Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

`Time-Bomb' Alert as Care Trap Grows

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

`Time-Bomb' Alert as Care Trap Grows

Article excerpt

Byline: By Daniel cochlin

The Government was warned last night it faced a time-bomb within a generation as longer-living elderly parents put a huge emotional and financial strain on workers.

By 2020, the pressures of looking after older people will overtake childcare as the main concern for workers and employers, according to a report out yesterday.

And because of a growing pensions crisis and the fact that older people are living longer, the cost of looking after them is spiralling.

It was claimed last night that the strain of meeting both childcare and elderly care commitments was already tearing people apart and that pensions and savings were going to have to be raided to meet the extra costs.

There were calls for the Government to stump up more cash to meet the impending crisis.

By 2020, an estimated 3.5 million people in Britain will be aged over 80. The figure in 2000 was 2.4 million.

Yesterday's report, commissioned by human resources company Ceridian Centrefile, said the UK would see a vast growth of a "sandwich" generation, juggling careers between the twin constraints of tending to young children and older relatives.

The report says employees will spend more years tending to their parents than their own children and that the stress caused will mean more days lost for the British economy ( three times the rate it is today.

By the middle of the century, it says almost 10 million people will be combining regular employment with unpaid care duties.

Allan Orrick, a campaign worker for Age Concern North Tyneside, said: "Older people are living with their families more and more and that is very hard for them.

"When you have to look after your children, have a job and also look after an older person it becomes very hard. You have an obligation to look after your children and a moral responsibility to care for your parents, and that tears people apart.

"Another problem is that the sons and daughters are getting older as well, which leaves the situation of an 80-year-old mother living with 60 year-old sons or daughters. …

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