Carers UK launches inquiry into financial realities of caring for older parents or disabled loved ones as poll shows widespread anxiety about care costs.
Young and old share serious anxieties over the cost of caring for a family member who becomes frail, seriously ill or disabled – and say they could not cope on current state help.
With an ageing population and people living longer with serious illness and disability, caring for an older or disabled loved one is increasingly a reality for UK families. There are over 6.4million carers in the UK and latest Census figures showed an 11 per cent increase in the carer population over the last decade.
Now, a Carers UK/YouGov poll of UK adults shows three quarters of the population would be worried about the financial impact of giving full time care to a family member.
The financial support for people looking after loved ones currently isn’t enough to stop families falling into debt and financial hardship.
Those aged 35 to 54, the age group most likely to be taking on caring responsibilities for older parents, expressed greatest concern - with over half of 35 – 44 year olds saying they would be very worried about the financial impact on their family if they had to give full time care to a family member.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “We will all care for an older or disabled loved one or need care at some point in our lives.
“The financial cost can push family finances to breaking point as they face the extra costs of ill-health and cut working hours or give up work to care.
“As more and more of us face the responsibility of caring for loved ones, today’s poll makes it clear anxieties around coping financially when caring for loved ones cut across generations.”
But this worry also significantly impacts younger generations. Four in 10 of those aged 18 to 34 said they would be very worried about how they would cope financially if they had to care for a family member.
A further 67 per cent of UK adults said they would either be unable or would struggle to pay household bills if they had to give up work to care and rely on the current level of state help for carers.
The poll showed most of the adult population - almost eight in 10 - believe they should receive more than £100 a week if they have to give up work to care for a family member - a figure almost double the current basic benefit for carers (£58.75 a week for Carer’s Allowance).
The findings coincide with the launch of a Carers UK inquiry into the costs and financial consequences of providing unpaid care for relatives.
The Caring & Family Finances Inquiry will provide a definitive analysis of the financial impact of caring, as well as assessing the impact of Government’s changes to the benefits system on carers and their families.
Heléna added: “The financial support for people looking after loved ones currently isn’t enough to stop families falling into debt and financial hardship. Now, on top of this, families who are already struggling face a blizzard of cuts and changes to the benefits system.
“Our Inquiry will deliver a comprehensive picture of the impact of this growing pressure on family finances and deliver a verdict and recommendations on the impact of the Government’s benefit changes on carers.”
Comment on this Article
The 12 month Carers UK Caring and Family Finances Inquiry will investigate how caring effects savings and debt; the hidden costs of caring; the financial impact of giving up work or reducing hours to care and the costs of paying for care. It will analyse the impact of existing welfare policy on carers and develop policy on future reform of financial support for carers.
Carers UK supports carers and provides information and advice about caring, influences policy through our research based, and campaigns to make life better for carers.