An ageing population means that thirty per cent of UK adults are now part of four generation families fueling a rapidly growing ‘sandwich generation’ – the name given to them because they are caught between younger and older family members and unable to spread their time effectively.
A survey has revealed that a massive 65% of ‘sandwich generation’ Britons are struggling to balance the homecare needs of both the oldest and the youngest generations of their family.
Nearly two in three that have already retired said they feel they are too busy caring for other people with 35 per cent admitting to feeling overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing.
The survey was conducted by live in care work specialists, Helping Hands, to highlight the pressures ageing British people are facing trapped in this dual caring role. On average grandparents with parents still alive were spending two and a half days a week helping out with childcare or helping their elderly parents do things such as get to hospital appointments, pay bills and do the shopping.
One in three were also afraid to travel in case either their parents or grandchildren needed them.
Lindsey Edgehill, Care Services Manager for Helping Hands, said: “Instead of enjoying the so-called ‘best years of your life’, people approaching retirement are under more pressure than ever. We are seeing an increasing number of people in their 50s and 60s coming to us to find out more about home care services and live-in care for their elderly parents because the pressure is simply becoming too much.”
“25 per cent of people we talked to in our research identified guilt as the main reason for not considering alternative home health care options but the reality is that taking all the responsibility yourself is not always the best option either for you or your loved ones.”
The World Alzheimer Report released recently highlighted that the cost of informal care (unpaid care provided by family members and others) accounts for 42 per cent of the total cost of dementia worldwide, underlining the huge responsibility our ‘sandwich generation’ carers are facing.
The demands placed on the ’sandwich generation’ have led to one in five suffering ill health and 18 per cent admitted that all the time spent acting as a carer for the rest of the family was effecting their relationship with their partner. One in five unlucky people said they were tired all the time.
Women are feeling the strain more than men with nearly half saying that they feel that they have no time to themselves. One in three women thought they spent too much of their time caring for their families while only a fifth of men felt the same.
Men were also much more likely to look into getting help than women were with one in four women saying that they feel it’s their responsibility to care for their family.
23 per cent are supporting their parents at an average spend of £138 a month whilst one in three are having to support grandchildren financially with an average spend of £118 a month. Most of this money is spent on food, clothes, bills and saving for their grandchildren’s future.
Fourteen per cent also admitted that they felt their quality of life was not as they felt it should be as a result. More than half wished they had more time to go travelling and 48 per cent wanted more time to spend in the garden.
For more information about Helping Hands visit www.helpinghandshomecare.co.uk