35% surge in the number of older carers

Census: 35% surge in the number of older carers

1.3 million over-65s caring for disabled or older loved ones

Almost 1.3 million (1,277,693)[1] older people are devoting their retirement to caring for ill partners or their own ageing parents. Census figures show that this is a staggering increase of 35% in the last ten years.

According to figures published today (16th May 2013) by the Office for National Statistics, this army of ageing carers has rocketed by over a third in the last ten years. The number of older carers has risen more rapidly than the total number of carers – which has increased by 11 % to 6.5. million in the UK.

The UK’s ageing population means that more and more over-65s are spending their planned golden years caring for the ‘older-old’ often frail parents in their 80s and 90s. Many are grandparents juggling helping out with their grandchildren as they also care for their own older parents. Others are demonstrating the reality of ‘in sickness and in health’, as they spend their retirement caring full-time for ill partners with conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s Disease.

Following figures last week showing that spending on social care services has fallen by almost £3 billion in the last three years[2], because of public spending cut-backs, Carers UK has called on the Government to support the country’s ageing carers.

Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “Our ageing population has created a new generation of older people who are devoting their retirement to caring for their parents, relatives and partners – a challenge previous generations have not faced.

Our care services are already struggling to support the millions who care for loved ones. Government must act, not just to preserve the dignity and independence of older people who need support, but also prevent their partners and children from being pushed to breaking point caring for them.”