Guest blog – Our society is ageing, and so are our carers

Jenny And James - Age Uk Case Study by Sam Mellish

This week we have a guest post from Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, that highlights the key findings of a new report on caring in later life. 

While caring is something that touches all of us at some point in our lives, new research published today by Carers UK and Age UK reveals that it is the older generation who are increasingly stepping up to provide care for loved ones. The figures in our new report ‘Caring into later life’ are stark – showing a 35% rise in those caring aged 65+ in England, while the number of carers aged 85 and older in England has more than doubled in the last ten years.

We know that caring for a loved one at any age presents a myriad of challenges; however our research shows that caring in later life can have a big impact on carers’ health, wellbeing, and ability to have lives of their own outside their caring role. Older carers are more likely to have health problems of their own that can be exacerbated by the strain of caring. Indeed, our research shows the more hours a person cares, the bigger effect it has on their own health, not only physically but also mentally- with older carers more likely to report feeling anxious or depressed, especially if they are providing a lot of care.

Our report also looks at the support available for older carers. Aside from giving their time to care for loved ones, the nation’s 1.5 million older carers in the UK make a remarkable contribution to wider society, saving the state over £15 billion each year by providing care that would otherwise have to be paid for by local authorities. Yet, we have found that fewer older carers are being offered the support they need to continue caring – we found a 9% drop in the number of carers aged 75 and over being offered support since 2006/7, meaning many face a daily struggle to cope physically, emotionally and financially.

In light of this worrying gap in provision, Carers UK and Age UK are calling for immediate action to provide better support to older carers. We have made a number of recommendations on what needs to be done – by the NHS, national government and local authorities- however our most important call is for a sustainable settlement for health and social care services to ensure the system has the financial resources to give older carers the practical support they urgently need. We know that the number of older carers is only going to grow further as our population ages and we live longer with disabilities and long term conditions, so the imperative to take urgent action is strong and must be heard.

Read the full report Caring in later life

Find out consumer advice about care and support on the Age UK website 

Author: Age UK

Age UK is dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. In the UK we help more than 7 million older people each year by providing advice, combating loneliness and enabling independence. Locally, we work as part of a network of independent charities which includes Age UK, Age Cymru, Age NI and Age Scotland and over 150 local Age UK partners in England and Wales.

3 thoughts on “Guest blog – Our society is ageing, and so are our carers”

  1. The Carers are hit by Carer’s Allowance only coming to those eligible for Universal Credit, meaning about 40 per cent will lose that benefit.

    The carers are pension age.

    Women especially.

    The state pension is lost to huge numbers of men and women on and from 6 April 2016, by the many changes brought in by the flat rate pension that includes the SERPs opt out.

    See why at end of my petition, in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:

    Why SERPs opt out will wipe out the state pension is also on my personal website:

  2. Our society is not ageing.

    We have had mass youth immigration for well over half a century now.

    That immigration tend to have larger families, so immigrants are younger in more number.

    Immigrants here for decades, born for generations here, tend to be in jobs and have higher education, owning businesses.

    Pensioners are not a burden on the state.

    Pensioners pay the 75 per cent of all tax from people to government as all ages, as income tax is a mere quarter of money from the people to parliament.

    VAT is embedded in most basic survival things we need to buy, including sweets, cakes nd fizzy drinks, that government keeps saying needs a fat tax.

    It is cheaper and helpful to mobility challenged old to fet a fish and chip dinner, than cooke and process the food ourselves. That has VAT on it, even as a hot take-away.

    The family carers tend to be part or wholly retired, looking after parents of great age. Because they have the time to do it.

    The Tories do not value carers nor the elderly, but keep saying people are a burden on other taxpayers and contribute nothing and are a burden.

    I did not expect to hear that from Age UK.

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