Bradford

One in 10 pensioners in West Yorkshire care for family

Dorothy and John Muir
Image caption Mr Muir started caring for his wife Dorothy after she had a stroke

More than one in 10 people aged over 65 in West Yorkshire are caring for relatives, research has shown.

Across the county, an average of 11.6% of the pensioner population provide unpaid care to family members.

John Muir, 72, from Halifax, who looks after his wife Dorothy, 76, said him not caring for her was never an option.

The BBC-commissioned research, done by Experian, looks at how areas of England will be affected by an increasing ageing population.

According to charity Carers UK, currently around six million people are carers with that figure expected to rise to nine million by 2037.

Over three million people juggle care with work. However, the demands mean one in five carers are forced to give up work altogether.

Retired vicar Mr Muir became his wife's carer after she had a stroke four years ago.

"There was never a decision for me to make, it was just that the situation was there. She was coming home from hospital and I had to cope.

"At first she was paralysed down her left side, she could only move one finger, but after a while medics got her moving again but it's declined since then."

Mr Muir said caring for his wife at home had been made easier by "excellent" support from Calderdale social services.

"We've been very fortunate, I know not everybody has the same story to tell us.

"Over the last couple of years we've increased the care assistance we're getting. We have carers in the morning and evening, helping Dorothy to get up and get into bed.

"It isn't easy for me. I get tired and haven't been well myself but for as long as it remains possible the situation won't change."

Mr Muir said the couple used a personalised care budget, which allowed them to buy their own care to suit their needs.

"At first all our care was organised by social services but it didn't suit what we needed. We're now given a budget which means we can buy in the care just how we need it."

The Experian research also looked at other issues including how many people aged over 50 are unemployed and examined data detailing care quality.

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