Over three quarters of families rely on older relatives for help around the home

Article date: 13 August 2004

Millions of grandparents act as unpaid homehelps

New research conducted by MORI for Norwich Union Equity Releaseshows how good-natured grandparents help hard-working families savemoney every year by providing free help around the home.

With both parents in many families working full time, olderfamily members are providing a significant level of support with79% of families relying on them for help with DIY, childcare andcooking meals. That's 6.7 million grandparents* saving familiesthousands of pounds each year in home help costs.

The survey showed that:

  • More than a third (39%) of grandparents regularly help withchildcare
  • Almost half (49%) help with occasional babysitting
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) regularly do the school run
  • 43% of older people cook occasional meals for the family
  • More than a third (36%) help with DIY
  • More than a quarter (26%) help with the gardening
  • Nearly one in five (18%) give driving lessons
  • Nearly one third (30%) provide financial advice to theirfamilies

Grandparents who look after their grandchildren during theschool holidays help parents save a small fortune and remove thehassle of finding good-quality childcare. A typical family workingfull-time with two children would spend about £2,064** a year onholiday childcare.

This help is not just restricted to an occasional night ofbabysitting. More than half of grandparents who help out do so morethan once a week: nearly a quarter (24%) do so several times a weekand 9% on a daily basis. This is in addition to the 23% ofgrandparents who regularly do the school run.

Mark Kelly, director of Norwich Union Personal Finance, said:"With many parents working longer hours and facing long commutes towork, there is an increasing reliance on outside support but thiscan be expensive and difficult to organise. This is resulting in anincreasing pressure on the wider family to provide help, withgrandparents providing much of this support. Instead of payingsubstantial sums for a nanny or childcare centre, parents wouldprefer to lean on grandma and grand-dad to look after the kids inthe comfort of their own home."

The Norwich Union Equity Release research also shows that olderfamily members are providing essential help around the home. Forexample, more than four in ten (43%) provide help by cooking anoccasional family meal, and almost a third (30%) play the role offinancial adviser to their families.

Mark Kelly concludes: "It's clear that many families rely on thehelp of grandparents, but with an increasing number of grandparentsforced to work into retirement, this valuable source of help maynot be as readily available in the future."


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Notes to Editors

Research conducted by MORI, 11 - 25 March 2004. 300 people aged21-55 with parents and 300 people aged over 55 with childrensurveyed in face-to-face interviews. The population figures usedare based on all homeowners aged 55+, which is 10.5 million.

* According to MORI there are 9.4 million people in the UK aged55+ with children. 79% of families rely on older people to help outwith babysitting, school runs, DIY, gardening and meals. Based onONS statistics, which show that 90% of this age group aregrandparents, this equates to 6.7 million grandparents/familiesacting as unpaid home helps.

** According to Daycare Trust, the nationalaverage weekly cost of a place for one child in a summer playscheme is £73.71 per week - 6 July 2004. Based on this information,and the assumption there are 14 holiday weeks during the year andtwo children per family, the annual cost saving for parents who usegrandparents to do babysitting is £2,064 (£73.71 x 2 x 14).

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is the UK'slargest provider of life, pensions and investment products and oneof the leading IFA providers. IFAs provide around 75% of thecompany's long-term savings business in the UK.
  • Norwich Union has strategic alliances with building societiesand other leading UK brand names including Tesco PersonalFinance and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media
  • Norwich Union Equity Release Limited No 3286484. Registered at 2Rougier Street, York, YO90 1UU

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