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Census: 35% surge in the number of older carers

16 May 2013

1.3 million over-65s caring for disabled or older loved ones

Almost 1.3 million (1,277,693)[1] older people are devoting their retirement to caring for ill partners or their own ageing parents. Census figures show that this is a staggering increase of 35% in the last ten years.

According to figures published today (16th May 2013) by the Office for National Statistics, this army of ageing carers has rocketed by over a third in the last ten years. The number of older carers has risen more rapidly than the total number of carers – which has increased by 11 % to 6.5. million in the UK.

The UK’s ageing population means that more and more over-65s are spending their planned golden years caring for the ‘older-old’ often frail parents in their 80s and 90s. Many are grandparents juggling helping out with their grandchildren as they also care for their own older parents. Others are demonstrating the reality of ‘in sickness and in health’, as they spend their retirement caring full-time for ill partners with conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s Disease.

Following figures last week showing that spending on social care services has fallen by almost £3 billion in the last three years[2], because of public spending cut-backs, Carers UK has called on the Government to support the country’s ageing carers.

Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “Our ageing population has created a new generation of older people who are devoting their retirement to caring for their parents, relatives and partners – a challenge previous generations have not faced.

Our care services are already struggling to support the millions who care for loved ones. Government must act, not just to preserve the dignity and independence of older people who need support, but also prevent their partners and children from being pushed to breaking point caring for them.”


  • 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:

  • Full Census data can be found at
  • Carers UK supports the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member, provides information and advice about caring and campaigns to make life better for carers.
  • Carers UK’s Adviceline provides advice and information on the practical and financial support available to carers. Carers can ring 0808 808 7777 (Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign. In 2013 takes place from Monday 10 to Sunday 16 June. Its aim is to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for. It does this by: 

-          Raising the profile of the role of caring in the national, regional and local media and encouraging groups and organisations to take part and organise events and activities.

-          Helping the public identify themselves as carers and access the support, advice and information they need.

-          Celebrating and recognise the contribution the UK’s 6.5 million carers make to the people they care for and their communities.

-          Highlighting the challenges of caring and campaigning for sustainable funding for services and support for carers and the people they care for.

This year the theme for Carers Week is Prepared to Care? Every day at least 6,000 people start caring. Becoming a carer can impact significantly on a person’s life – it takes time, energy, can leave you isolated and can be costly.

Carers Week 2013 is being delivered by a partnership of national charities: Age UKCarers TrustCarers UKMacmillan Cancer SupportMarie Curie Cancer CareMS Society and Parkinson’s UK. It is supported by Independent Agethe Stroke Association and Carewell.

[1] These figures apply to England and Wales only – Census figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland are published separately.

[2]The ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) Budget Survey 2013 showed a fall in funding  of £2.68 billion in the three years up to and including 2013/14. 

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