More than two million elderly Brits feel trapped in their homes, according to new research.
One in five people over the age of 70 is unable to go up or down the stairs without harm, and almost a third are not using their kitchen as they feel they cannot safely use it.
A study of 1,000 people with parents over 70 shows 38 per cent have reached a stage where they are not fully using their entire house.
Many are unable to keep on top of the cleaning and maintenance, with a third struggling to undertake minor household tasks.
Pauline Houchin [corr], Head of Care and Clinical Services for Care UK, which commissioned the study, said: “It can be incredibly tough for children to see their parents get older.
“As those you love struggle to get around their homes and complete household tasks, it is only natural to worry – particularly if a parent is living on their own.
“Becoming less active around the home can have a knock-on effect on health and wellbeing, and many of those with ageing parents find they have to step in and provide day-to-day support for mum and dad.”
The study revealed a third of parents over 70 find it difficult to prepare meals, with a quarter needing regular support to prepare and cook dinner.
Alarmingly, over the last six months, three in 10 have not seen their parent eat a full meal prepared by themselves.
One in six older Brits skip at least one of their three daily meals, while one in five have noticed their mum or dad eating smaller portions than everyone else. Indeed, one in 10 have seen them swapping out meals in favour of a small snack.
The survey also highlighted one in six over 70s are drinking less than they used to.
General cleaning of the house has become too much of a task for a quarter of those over the age of 70, and a further 41 per cent have not got the strength to maintain their garden.
Over half need help with general cleaning around the home, while a third need help with the food shopping.
The upstairs bedroom and attic are being neglected as they are too much effort to navigate to, with approximately a third of older Brits not entering these rooms as much as they used to.
Of the 1,000 respondents, almost half said their elderly parent now lives alone, and three quarters of these people are worrying about how their mum or dad is coping in their home.
In fact a quarter of Brits with lone elderly parents are worrying about their mum or dad all the time.
Pauline added: “We are seeing changes to the ways in which people live in their homes as they get older, with a need for more for regular care for mum and dad.
“This can bring with it many challenges. It can be really difficult for family carers to know exactly how to take care of older loved ones as their needs change.
“Our research highlighted concerns around mum and dad using the kitchen, meal preparation and even food shopping. This is very worrying as food and drink are such basic requirements, and a good diet can make a real difference to the lives of older people.
“To support family carers, we have pooled the expertise of our chefs to produce Eating as we age – a guide to eating well and staying hydrated in older age.
“The guide provides information on how to overcome common problems, such as keeping older people interested in food and stimulating appetites. It also has advice for those caring for people living with dementia.
“The ideas and inspiration in Eating as we age also support family carers to get their older relatives involved in the preparation of food for themselves and others. These kinds of activities can help build confidence and independence.”