Carers struggle to cope with dual demands

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The 'sandwich' generation is struggling with the dual demands of bringing up a young family, caring for elderly parents and holding down a job.

Reported by the Daily Telegraph, a study called The Cost of a Parent by LV=, formerly Liverpool Victoria, the financial services company, presents the shocking facts.

According to their figures elderly parents receive around £21 billion of unpaid care and help from their adult children this year whilst more than 6 million people give up more than 33 hours each month – almost equivalent to a full time working week – at an unpaid annual cost of £3,336.

As many as one in eight adults have elderly parents or in-laws who need assistance. Unpaid care by adult children for their parents costs £113,149 over a 10-year period, the report says. Grown-up children spend more than eight hours a week visiting their parents and running errands for them, while a fifth spend more than 16 hours a week looking after their parents, the report goes on to say.

The problem is being exasperated by a gross miscalculation in the cost of care. The report points out that a residential care home providing nursing care can cost £74,000, or £81 a day, over the average 30-month duration of an elderly person's stay. However, the average adult under-estimates this cost by nearly a third — meaning their children have to help foot the bill or the elderly person's house has to be sold, reports the Telegraph.

Adults with their own children under the age of 18 also face increasing costs in raising their own family.

According to the research it can cost up to £180,000 to bring up a child from birth to the age of 21. A growing problem, says the report, is that these carers, often women, have no opportunity to build up a solid pension with long periods of full-time work at a reasonable rate of pay.

Mike Rogers, the group chief executive of LV=, said: "Caring for elderly relatives is a huge commitment and an increasing number of families are being pulled in all directions."

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults and is being launched at the Labour Conference in Bournemouth.

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