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UK adults are dedicated carers

22nd September 2006

The cost of caring for loved ones has been highlighted by research from an insurance provider.

Adult children invest 540 hours a year caring for their parents, a study by Liverpool Victoria has found.

But while many children would like to be the primary carer, it can be difficult to manage other aspects of family life for a growing number of people.

One in five British adults now have elderly parents requiring care or assistance, researchers discovered, and many put looking after their elders before their own children. Furthermore, family carers spending an average of ten and a half hours a week visiting and running errands.

It is not just a question of time either: the amount of unpaid assistance that elderly parents receive from their children amounts to £33 billion a year.

"Planning for the future of the family is something that everyone needs to do, to ensure that elderly parents can have the best possible care, without their children having to put their own lives on hold," said Nigel Snell, communications director at Liverpool Victoria.

But this is perhaps easier said than done, as half (48 per cent) of those with parents who need care say that they have had to put some aspect of their lives on hold in order to look after them.