A new report released by charities Age UK and Carers UK claims that elderly carers are not getting the support they need and subsequently caring for their loved ones is damaging their health.
The charities released figures showing the number of older carers is rising: there are now 1.2 million carers over the age of 65 and 87,000 carers aged 85 or over. The number of carers over 85 has doubled in the last decade, but the amount of support available has fallen. Analysis revealed the number of services available to help or assess their needs has dropped nine percent since 2007, with only 175,000 receiving an assessment from their local council.
More than half the 85+ carers said they provide over 50 hours of care a week, and that they were not in good health themselves. Nearly half said they suffered from feelings of depression and anxiety.
Helena Herklots, Chief Executive at Carers UK, said: "Caring is something that touches all of us at some point in our lives but this research shows that the number of older people are caring for others at a time when they are more likely to need care themselves. Action is needed to ensure that older carers have the support they need so they don't have to care alone."
Fiona Lowry, CEO of the Good Care Group, commented: “We are passionate about helping older people to retain their independence – both carers and those being cared for. For those who do not require a full time carer, short term respite care can provide much-needed support to those caring for their loved ones. Our carers can help with a range of tasks, including personal care, home help, cooking and meal planning or specialist care for specific medical conditions, removing some of the burden from the carer.”