New Research Reveals the Burdens of the ‘Sandwich’ Generation

07 September 2012

McCarthy & Stone - leading retirement property  developers

Families are bearing huge responsibilities alongside a growing financial burden around the care of parents in later life it emerged today. A study carried out among 1,000 adults aged between 40 and 69 found one third expect to take responsibility for funding the care and wellbeing of their elderly parents, alongside their own children.

Nearly half (47 per cent) find providing care for their parents a financial and time burden, according to the survey by McCarthy & Stone, the market leader in later living. Many are increasingly feeling the pinch and making personal sacrifices to look after the UK’s rapidly ageing population. Over one third (38 per cent) anticipate tapping into their own savings and investments, while one fifth (19 per cent) anticipate having to sell their own property or other valuable items to pay for their parents’ care.

Additional lifestyle changes being made by potentially millions of UK people with elderly parents include one quarter giving up day to day luxuries (26 per cent) and one fifth (20 per cent) giving up holidays.

However, despite the hardships entailed, two thirds think it is right that offspring and the wider family take responsibility for overseeing and managing the care of their elderly parents, with one in ten enjoying repaying them for the care they received as a child.

80 per cent of 40 to 69 year olds worry about their parents’ deteriorating health, with loss of independence and mobility topping the list of concerns (47 and 51 per cent). Home hazards for older people are major causes for concern with over half (58 per cent) worrying about their parents coping with stairs or slippery floors (41 per cent). Inadequate home security and heating for the elderly also cause anxiety for many (42 and 32 per cent).

However, more than one third of people (39 per cent) believe a safe and secure environment helps to promote good health in later life. One third also thinks a healthy diet and exercise can prevent deteriorating health.

“It’s great to see the level of concern and responsibility UK people are showing in caring for their own parents in later life. However, we must do more to alleviate the burden on this ‘sandwich’ generation,” says Ali Crossley, Executive Director at McCarthy & Stone. “With the number of over 65s set to grow from ten million today to nearly 15 million by 2031, and the continuing debate over Government healthcare funding, it’s right for us to be concerned about care for older people in the UK.

“Many older people are forced into residential care, which quickly drains their resources and those of the state.  Specialist housing offers a better way, with residents having a better quality of life.  They can retain home ownership and have care and support on hand for when it is needed. Just a modest increase in the provision of this kind of housing would also save the state over £300m* a year in reduced health and care costs, help to stimulate the economy and free up much-needed family housing.”    

McCarthy & Stone provides two different kinds of development dependent on customer’s needs. Retirement Living schemes offer an active, independent retirement lifestyle with the peace of mind of additional security, low maintenance and companionship. In comparison, McCarthy & Stone’s Assisted Living developments are designed for those requiring a little more help and support in later life, with additional facilities such as a waitress service restaurant and flexible support services including personal care and domestic assistance. Both offer continued home ownership.

For further information, telephone 0800 919132.

*The Institute of Public Care ‘Identifying the health gain from retirement housing’ report



Notes to editors:


At McCarthy & Stone everything we do is built around a belief that later life can be rich, rewarding and fulfilling. We believe it is an opportunity to rediscover the things you love and explore new territory. Helping people make the most of it is our purpose and our passion, so on a daily basis we strive to think differently and care more about transforming later life.

Over the past 35 years, we have become Britain’s leading provider of retirement apartments, pioneering the concept of purpose-built accommodation for older people. We provide 70% of this type of accommodation, having built more than 45,000 apartments in 1,000 different schemes. We also have a range of financial and estate management products and services specifically designed to help people live later life to the full. 

We offer a choice of different types of retirement developments that includes Later Living and Assisted Living. Our Later Living developments offer the independence of retaining home ownership while living in an apartment specifically designed for later life; provide more time to embrace the possibilities of later life through reduced maintenance and admin, as well as peace of mind and companionship. Assisted Living developments offer all of this, plus a helping hand through flexible care and support packages that make life that little bit easier.

McCarthy & Stone offers the widest variety of award-winning one and two bedroom apartments that are for sale in over 200 locations across the UK.

For further press information: Heather Power, Haslimann Taylor PR, 0121 355 3446