The latest eldercare statistics (published in the Lancet Public Health journal) make for sombre reading:
“The challenge is considerable,” said Professor Carol Jagger, from the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing.
“Our study suggests that older spouse carers are increasingly likely to be living with disabilities themselves, resulting in mutual care relationships that are not yet well recognised by existing care policy and practices.
On top of that, extending the retirement age of the UK population is likely to further reduce the informal and unpaid carer pool, who have traditionally provided for older family members.”
Eldercare and business: assessing the data
The numbers indicate an enormous challenge and a sizeable toll to be taken on businesses when family members are not just juggling their own family responsibilities with work but now potentially looking after an elderly loved one too.
And its impact can already be felt. Research highlighted that over a quarter of adults are concerned about balancing work and home life when caring for relatives: two million people have given up work to care for a loved one and three million have reduced their working hours. Moreover, those with heavy caring responsibilities are more than twice as likely to be in poor health.
We know from our own research that supportive employers can play a key role in mitigating the impact of caring responsibilities and forward looking employers are already recognising the issue and reaping the rewards in employee resilience, productivity and performance in the workplace.
For companies around the country, the issue is not an if, but a when. The ageing population and increasing retirement age are now part of life and it’s a challenge that’s facing us all.
The Many Sides of Caring
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