‘It could now cost more to look after an elderly parent than to raise a child’

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PAYING for the care of just one elderly parent for six years now costs £231,843 – which is the same as the average cost of raising a child for 21 years, according to new research.

The shocking scale of the UK’s looming care crisis has been revealed with the research showing that people are underestimating the cost of ten years of elderly care by £77,300 per person.

People estimate the average cost of residential elderly care for one person to be £28,358 per year.

But analysis on behalf of uSwitch.com shows the cost is now £36,088, a difference of almost £8,000 a year.

It also means that the cost of looking after one ageing parent for a year far exceeds the average annual UK salary, currently estimated at £27,271.

Just six years of care for one parent now costs £231,843, the same as the average cost of raising a child for 21 years – including any university fees.

The research – conducted by Opinium for uSwitch.com last month among 2,006 UK adults – also reveals that families are simply not talking about elderly care.

In fact, eight per cent of families in Leeds have never discussed paying for care and only 12 per cent of over 55s across the UK have discussed their own care costs with their children.

People also have differing views on who is going to pay for the care.

Three quarters of people aged 18 to 34 expect that their parents will foot the bill, but a third of people over 55 are unsure about how they are going to afford to pay for their care.

Overall, uSwitch.com found that just 11 per cent of people feel prepared for the cost of their parents’ elderly care.

A total of 18 per cent of homeowners in Leeds say they will sell their home it to finance their care.

Tom Lyon, money expert at uSwitch.com, said: “These findings show how unprepared we are when it comes to funding the care for our elderly parents.

“It is a sobering thought that it could now cost more to look after an elderly parent than to raise a child, adding extra pressure on families when household budgets are already squeezed.”

Mr Lyon added: “Families who do not have their affairs in order and are unable to access Government support could be facing a future of crippling debt.”

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