Today, Age UK released a report which highlighted that carers in their 80s have increased by 40 per cent in the last 7 years. Around 417,000 people over 80 years old (1 in 7) look after a loved one, and this saves the NHS and the social care system billions each year. Looking forward, with an ageing population this figure will nearly double in the next decade to 760,000. Most people try to cope as they prefer to stay in their own home as long as possible.
Of the 417,000 people in their 80s providing care 140,000 are doing this at least 35 hours a week. Emily Holzhausen from the charity Age UK states that whilst this saves the country money in the cost of social care, the price being paid is the damage to a carers own health and well-being, and there is a fear of what will happen if they cannot provide the care.
The social care minister, Alistair Burt, said, “Carers make an invaluable contribution to society and we owe a great deal to the love and determination of older carers.” A call is being made to provide more help to carers from the State as carers deserve to take a break.
Independent Living Owner, Mark Booker, commented, “We all sympathise with a person who is unwell because their condition is obvious, whether this is cancer, memory loss, stroke or Parkinson’s. The carer, however, is often neglected, perhaps invisible, yet time and time again when we go into a person’s home, we see the strain a husband/wife is under. These people are often elderly and not in the best of health themselves, but they are often carrying out physical tasks and unable to have a social life. We provide respite care so a carer can have a break. We are pleased the Government is recognising the contribution unpaid carers make and we hope they make more resources available for these people.”