The handbook claims to be the first comprehensive source-book to confront demographic changes that will see a 60 per cent increase in the number of people aged 80 and above by 2031. Many people will end up having to care for their parents before their own children leave home. The handbook's author, Belinda Hadden, has set up the Grey Agency, which will send out free newsletters to enquirers.
Ms Hadden said: 'Perhaps families who resort to dumping or abusing their older relatives might benefit if they knew what help is available from the many hundreds of commercial and charitable organisations all over the UK.'
After Germany, the United Kingdom has the highest proportion of its population aged over 60. Last year was the European Year of Older People and Solidarity Between Generations. According to Ms Hadden, governments are already urging employers to provide support for staff with 'eldercare' responsibilities, who are likely to experience absenteeism and stress.
The book, which includes sections on health, finances, equipment and mobility, also has a foreword by Carol Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher's daughter, who describes her parents, now in their late sixties and seventies, as 'awesomely fit and energetic'.
The Ageing Parent Handbook; Thorsons, pounds 7.99. The Grey Agency Ltd, Freepost (SW 8500), PO Box 3054, London, SW6 2YY.
Leading article, page 15