One third of 'Sandwich Carers' struggle with basic living costs

The Momentum UK Team 11 June 2013

Research released today by the Money Advice Service to coincide with Carers Week (10th-16th June) reveals the financial pressures faced by people with caring responsibilities.

The report has found that 10% of adults in the UK are Sandwich Carers - people who care for both young families and older relatives - which is around 4.7 million UK adults. Almost a third (32%) of Sandwich Carers are struggling to cover basic living costs, with over 1 in 5 (22%) admitting that they are in debt and finding it difficult to cope.

The Money Advice Service warns that the number of Sandwich Carers appears set to rise, due to the combined effect of an aging population and increased tuition fees and house prices keeping grown up children at home for longer.

Sandwich Carers are having to make changes to their lifestyles to accommodate their caring responsibilities: 25% have had to reduce their working hours, with a further 25% forced to stop working altogether, which has had negative effects on their finances. 49% of Sandwich Carers say they spend up to £10,400 per year on the one or more generations they care for. To cover this cost, 29% have dipped into their savings, with 16% turning to credit cards or overdrafts to support themselves.

Caroline Rookes, CEO of the Money Advice Service said:

“This research highlights the real financial strain which Sandwich Carers are under, and how people with a dual-caring role face a multitude of pressures, which vary from family to family.”

She went on:

“We want to reassure carers they’re not alone, we’re here to help.”

The report also revealed confusion among carers over where to turn for advice, with 70% saying that they would benefit from access to advice and support.

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, said:

“Sandwich Carers are often put in a very difficult position and have a real balancing act to play juggling the needs of caring for both young and old. Add to that financial pressures and you create a pressure cooker effect. We must come together as a society to do more to help people care.”