Living overseas and leaving elderly or vulnerable relatives behind is just one of the challenges faced by expats, world travellers and digital  nomads.

For those in middle age, concerns over ageing parents can even trigger a return home when care seems impossible to manage long-distance.  For others, irregular trips home may mean a sharp decline is identified when making visits back to the UK to see relatives.

Too often, conversations are avoided and sometimes fragility may be hidden behind an upbeat facade.   But open discussion, where those who are older are not made to feel marginalised or incapable, is vital.

A book that sets out to open up the debate and encourage better communication has been written by Dr Lucy Pollock, whose career has been in treating and caring for older people. The Book About Getting Older aims to create better understanding of the challenges faced by older people, with honest answers to tough questions, so that families can support older relatives to lead long, happy, healthy lives, as well as preparing themselves for their own ageing.

Author Dr Lucy Pollock says:  “On an individual level, older people and their families must get better at talking to each other honestly about their problems and wishes. On a societal level, we need to prioritise making changes to healthcare systems and government policies to improve older people’s lives.”

If you need support for an older or vulnerable relative, or would like to just have a discussion about options for the future, talk to your Life Porter.  Many problems have solutions when you tap into specialist know-how, whether to identify tech options to support living alone through to specialist live-in or daily personal care.

Read more of Lucy Pollock’s interview with Age UK here