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Carers UK responds to new research highlighting crisis in care by 2032

23 August 2013

New research by Dr Linda Pickard at the LSE published today shows that care is facing a crisis over the coming two decades.  This work serves as a stark warning to Government and society that more care must be provided or families will suffer.

The research shows that by 2017, we will have reached a tipping point in care when the demand from older people needing care will outstrip family members able to meet that need.  It warns that this “care gap” will increase rapidly over the next two decades.  By 2032, 1.1 million older people in England will need care from their families – an increase of 60% – but the number of people able to care for older parents will only increase by 20%. Dr Pickard predicts this will leave a shortfall of around 160,000 carers.

The research warns that families, and women in mid-life in particular, will be placed under huge pressure to juggle work and caring for older relatives, which the LSE says will create inequality in the workplace and could come at a big cost to the labour market.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “As our ageing population leads to rapidly increasing demand for care, chronically underfunded social care services face substantial cuts.  This is leaving older and disabled people without the care they need and creating a new generation of families struggling to balance work, family life and caring for ageing relatives. The fastest growing group of carers is amongst older people themselves who are increasingly spending their retirements caring for ill partners or their own older parents.”

There are currently 6.5 million carers throughout the UK and Carers UK/YouGov polling showed that 2.3 million people have given up work to care, many feeling that they had no other option but to do so.  Women are more likely to be impacted by caring during their working life – they have a 50:50 chance of providing substantial care by the time they are 59, compared with men who have the same chances by the time they are 74. 

A growing care gap? The supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children in England to 2032 is published in Ageing and Society.

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