The numbers of people aged over 85 requiring round-the-clock care is widely expected to double by 2035 as experts warn that the current system is already at breaking point.
Research carried out in collaboration by Newcastle University and the London School of Economics and Political Science identified the over 85s as the UK’s ‘fastest growing demographic’ with numbers of the age group set to rise to 1.5 million by 2035.
According to Rachel Western, principal at Aon, an employer needs to consider the additional pressures their staff may face: ‘Employees combining working and caring might mean increases in absence rates and presenteeism, with a decline in productivity a resulting factor.’
The number of those aged 65 and over needing 24-hour care is also expected to increase by one third. These age groups in particular are predicted to develop age-related and long-term health conditions such as dementia and diabetes, the research found.
The researchers predict that the numbers of elderly people needing 24-hour help with dressing, bathing and toilet needs will increase significantly by 2035, at 446,000 of the over 85s age group and one million of the over 65s age group.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Carol Jagger from Newcastle University Institute for Ageing and senior author of the study warned that despite the rising numbers of those with care needs, the numbers of unpaid carers were actually declining due to the increased retirement age ‘reducing the informal pool of unpaid carers’ as well as spouses becoming more likely to be living with disabilities themselves.
Western added, ‘In many cases individual situations can be complicated through a lack of clarity on what support or assistance is available for helping to care for an elderly relative.
‘Employee demand for support services in this area is on the increase - with the cost implications employers can face, providing support in this area should be a key consideration.’
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