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Elderly carers to be given respite holidays

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Elderly carers to be given respite holidays



Looking after young children can be exhausting at the best of times, but millions of parents now find themselves looking after elderly relatives at the same time. This growing problem is causing so much concern government ministers are now considering introducing respite holidays for elderly carers.The scheme would give respite holidays for those people who have to care for elderly parents as well as support for their own young children.


This so called ‘sandwich generation’ is now in the unique position of having to look after the generation above and below them, and it’s a situation that is set to continue as we all live longer.


Ever increasing life spans and medical breakthroughs mean that people are living longer. Unfortunately many elderly people will start needing help at some stage, and that help will usually fall on their grown children. The paradox is that those people may still be bringing up their own children, and this concern has now reached the corridors of power in Whitehall.

The minister for care in the UK Paul Burstow has said he will publish a White Paper outlining his proposals for care reform later this month. He says it will include giving elderly carers legal recognition for the care they provide. This in turn will give them access to support services, to help them have holidays, and get their own respite breaks.


It’s estimated that there are over 1.25 million people in the UK who spend more than 50 hours a week caring for an elderly relative; many of those have the additional burden of young children.


Campaign groups and charities have been warning for some time that care in the UK will face a crisis if something isn’t done. Elderly carers are often forced to give up careers to look after elderly relatives, so the forthcoming White Paper does offer some hope to those people.


The Law Commission recently recommended that carers should receive new legal rights so White Paper is a follow up to their recommendations. There is broad cross part support for these ideas, so the idea is expected to be in the next Queens Speech.


Under the plans councils will have a duty to consider if a carer wants to work, take education, or simply take a respite holiday.

Head of policy at Carers UK Emily Holzhausen said she would ‘warmly welcome’ legal recognition, but she warned that these proposals must be backed up with more money. In the current economic climate she warned that the good intentions will be lost if the councils can’t implement the proposals through lack of cash.


Living longer is one of the consequences of improved medical services, better diets and cleaner living environments, and should be welcomed on the whole. We should never forget the contribution elder members of the family can make, particularly for young children. The problem is, of course, many elderly people do need extra help at some stage, these proposals to give respite holidays to elderly carers can only help what can be a difficult situation for millions of families.


Ana Nursing – Find Homecare and Personal Carer for the Elderly and Quality Disabled in London, UK – Personal Care for Elderly, Live in Carer, Residential Nursing and Respite Care Assistants in London, UK.

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  • Posted On June 23, 2012
  • Published articles 5

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