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3 in 4 fear cost of caring

07 February 2013

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 6.4 million carers in the UK and latest Census figures showed an 11% increase in the carer population over the last decade.

Today (Friday) 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 (76%).

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 (51%) 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.

But the 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 (40%).

A staggering 67% 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[1].

The poll showed most of the adult population – almost 8 in 10 (77%) - 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 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.

“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.”

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.
  • To interview Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, other spokespeople or for case study interviews on the costs of caring, contact Carers UK.

Contact:

Steve McIntosh 0207 378 4937 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chloe Wright 0207 378 4942/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Out of hours mobile: 07875724088

Notes for Editors:

  • Carers UK has a range of information and advice on how carers will be affected by the Government’s planned changes to benefits. www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/briefings/item/2939-carers-and-the-welfare-reform-act
  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2073 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
  • Asked, if at all, how worried they would be about the financial impact of caring full-time for an older or disabled loved one: 
    • 43% said very worried and 32% said they were fairly worried; 14% were not very worried and 4% not at all worried.
    • 77% of 18-24s, 78% of 25-34s, 81% of 35-44s, 77% of 45-54s and 71% of respondents aged 55+ said they were either very or fairly worried.
  • The main carers’ benefit, Carer’s Allowance, is £58.45 a week for a minimum of 35 hours caring – equivalent to £1.67 an hour. A total of 77% polled in the Carers UK/ YouGov poll thought that if they had to give up their job to care for a family member if they became disabled, seriously ill or frail, they would need to receive over £100 a week in order to meet the cost of their household bills.
  • For more information on the Carers UK Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, please visit www.carersuk.org

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