AN ONLINE support group for people seeking advice about elderly parents and relatives has launched in Dorset.

Dubbed the ‘Mumsnet for the middle aged’, Age Space has been set up to offer help and support for anyone dealing with an increasingly frail or dependent loved one.

Co-founder Annabel James, 53, whose parents Jimmy and Jane James live in Wareham, came up with the idea when she and a friend found themselves discussing issues facing their own parents. They wanted to create a resource that could help bridge the generational gap and break many of the taboos people face when talking about parents’ failing health, such as incontinence and dementia.

Annabel said: “I knew that Dorset would be the perfect area for our second local online hub.

“There is a lot of great information and organisations providing help, but it can be hard to navigate, particularly in a crisis situation. I wanted to provide a single source and a trusted guides.”

As Older People’s Day approaches on October 1, research commissioned by Age Space shows that more than half of all Britons aged over 45 are giving practical, financial, health or personal care to ageing parents.

More than 28 per cent of the population of rural Dorset are aged over 65, compared to the national average of 18 per cent. The number of over 65s in the county is set to increase by 50 per cent over the next 25 years.

Dorset County Council says many more families will need to act as carers if the system is to cope adequately in the future.

Annabel added: “Our research shows the need for much better information and signposting to advice and support for the generation that has the responsibility of ‘parenting the parent.’

“This is a major issue for employers, communities and families.”

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