One in seven parents are faced not only with looking after their children – but also supporting their own mothers and fathers.
A study by the Co-operative Group has found 15 per cent of parents with dependent children are having to support parents at the same time, with two-thirds of them agreeing this is creating major financial strain for them.
The hardest hit group are those with under-18s at home whose double commitment costs them £3,505 a year – a fifth of the average take-home salary.
And even for those families where the children have reached adulthood, the 'bank of Mum and Dad' still applies, with annual costs still at £2,543 a year.
The top area in which children support their adult parents is food costs – with 45 per cent doing so, while 36 per cent contribute to bill costs.
Other common help includes funding purchases of white goods, meeting rent or mortgage payments and aiding the paying off of debts.
Head of banking at Co-operative Financial Services Robin Taylor said: "Compared with previous generations, the higher costs of housing, providing care for the elderly and everyday living, have resulted in a squeezed generation, who are having to re-adjust their views of the lifestyle they thought they would have been enjoying at their age."
While some older people may have their children to rely on to help pay energy bills and debt, many will not and good advice will be required for such people to find a solution that works for them.
A recent study by the Guardian newspaper indicated an unexpectedly large energy bill or similar sudden shock is something that as many as seven million people may be unable to cope with.
It revealed such people are largely without savings or equity to fall back on in an emergency and that the problem is greatest in parts of Devon.
Posted by Paul Thacker