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More families are caring for older relatives despite predictions

27th June 2015

Tens of thousands of families are choosing to care for their elderly relatives rather than put them into homes, as confirmed by official figures released by the Office of National Statistics. Even though pensioner numbers have risen by almost one million in a decade, and predictions that working families would lack the time to provide care, the number of older people in residential homes has fallen.

The ONS has suggested that this shift may be due to better health and increased life expectancy, although high costs and concerns over the quality of care due to recent scandals may be factors too. It would seem that caring for older relatives at home has also become more possible due to it becoming easier to look after people in their own homes, with adaptations such as stairlifts and walk in showers and baths now readily available.

Proportion of older people in residential homes has fallen

In the 2011 national census, it was recorded that 291,000 people over the age of 65 were living in care homes, which is a rise of just 0.3 per cent since 2001. However, in the same time period, the number of people in that age group increased by 11 per cent. It was even recorded that those aged between 75 and 84 demonstrated a fall in the number living in care homes, declining from 97,000 to 88,000 over the ten-year period.

The trend has been described as a ‘positive one’, as it means that people are being cared for at home or in their community, although the rise in worry about care home neglect needs to be addressed. The cost of caring for older people at home is also a concern, as families are having to use their own resources in order to provide for elderly relatives. However, this does mean that inheritance is kept from being used to pay for time in a care home.

Image Credit: Graham Dean (

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.