Seniorcare by Lottie

Informal carers across the UK are being left out of pocket by an average of £217 each month* – and £2,613 per year*, according to new research from Employee Benefit Provider Seniorcare By Lottie.

The research highlights the everyday struggles experienced by sandwich carers, who provide vital care to their elderly loved ones and children, alongside employment and other life commitments.

This is in light of the Carer’s Leave Act, which came into effect on 6th April 2024. Under this act, all businesses must offer a week of unpaid leave per year to provide or arrange care for a dependent (such as an older relative) with a long-term care need.

Seniorcare By Lottie’s new research into the cost of care in 2024 has shown the average sandwich carer in the UK is out of pocket by £2,613 a year* due to the rising costs of caring – even with the additional benefit of receiving Carer’s Allowance. This includes expenses like travel, household bills, and any equipment needed, which can quickly add up and take its toll, both financially and emotionally, especially during the current recession.

Over the last 3 months, there has been a surge in informal carers turning online for support, with a 24% increase** in online searches for ‘feeling trapped caring for elderly parent’. This is driven by limited financial support as an informal carer and balancing the demands of caring in a cost-of-living crisis.

It is estimated that more than two million carers[1] in the workplace will be able to take one week of unpaid leave per year through the new Carer’s Leave Act, but this will be at the discretion of their employer.

From 6th April, all UK employers must offer their employees up to one-week of unpaid leave per year. The employee can then spend this week providing or arranging care for a dependent (such as an older relative) with a long-term care need.

This new legislation will allow carers to take time off work to manage care responsibilities, but Lottie’s Co-Founder, Will Donnelly, is urging the government to offer further guidance and support for carers across the UK:

Will Donnelly, Co-Founder of Lottie and Seniorcare By Lottie, shares, “The Carer’s Leave Act should only be the first step in giving informal carers across the country the recognition and support they need. With an ageing population, access to appropriate eldercare is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing as a society.

It’s estimated that 5 million people in the UK[2] are juggling caring responsibilities with work – that’s 1 in 5 of the workforce[3] – and we need to do more to support carers in the workplace, who are juggling employment, child care and caregiving responsibilities each day.

Our new research highlights the discrepancy in the level of support that’s so urgently needed for carers. With increasing financial pressure on caregivers across the UK, Lottie’s research shows that they are, on average, out of pocket by £2,613—an increase of £119 since last year.

Carers are at a much higher risk of experiencing mental health worries – including burnout, stress, and anxiety – as they don’t prioritise their own needs. We urgently need a solution that eases the financial and emotional pressures on carers”, concludes Donnelly.

In 2021, there were almost 1.2 million[4] unpaid carers aged 65 years and over in England and Wales (just over 1 in 10 of the older population), with almost half of these providing more than 50 hours 5 of unpaid care a week. This led to feelings of anxiety, stress, and burnout.

Meet The Family Caregivers Navigating The Challenges Of Unpaid Care:

Lydia became a caregiver for her step grandfather, and has been struggling with the balance of family life, work commitments and supporting her loved one:

“Caring for a relative is all-consuming.  I try not to let it interfere with my paid work, but the reality is the carers visit him during the working day and if there is any issue I have to respond to it.  And you can only get hold of certain service providers during the working day.

But the consequence of not letting it interfere with my working life is that it massively impinges on my personal life. I have to put aside many hours every week (either in the evening when my kids are asleep, or at the weekends) just to work through my to-do list of things that need to be sorted out for him.

And aside from the fact that it’s time consuming and requires a lot of energy, it’s emotionally draining too. Dementia is a hideously cruel disease and it’s horrible watching my grandfather slip away from me in front of my eyes. 

The job of finding carers was a massive task in itself.  In the end, I had to take a day off work just to be at my grandfather’s house to allow 4 different agencies to come and assess him and put together proposals. I didn’t want to sign a contract with anyone I’d not met in person and seen interacting with my grandad, but this took a huge effort to set up and coordinate.

Family carers need better help to navigate the care system.  I wish there was a simple flow chart that existed that said “Has your relative just received a diagnosis of dementia? If yes, do the following things in the following order.”  As you get more immersed in the world of dementia care, different people/agencies do pass on different pieces of the puzzle, but it’s like trying to do a jigsaw without an image of what you’re aiming for.”

Shaun, a 23-year-old informal carer for his grandma, shares his experience and the impact being a carer has had on his twenties:

“The biggest challenge of being a carer for a family member is, by far, watching a loved family member, who was always such a huge part of my life, grow less able to look after herself but also be aware that something is wrong.

Watching her become upset with herself for not remembering details or make those cognitive connections in her brain any more is really upsetting.

My parents asked that rather than find a job during my Army application (which was my plan after university) if I could instead look after my granny and help her with her daily needs. I could see that my parents, who both worked full time, were in desperate need of help so I agreed.

I really treasure the memories of spending time with my Granny and there were lots of things I appreciated about it, however I’ve now found that my career is behind when compared to friends who are a similar age.

I also found it hard on my social life and considering this was in a very isolated house in rural Worcestershire I found it very isolating when my friends were building their lives. It’s also had a knock on effect now that I find it very hard to see my Granny now, who has advanced dementia as I know that she and I won’t have that relationship again.”

Lottie – a Later Living Marketplace – are calling for greater support and recognition for informal carers across the country who provide continuous care for their loved one, all whilst balancing childcare, employment and additional commitments.

In collaboration with Seniorcare By Lottie.