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Three out of four families worried about elder care

Allianz Global Assistance reveals the number of people anxious about caring for the ageing population increases by 24 percent.

Caring for elderly relatives is a growing concern for people, in 2015, with over three quarters (76 percent) of people expressing concern. This figure is up 24 percent compared to 2014, when 52 percent of  people were anxious about the ageing population. 72 percent of people would be interested in receiving an Elderly Care scheme as an employee benefit

Balancing work and home life, when caring for elderly relatives is the biggest concern (27 percent). Despite fears, 68 percent of individuals haven’t discussed or planned what they would do if a family member needed care after illness or an accident. As fresh fears grow on the back of a new report from the Office of National Statistics*1, which claims that by 2037 one in 10 people in some areas of the UK will be aged 85 or over, research from Allianz Global Assistance in the UK reveals a sharp increase in the number of people worried about caring for elderly parents than they were a year ago*2. In 2014, 52 percent expressed concern, but this has increased to 76 percent in 2015*3, as more people become aware of the reality of needing to self-fund social care costs in the future.

Balancing work and home life pressures remains the biggest concern for people faced with the prospect of caring for elderly relatives (27 percent), with another worry being the financial implications involved in looking after an elderly or sick family member (23 percent). Interestingly, the fear of a lack of support from local authorities is down from 16 percent in 2014 to 10 percent in 2015, placing it below the concern that individuals may have to give up work or reduce their hours to provide care. Despite their potential concerns, 68 percent of individuals have not yet discussed or planned with their families what they would do if an elderly relative needed care after illness or an accident. However, more people expressed how they would be interested in an Elderly Care policy as an employee benefit to help them manage the burden of elder care.

Sarah Ducker, Health Development Specialist at Allianz Global Assistance in the UK, explains, “Perhaps the most interesting finding from our research, given the findings from the Office of National Statistics in relation to the rate of which the older population is growing, is the fact that more people are interested in receiving help from their employer when it comes to elderly care. 72 percent of respondents said they would be interested in an employee benefit package, which is up from 48 percent of people who said the same in 2014. This could indicate that society is seeing a shift of perception in terms of where people will look for support, moving to the security and stability of an employer as well as the family network.

The latest research from Allianz Global Assistance UK also reveals that the number of people who would turn to a family member to get more information on caring for a relative, is down from 13 percent in 2014 to 5 percent in 2015, but 49 percent would now turn to their GP for advice. There has also been an increase in the number of people who would turn to the internet, with 28 percent saying they’d use this resource in 2014, up from just 17 percent in 2013. These findings back concerns of Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of the charity Independent Age, who said of the Office of National Statistics report: “The surge in longevity should be celebrated and is testament to the huge strides we have made, particularly in medical care over the last half century. But to prepare for it, as a society we need to take measures such as continuing to improve our health and social care systems, helping older people stay in the workplace for longer and tackling the risks of loneliness and isolation in older age.”

Concludes Sarah Ducker of Allianz Global Assistance: “There is a need for the gap in social care to be filled by a robust network of care management solutions. Unfortunately, our research has revealed that people fail to accept they need to plan ahead for care, until it may be too late. We are committed to helping families meet the care needs of their elderly relatives and, by providing care cover, employers can also play a key role in helping their staff cope with this growing concern.”

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