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  1. ITV Report

The pensioners who put their own needs aside to care for disabled family members

Violet Reed is in her eighties, but she is a full-time carer for her disabled son Barry. She is one of Britain's many neglected elderly parent carers.

Violet has cared for Barry for the past 66 years.

He suffers from an incurable brain condition and has been dependent on his mother since the age of three.

The two are frozen in time. She still helps him dress, prepares his meals and looks after him when he is sick.

"Sometimes he can be coughing and he can be sick. There's times I've thought if he went before me that would be good because I'd know where he was," she told ITV News. "But I wouldn't want it."

Violet is a full-time carer for her son Barry. Credit: ITV News

According to the Carers Trust, one in 10 people over the age of 85 is providing unpaid care for a family member - unpaid because when a carer reaches pension age they lose their carer's allowance.

That saves the government about £15bn a year, Age UK has estimated.

Already at breaking point, Britain's social care system is increasingly reliant on pensioners caring for their loved ones for free.

Ron said that knowing he was not alone as a carer was a great help. Credit: ITV News

Ron Keeling, 69, began looking after his sister Carol when their mother passed away.

For years he did so without any support, but now he takes her to Talbot House, a Manchester-based charity that provides support and care for those with learning difficulties.

It is the country's only charity dedicated to helping parent carers.

"I went in there and had a cup of tea and I burst into tears," Ron told ITV News. "I realised I was a carer. To know that you're not alone was brilliant."

Ron has been looking after his sister since their mother passed away. Credit: ITV News

Fran Crake who helps run Talbot House said parent carers face enormous difficulties, even ignoring signs of their own ill health as they put others before themselves.

She worries for the elderly carers who have no support.

"The biggest worry we always have, and we're always saying it - how many [parent carers] are there that we don't know about?" she said.