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Teens today face ‘decade of caring’

11 June 2014

News stats reinforce need for nation to wake-up to carers needs.

Teenage girls can expect to provide over nine years unpaid care through their lives for disabled, ill, or older loved ones, new figures reveal.

And while the statistics, published during Carers Week, show the call to provide unpaid care will fall less heavily on teenage boys, they will still provide just over seven years.

Carers UK says the figures should be seen as a wake-up call that our ageing population will mean caring will affect us all.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

"Our ageing population means that future generations will see caring for loved ones have an even greater impact on their lives. Today's teenagers will face almost a decade of caring throughout their lives.
These figures should be a wake-up call – showing that our ageing population means we will all care at some point in our lives. But currently families are not getting enough support to care for older parents or ill relatives - too many are forced to give up work, risking financial hardship and exhaustion as they care without the help they need."

Caring responsibilities for older or disabled loved ones are most likely to happen during our 50s and 60s, and the charity says that the figures show we will all now spend a significant proportion of our lives and retirement caring for older parents or ill partners.

According to the new ONS figures on 'unpaid care expectancies', women aged 50 can expect to provide almost six years of the rest of their lives caring, and men just under five years.

Ms Herklots added:

"This radical shift in family life necessitates a shift in the support provided by care services and workplaces. Just as the last generation fought for a step-change in how young parents are supported with childcare – we must now see a shift in how employers and social care services support families to combine caring for older or disabled loved ones."

Carers UK has called for a new settlement for social care funding over concerns that the number of older and disabled people receiving care is falling at a time of rising demand.

Alongside urging employers to provide additional flexibility for the 1 in 9 workers combining work and caring responsibilities, the charity has also called for a new right to 5-10 days of paid 'care leave' to care for older or disabled loved ones.

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Notes for Editors

Facts and stats (Source: Facts About Carers 2012, Carers UK)

Across the UK 6.5 million people - that's 1 in 8 adults - were identified as carers through the 2011 Census. The 2011 Census figures for the UK show an 11% rise in the number of carers since the last Census in 2001 - increasing by over 620,000 to 6.5 million in just 10 years.

58% of carers are female and 42% are male. The Census shows that women are more likely to be carers than men. Caring also tends to affect men and women at different times. Women are much more likely to care in middle age.1 in 4 women aged 50-64 having caring responsibilities, compared to 1 in 6 men.

About Carers UK

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers - our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

About Carers Week

  • Carers Week 2014 runs from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 June UK-wide. Carers Week is an annual UK-wide awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK's 6.5 million carers.
  • Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson's UK, Skills for Care and the Stroke Association, Sainsbury's and Sanctuary Supported Living.

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