for more information on support in your area.
  5. Go digital: Technology can assist in many ways to help keep in touch with older people that you may be concerned about, provide for some of their needs, monitor their problems and call for outside help. Modern technology offers a world of communication, social interaction and information at the touch of a button. Technology is never a substitute for those calls and visits that many loved ones cherish, but it can help families at least balance the challenges of time and distance. Sometimes all you want to do is keep a general check that your loved one is OK and doing what they usually do without invading their day too often. Technology can help here too. One option is 3rings - a plug that connects to everyday household appliances such as kettles, lamps, televisions, and is placed in the home of an elderly relative who you may be concerned about. Just by Mum turning on the kettle to make a cup of tea or Dad turning on the TV to watch his favourite show, 3rings makes sure that all of the family can get a message each day to reassure them that their parents are OK. And if one day Mum or Dad don't do what they normally do, an alert is sent to the family instead.

For a free copy of Dr Patricia Macnair's guide Are My Parents Okay, a guide to the parent role reversal." visit

The 3rings plug is available online at Prices start at £79 for a 3rings plug only + £12 a month subscription. Using 3rings costs the same as a cup of coffee a week.

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