3 out of 4 Families Concerned About Caring for Elderly Relatives

As fresh fears grow on the back of a new report from the Office of National Statistics*1, which claims that by 2037 one in 10 people in some areas of the UK will be aged 85 or over, research from Allianz Global Assistance in the UK reveals a sharp increase in the number of people worried about caring for elderly parents than they were a year ago*2. In 2014, 52% expressed concern, but this has increased to 76% in 2015*3, as more people become aware of the reality of needing to self-fund social care costs in the future.

Balancing work and home life pressures remains the biggest concern for people faced with the prospect of caring for elderly relatives (27%), with another worry being the financial implications involved in looking after an elderly or sick family member (23%). Interestingly, the fear of a lack of support from local authorities is down from 16% in 2014 to 10% in 2015, placing it below the concern that individuals may have to give up work or reduce their hours to provide care.

Despite their potential concerns, 68% of individuals have not yet discussed or planned with their families what they would do if an elderly relative needed care after illness or an accident. However, more people expressed how they would be interested in an Elderly Care policy as an employee benefit to help them manage the burden of elder care.

Sarah Ducker, Health Development Specialist at Allianz Global Assistance in the UK, explains, “Perhaps the most interesting finding from our research, given the findings from the Office of National Statistics in relation to the rate of which the older population is growing, is the fact that more people are interested in receiving help from their employer when it comes to elderly care. 72% of respondents said they would be interested in an employee benefit package, which is up from 48% of people who said the same in 2014. This could indicate that society is seeing a shift of perception in terms of where people will look for support, moving to the security and stability of an employer as well as the family network. 

 The latest research from Allianz Global Assistance UK also reveals that the number of people who would turn to a family member to get more information on caring for a relative, is down from 13% in 2014 to 5% in 2015, but 49% would now turn to their GP for advice. There has also been an increase in the number of people who would turn to the internet, with 28% saying they’d use this resource in 2014, up from just 17% in 2013.

 These findings back concerns of Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of the charity Independent Age, who said of the Office of National Statistics report: “The surge in longevity should be celebrated and is testament to the huge strides we have made, particularly in medical care over the last half century. But to prepare for it, as a society we need to take measures such as continuing to improve our health and social care systems, helping older people stay in the workplace for longer and tackling the risks of loneliness and isolation in older age.”

Concludes Sarah Ducker of Allianz Global Assistance: “There is a need for the gap in social care to be filled by a robust network of care management solutions. Unfortunately, our research has revealed that people fail to accept they need to plan ahead for care, until it may be too late. We are committed to helping families meet the care needs of their elderly relatives and, by providing care cover, employers can also play a key role in helping their staff cope with this growing concern.”