In turn, 1.5 million grandparents say they are missing out on helping take care of their grandchildren because their own children can’t afford to live close by.
The research also shows that one in ten parents believe their children want to live closer to them but are unable to due to soaring housing costs.
Kay Boycott, director of policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: "We all know how valuable it can be to have your family close by, but these figures show the shocking impact that spiralling housing costs are having on families.
"Many families desperately need the support and care of relatives but the current housing crisis is making it impossible for family members to support each other in the way they want to."
There are currently 398,000 elderly people in residential care. In the UK the average annual fee for a single room in a private residential home is £24,492, and for a nursing home it is £35,100.
Additionally, research from 2008 shows that parents continually face increasing costs for childcare and the yearly cost of a typical nursery place for a child under two is now £8268 in England.
Boycott said: "It seems a false economy not to invest in affordable housing when the cost of elderly care and child care is so high.
"This is not just about the financial cost for people. Grandparents are missing out on precious time watching their grandchildren grow up, and many elderly people may not be getting the support they need."
The survey also revealed that 22% of 18-34 year olds stated that they were still living at home, with 45% of these people blaming high housing costs. Over half of this group reported that developing and maintaining relationships was harder because of living at home with their parents.
Boycott said: "We must urgently address this situation and make sure housing is a key issue ahead of the forthcoming election. That’s why we are calling on people to log on to our website today and join in the debate about the need for more affordable housing."
The figures come from new research undertaken by the charity to examine the way unaffordable housing is having a huge impact on every part of people’s lives. In particular, the research aims to examine the impact high housing costs is having on relationships and family life.
Members of the public can share their experiences on Shelter’s discussion forum at www.shetler.org.uk/campaigning
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