Government minster, Phillip Lee, suggests families in Britain are too selfish to care for their ‘elderly’ relatives.
Whilst there are ‘selfish’ people in society from my experience of coming into contact with primarily women trying to care for older relatives, successive governments policies and economic strategies has done little to support them in this task.
The Carers Trust provides some insight into the demographics of care in the UK. Their figures suggest
- 58% of women are carers
- 1 in 5 people aged 50-64 yrs of age is a carer in the UK
- 60% of carers have used all their saving to cover the cost of care
- 61% of carers have to borrow money to make ends meet
From my professional, and personal experience, I have found caring for older parents tends to fall upon women between the ages of 55 and 65 years of age. These women are also carers of their grandchildren, because their children cannot afford the high cost of childcare and/or afford to pay high rents due to unaffordable housing, or to afford a large mortgage due to inflated housing costs linked to government policies. Reports suggest many families would have to give up work if grandparents did not help out with childcare. Also we need to keep in mind many of these woman are also trying to support themselves, because they now have to continue to work until they are 67 yrs of age before they can get a pension.
So, Mr Lee, we have many women in the UK today who still work to support themselves, they support their children, their grandchildren and their ‘elderly’ parents. They are not rich women, they often work in low paid jobs, physical jobs, with no professional pension to fall back on.
Indeed in my view these women are heroes, and on top of that they contribute to the estimated £132 billion unpaid carers save the tax payer every year.
So I think it would be nice if these heroic women were recognised and thanked by the Minister.