‘Carers’ In Their 80S Increasing In Numbers In UK
Lack of state support in the UK has made people in their 80s take up the role of ‘carers’, an unpaid care that they provide to their family or friends.
As a result, the number of people in the age group of 80 or older who are now relied on as carers has increased drastically in the last seven years, according to a survey carried out by a charity by the name of Age UK.
The survey showed that in the year 2009, an estimated 301,000 people in their 80s were carers in the UK. The percentage of carers has now risen dramatically to 40%.
Figures released this morning by Age UK show that the army of carers are between them saving the health and care system a massive £5.9bn a year by providing unpaid care.
Age UK said that one in seven of the “oldest old” in UK now provide some sort of, that is unpaid, to their family members or friends.
UK now has an estimated 417,000 people in all in the age group of 80 or older.
The charity said that over half of these carers worked for more than 35 hours a week which made them feel exhausted and also worried about how long they might be able to carry on with these duties.
Lack Of State Support
The charity said that the large increase in the number of carers in the past few years can be attributed to an increase in the percentage of ageing population and also to a lack of state support in the UK.
The findings of the survey come from a yearly representative household survey of 15,000 people who are aged 60 and older.
The survey results obtained were multiplied to give an estimate for the whole of the UK.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said,
“The task of providing care ought to be fairly shared between individuals, families and the state, but as public funding falls further and further behind the growing demand for care, we worry that very old people are being expected to fill the gap. They can’t do it all on their own and we shouldn’t take advantage of their determination to do right by those they love.”
The charity Carers UK has called for the state to make extra investment in social care services and has stressed the need for NHS to meet the increasing demand.
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy at Carers UK, said,
‘Older carers make an enormous but often hidden contribution to our society and the levels of care being provided are staggering. But, we hear time and again from carers that this comes at a cost to their own health and wellbeing, unable to leave the home or get sufficient breaks form caring.
‘Our ageing population calls for greater investment now, from Government, social care services and the NHS to meet the increasing demand for care but also support the rapidly expanding numbers of older people who are themselves providing care. Action is urgently needed to ensure that older carers have the support they need and are not left caring alone by shrinking support services.