England faces care crisis by 2032

Categories: Care.

In a report published in Ageing and Society, senior research fellow Dr Linda Pickard says that by 2032 a projected 1.1 million older people in England will require care from their children.

Currently, approximately 675,000 older people in England rely on unpaid care from an adult child to remain living in their own homes. However, an increasing older population, alongside a rise in the number of women in the workforce, is likely to lead to a shortfall of 160,000 care-givers in England.

Dr Pickard says that based on current projections, England – along with other developed countries – will need to provide more formal, paid care services in the decades ahead, reducing a reliance on families. 

Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, agrees: “As our ageing population leads to rapidly increasing demand for care, chronically underfunded social care services face substantial cuts. This is leaving older and disabled people without the care they need and creating a new generation of families struggling to balance work, family life and caring for ageing relatives. The fastest growing group of carers is amongst older people themselves who are increasingly spending their retirements caring for ill partners or their own older parents.”

Carers UK and the government are also calling on employers to better support employees with caring responsibilities. A new report, ‘Supporting working carers‘, warns that as well as losing money, businesses risk losing valuable, experienced employees if action is not urgently taken to enable people with caring responsibilities to remain in work.

New evidence gathered for the report shows that providing carers with better support in the workplace can result in cost savings for businesses. This is because better support of working carers improves staff productivity and staff retention and reduces sick leave and absenteeism rates among staff.

This report also recommends that:

  • employers renew their commitment to flexible working and actively promote the benefits of this approach with other businesses
  • businesses “carer proof” their policies and procedures to ensure they are fit to deal with the UK’s growing care responsibilities 
  • local authorities support the development of a care market that offers more flexible and affordable care and support services that enable carers to stay in work. 

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Carers do an incredible job of supporting their loved ones but too many feel they cannot combine this important role with the jobs they have in the workplace. This has costly implications for businesses and the economy, as well as for the carers themselves.

“This report is a landmark statement from business and  government that more can and should be done to support working carers. There are already many employers who recognise the benefits of helping staff to balance their work and care commitments but we need to spread this good practice to make this the reality in every business.”

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