3m young adults live with parents, one in five will care for them too

  • O2 Health mobile care service launches at Tesco to provide peace-of-mind for carers and boost independence for elderly and ill

The UK is fostering a generation of young people unable to leave home owing to high house prices who, just as many of them manage to save the deposit to buy their own place, will then become responsible for the care of parents they’re living with, according to research from O2 Health. Lack of funds to buy will be quickly replaced with conscience as less social care is available for mum and dad.

Official statistics show about three million adults aged between 20 and 34 still live with a parent or parents[i]. Meanwhile, one in five of us will become a carer of a parent or parents at some point in our lives[ii]. That means there are potentially 600,000 Brits who will be living with and then caring for mum and dad. The research coincides with the availability of O2 Health’s new mobile care service, Help at Hand, nationwide at Tesco. It aims to help the elderly, ill and vulnerable remain independent from carers for longer.

On average, young people have to save for a decade before they can afford to buy their first home, which rises to 24 years in London[iii], stopping 20-somethings from flying the nest. This comes at a time when the population is increasingly elderly with 10 million people in the UK over 65 years old.[iv] In large parts of the country nearly two-thirds will have developed a long-term health condition such as dementia, heart disease or diabetes by this age[v]. This creates a vicious cycle, keeping grown children in or near to the family home to provide care when they should be moving out or taking advantage of life’s opportunities.

Not only that, but a staggering one in ten (8 per cent) of carers say they have had to give up work or are considering doing so in order to fulfil their caring role[vi].

The findings have been highlighted by O2 Health to illustrate the need for new mobile technologies to allow people to get the support they need without putting unnecessary demands on those who care for them.

Nikki Flanders, Managing Director, O2 Health, says: “Just as younger people become able to buy for the first time, they may be called upon to look after their parents – especially as social care budgets are cut. But that doesn’t have to mean staying in or near to the family home. They need to consider new mobile care technologies to help them live their own lives.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever to find ways for people with conditions such as dementia or diabetes to get out and about safe in the knowledge that help is the press of a button away. This reduces the need for carers to be on hand all hours of the day and provides the peace-of-mind for them to get on with their lives.”

In March O2 Health launched a new mobile care service called Help at Hand that connects people to those they depend on for care. It comprises a special handset with a fall detector, GPS tracking, designated ‘safe zones’ and a special one-touch button that links to a 24/7 support centre that can contact loved ones, carers, or the emergency services if help is needed.

Help at Hand uses the mobile network so people can call for help wherever there is signal. This differs from traditional fixed telephone line ‘telecare’, which gives people help, but only in the confines of their home – trapping them indoors.

Help at Hand is now available across the country via Tesco pharmacies. It can also be bought on O2’s website, in O2 shops and from 100 Sainsbury’s pharmacy stores. It works anywhere in the UK covered by the O2 network. The service costs £20 per month with a one-off RRP £99 payment to buy the handset.