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Pensioners becoming ill looking after loved ones, report reveals

Growing numbers of pensioners are caring for loved ones and becoming ill themselves doing so, a worrying new report reveals.

Half of the UK’s carers over the age of 60 are struggling with  problems such as arthritis, heart problems and high blood pressure.

The report – findings Retirement on Hold – Supporting older carers by Carers Trust – highlights the battles some older people are now fighting as they save the taxpayers millions of pounds by caring for their relatives instead of dumping them on the State.

Many older people find the social care system too complicated to navigate while others, particularly women, cannot drive and have to rely on expensive taxis to take their husbands to medical appointments.

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said: “For the thousands of unpaid carers across the UK, there is no such thing as retirement.

“Instead, they are caring relentlessly, with many battling their own illnesses and frailty, with little or no practical and financial support.

“With more than 1.8mn unpaid carers over the age of 60 in England, and with a longer life expectancy, the older generation can expect to care for longer and later into their lives.

“Without more financial support for social care and help on a practical level, they can look forward to working harder without the perks of the job, such as annual leave and occupational health assessments.

“We need local authorities and society generally to think and plan ahead to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of older carers who are a vital resource to our stretched health and social care system.”

According to the 2011 Census, there are 151,674 older carers between the ages of 80 and 84 and 87,346 over 85.

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