Grandparents say family would struggle without their help
Regular free care allows parents to work to support children
Two-fifths of over-50s providing regular care for their grandchildren feel the family would have struggled financially without their help, according to Age UK.
The charity found 40% of grandparents in this age group who have regularly cared for their grandchildren feel this way.
The research was released ahead of Grandparents Day tomorrow.
More than half (57%) of grandparents providing regular childcare believe their help has enabled their own children to work more to support their family.
Had they been unable to look after their grandchildren, a fifth (20%) of grandparents who have provided regular care feel the parents would have been unable to continue working, over a third (35%) felt they would have had to reduce their hours, and over half (54%) said the parents would have had to pay for formal childcare.
Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of those providing regular care do or have done so at least once a week, with over one in 10 (12%) looking after their grandchildren at least once a day.
More than 1,000 grandparents aged 50 and over from the UK were surveyed, of whom just over 420 provided regular care for their grandchildren.
The research also looked at the impact on grandparents themselves.
Just over a fifth (22%) of those who provided regular care for their grandchildren stopped work or reduced their hours in order to do so.
Age UK is urging grandparents aged under state pension age who regularly look after their grandchildren aged under 12 to check whether they are entitled to claim national insurance (NI) credits. Doing this could help to boost their state pension.
Age UK’s charity director, Caroline Abrahams, said: “Many grandparents play a vital role in the care of their grandchildren, enabling their own children to stay in work and provide for the family.
“But many are unaware that they could be claiming extra credits to boost their state pension which could make a significant difference to their retirement income.”
Age UK said any grandparent who thinks they may be entitled can call the charity’s advice line in 0800 169 6565 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk for more information.
Many are unaware that they could be claiming extra credits to boost their state pension which could make a significant difference to their retirement income. AGE UK DIRECTOR CAROLINE ABRAHAMS