When talking about elderly care, most people think you mean care homes – which currently house around 400,000 individuals across the UK.

But this figure pales into insignificance against the number of people receiving care from an unpaid family member or friend.

7 MILLION. Yes, that’s right – at least 7 million people are being looked after at home by an army of willing, or otherwise, carers.

Here are a few more facts to make you wince, and come to the inevitable conclusion that the demand for care home beds is going to come under increasing pressure in the months and years to come. All the figures below are taken from a 2014 report published by Carers UK.

  • There are more than 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK
  • 1.4 million of them work for over 50 hours a week
  • 1.3 million are aged 65 or over
  • 1 million care for more than 1 person
  • It’s estimated that 60% of us will become an unpaid carer in our lives

And here’s a final fact: The unpaid care provided by the nations’ carers is worth an estimated £119 BILLION PER YEAR – considerably more than total spending on the NHS.

So let’s do some simple maths on this…

While the total number of people aged over 55 in the UK is 28.3 million, by my estimate from the above figures, there are around 14 million people in the UK right now who are either receiving unpaid care or providing it. That’s a pretty mind boggling number.