It reveals 29% of people have needed to care for an elderly relative at some point during their life. Of this, a fifth (20%) have taken time out of work to do so, 14% have cut their hours at work and one in ten (10%) have quit their job altogether to provide the necessary level of care for an elderly relative.
This undoubtedly has an impact on the carer’s finances, both in lost earnings but also the money needed to fund caring for an elderly relative, be that through adapting the home or additional travel costs. For men the financial impact is much greater – they put the cost at £8,138, compared to £3,187 estimated by women. The cost of funding care is currently higher for millennials than any other age group, as they say they have spent an average of £6,183.
An ageing population has led to a growing number of people becoming ‘sandwich carers’: those who are looking after their children under 16 as well as their elderly parents. This is set to become an increasingly pressing issue in coming years. Healthy life expectancy, the period when people are still in reasonably good health, has not kept pace with life expectancy, meaning that people can expect to spend an average of 16-19 years2 in failing health.
However, when it comes to putting financial plans in place to cover the cost of long-term care, many are reluctant to do so. A quarter (25%) of the population haven’t thought about how they will fund long- term care, 24% believe they will rely on state provision, while 23% simply don’t know.
What is perhaps more concerning is the lack of planning for those who are already in later life. Over a quarter (26%) of those in their 50s haven’t thought how they will pay for long-term care. 20% of those in their 60s, and 25% of those in their 70s don’t know how they will meet future care costs.
The risk then becomes that increasing numbers of people will rely on state provision to support them with long-term care costs. This is a conclusion that 24% of respondents have already come to, rising to 28% amongst people in their 60s. 29% of those in their 70s believe that they will be relying on state provision to fund their care into old age.
Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said: “Health, wealth and happiness has long been the prescribed recipe for a good life. But as we know all too well, if just one of those components is missing the knock-on effect can be devastating.
“When it comes to health, we aren’t always in control of what happens, and while we are living longer and spending more years in good health, the number of years we live in poor health has also increased. This is especially true for women, who live longer than men, and unfortunately, the majority of these extra years can be spent in poor health. Our research shows this not only affects those suffering from ill health or illness, but it affects their loved ones too.
“While the government is committed to solving the social care crisis it won’t happen overnight – there is no easy fix. As we await further clarity from the new prime minister people must take their future into their own hands and ensure they are prepared for life’s twists and turns. While our own mortality or possible ill health is something few of us like to dwell on, taking steps to plan for your own care in later life is essential.”