Tens of thousands of home carers who look after vulnerable elderly relatives could be pushed into unemployment, warns the Alzheimer’s Society.
Government cuts are leaving local authority social care budgets “at breaking point”, while struggling home carers are left juggling work and caring duties.
Within ten years, up to one million Alzheimers patients will be dependent upon the care they receive from relatives. This is estimated to save the economy around £11.6bn each year, which is greater than the £8.8bn spent on the NHS.
Head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society, George McNamara, said: “Further government cuts to social care could lead to tens of thousands of working people forced to give up their jobs to look after elderly relatives over the next five years.”
“Workers can’t fit caring responsibilities into a lunch break”, said Mr McNamara.
“Looking after an elderly parent with dementia takes huge amounts of time, energy and emotional stress. Many carers will have no choice but to give up work unless they get better public services.”
Whilst the government has recognised how childcare can help to keep people in work, providing quality assistance to home carers has not been awarded the same level of importance or significance.
Mr McNamara said: “The Government has recognised the need to improve parents’ access to childcare to maintain economic recovery. But sidelining social care for a rapidly growing population of vulnerable older people also poses serious risks to the economy.
“Local authority budgets are at breaking point, economic growth is slowing and a massive wave of cuts in public service is imminent.
“We want the Government to end the crisis in social care and provide a vital lifeline for working families caring for elderly relatives.”