Coronavirus: 'Sandwich generation' spending £1,600 looking after children and parents in pandemic

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2 min read
Brits supporting adult children and elderly parents are feeling the financial impact of COVID-19, according to a study. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Brits supporting adult children and elderly parents are feeling the financial impact of COVID-19, according to a study. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on middle-aged Brits, as they have to spend about £1,600 ($2,134) extra to support adult children and elderly parents.

Overall, half of this group – known as the “sandwich generation” – are supporting either their adult children (43%), or both their adult children and elderly relatives (7%), according to a survey of 1,000 by MoneySuperMarket.

Before the coronavirus crisis, this generation would spend an about £170 a month supporting their adult children or elderly parents. Under lockdown, this figure has more than doubled to £360 – an increase of £190 a month, the research found.

With restrictions having been in place since March, this means many middle-aged Brits have spent about £1,615 extra caring for their adult children and elderly relatives.

Sandwich generation adults in the south-east are supporting their children or elderly relatives the most, spending about £266 a month.

READ MORE: Practical Financial Tips for the 'Sandwich Generation'

They are followed by those in the north-west (£208) and the west midlands (£177).

Over one in 10 (13%) have adult children who have lost their jobs, and 8% said their children had moved home. A fifth (19%) noted their children and parents had their finances adversely impacted by the coronavirus in other ways.

The study found that, as a result of the pandemic, over a third (34%) of the sandwich generation is providing additional support to their adult children and their elderly parents.

Seven in 10 (71%) have not asked for the money to be paid back, despite over a third (36%) having to dip into their savings to support the loans.

A quarter of middle-aged Brits said this has had a negative impact on their finances.

READ MORE: Middle-aged face more years of ill health than baby boomers, study suggests

“The sandwich generation has long been a crucial source of support for many young adults and elderly people,” said Sally Francis-Miles at MoneySuperMarket.

“As a result of the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, our research shows that they’re being leaned upon more than ever before, with costs more than doubling in 2020.

“If you’re a parent who's spending more to support your adult relatives, you may be happy to do so – however, it’s always sensible to make sure your generosity isn’t burning a major hole in your own pocket.

She added: “If you’ve recently had children move home and you’d like them to help out with the bills, have an open conversation about the types of contributions they might need to make.

“Food costs may have dramatically increased with extra mouths to feed and the majority at home for work too.”

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