In 2017, friends and family spent up to £1.7 billion from their own pockets on care for their elderly loved ones.
This figure could increase to £2.8 billion by 2050 due to the growth of the UK’s ageing population.
This growth will mark 2020 as the point at which the 65+ population will outweigh under 15s, putting significant pressure on ‘the squeezed middle’.
Those defined as ‘the squeezed middle’ are under pressure to support offspring whilst also caring for their elderly relatives.
Working class families feeling the financial pinch of family life, defined as the squeezed middle, are under pressure to support and care for their elderly parents or grandparents.
In 2016, there were 1.31 million new requests for care and support from people aged 65+ yet only 46.5% received some form of short or long-term care, leaving 700,850 people requiring help*.
This responsibility commonly falls to friends and family, according to a report by Benenden Health, which quantifies the potential financial and emotional impact of the ageing population on friends and family between 2016 and 2050.
On average, someone caring for one elderly loved one is spending over £2,500 (£2505.30) per year, in addition to funds provided by the individual, which may have reached more than £1.7 billion spent in total last year. This is equivalent to more than £10.6 million spent every hour from public pockets.
In a survey conducted by the healthcare provider Benenden Health, of over 1000 friends and family attending caring duties, almost one quarter (24%) have used their savings and/or pension to fund the cost of care, whilst one third (32%) expect they will need to do so in the next five years.
And it’s not just financial support they’re providing, as one person usually spends 14 hours per month caring, or 168 hours per year. That is equivalent to paying themselves £14.91 per hour; comparable to the average £15 hourly rate for an at home carer**.
In a year, that’s equivalent to around 118 million hours spent by friends and family caring for aging loved ones.
As a result, one third of those surveyed said caring responsibilities also have an impact on their working lives. Some are unable to work as many hours as they’d like or have had to reduce their working hours (30%) whilst others change their shifts regularly (13%) and/or frequently have to leave work unexpectedly (10%).
Other impacts include experiencing mental health issues (12%), struggling for money (14%) and not having enough time for friends, family or themselves (65%).