New figures from Age UK show 'invisible but invaluable army' of the oldest carers saving the state billions.

New figures released this morning by Age UK show there is an army of carers amongst the oldest in our society (80 years and over) who are between them saving the health and care system a massive £5.9bn a year by providing unpaid care.

Over the past seven years the number of carers aged 80 and over has rocketed from 301,000 to 417,000, an increase of nearly 39%.  Now 1 in 7 people aged 80 and over provide some form of care to family or friends.

The total number of carers aged 65 and over who are providing informal care for another person has risen from nearly 1.7 million (1,675,000) to over two million (2,076,000) in the last seven years.

Carolilne Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said,  "We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of over 80's who are caring, many of them virtually full-time, saving the country nearly £6 billion a year in the process.  More of that money needs spending on supporting them, as well as the people they look after, usually their partner, but sometimes a friend or disabled adult child."

"The task of providing care ought to be fairly shared between individuals, families and the State, but as public funding falls further and further behind the growing demand for care we worry that very old people are being expected to fill the gap.  They can't do it all on their own and we shouldn't take advantage of their determindation to do right by those they love."

Age UK is one of the seven charities driving this year's Carers Week, which will take place from 6-12 June 2016 across the UK.