BGS responds to Age UK analysis finding over 80s save Government £23 billion a year through the unpaid care they give loved ones

19 December 2019

New figures by Age UK show that an army of carers amongst the oldest old in our society (80 years old and over) provide 23 million hours of unpaid care a week which adds up to 1.2 billion hours of care a year, saving the health and care system a massive £23 billion a year.

Almost 1 in 3 (30 per cent) older people aged 80 and over are carers and since 2010 the number of carers in this age group has rocketed by nearly a quarter (23 per cent) to 970,000 .

The staggering amount of hours of caring a week comes at a cost to carers own health and wellbeing, many of whom already have their own long-term health conditions, and are unable to leave the home or get sufficient breaks from their caring duties. New analysis shows that  7 out of 10 (71 per cent ) have long standing health problems of their own with nearly 1 in 2 (46 per cent) having difficulty with moving about at home, walking or lifting carrying or moving objects.

Furthermore, 24 per cent of carers in this age group are caring for more than 35 hours a week while a further 13 per cent are caring for more than 20 hours a week[v]. As our population continues to age it is estimated that there will be 4.6 million people aged eighty and over by 2030.

The Charity is highlighting the huge but often hidden contribution to our society by older carers while also shining a light on the shocking levels of care being provided by them.

In response to the findings Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

The care provided by many over-80s comes at a cost to their own health. The effect on carers is often underestimated, especially in relation to their physical and mental health. It is crucial the government honours its promise to fix the social care crisis, so that older people are not left to shoulder the enormous burden of caring for a loved one alone, without respite or support. While the invaluable contribution that unpaid older carers bring to our health service and economy must be acknowledged, the current model is not sustainable. If we are going to provide high-quality healthcare to our ageing population, we must also urgently address the unmet needs of their carers."

Read Age UK's full press release here.