You might assume that childcare would be the main issue keeping parents awake and anxious at night, but a Which? survey has revealed that 40-60 year olds worry more about supporting their own mums and dads than their kids.
Dubbed ‘the sandwich generation’ because they are in the ‘sandwich’ of caring for both their parents and their children, many 40 to 60 year olds are juggling multiple demands.
In a Which? survey of 1,449 people carried out in September 2017, more than a third (36%) said they worry about looking after or arranging care for elderly relatives. Just one in five (19%) worry about doing the same for their children.
For the sandwich generation, even paying for basic essentials such as food and energy bills (45%) or housing costs (40%) can be a worry. Other financial concerns for this age group include looking ahead to their own older age, with six in ten (58%) concerned about affording care they might need themselves.
Carers’ financial worries
Two-thirds (66%) agreed that there should be more advice available to people arranging care for an elderly relative.
And with over half worrying about the state of their finances, and 39% saying they would struggle for time to arrange care, it can be a perfect storm of limited finances, information and hours in the day.
Claire (not her real name), 43, from London, has two children under 13 and works full-time. When her mother-in-law needed a care home suddenly, she helped organise it.
‘I didn’t feel safe leaving my kids with her anymore. And I wasn’t giving her the care I wanted to. I would have liked to have her live in my house, but it was impossible. Money is tight so I have to go out to work and I have health problems myself.
‘That’s modern life. But I had to do everything – looking online for a home, not knowing what to ask, ringing around to see if there was any space.’
You can use our Which? Elderly Care services directory to search for care homes and other care services in the UK.
Care homes crisis
Our care system is at breaking point, with people struggling to find a good care home when they desperately need it.
Which? research shows that nearly half (48%) of people who arranged care for themselves or a loved one in a care home said there weren’t any places in at least one of the local places they considered, with half having to wait for a bed.
With demand for beds set to rise, the time for action is now. Help us battle the care crisis – support our Care Needs Care Now Campaign.
Our campaign calls for the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) inquiry into the care home market to go beyond the immediate issues of quality, fees and complaints.
It should confront the creaking care sector now and recognise that the national picture hides huge differences in the number of care home places available locally.