Supporting carers is not just right, it’s rational

by Peter Watt

This week is “carers week“, when the fantastic contribution and role played by the millions of carers in the UK is celebrated.  It is all very big, or even good, society.  The numbers of those with a caring role is on the increase.  But there is one particular group of carers whose numbers are increasing fast, and that is older carers who care for very old relatives. The reasons for the increase are clear. According to the ONS, the fastest population increase has been in the number of those aged 85 and over, the “oldest old”. In 1984, there were around 660,000 people in the UK aged 85 and over. Since then the numbers have more than doubled reaching 1.4 million in 2009. By 2034 the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to be 2.5 times larger than in 2009, reaching 3.5 million and accounting for 5 per cent of the total population. This is, of course, a fantastic success story with people living longer and living healthier for longer. But it also means that there are many older people who are themselves caring for very old and frail relatives.


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