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Juggling work with family care in later life                          Archive

Juggling work with family care

     Life at 50-plus

     “I enjoy the job.. .I’m not sure I’d be willing to give all that up to help look after the grandchildren.” Interview with a working grandmother  

 

Pressure for people in their 5Os and 60s to stay in paid work is likely to mean that fewer grandparents are available in future to help their working daughters and sons with childcare arrangements. 

 

At the same time, older employees will face increasing difficulties with their own ‘work—life balance’ as they attempt to juggle work with caring responsibilities for older relatives, as well as grandchildren.  

 

A research study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights trends that will be persuading employers to retain older staff, especially women, in the work force, with the new imbalance of older people to younger in the population. 

More than a thousand people aged over 50 took part in the study, along with retired staff from two local authorities. Findings are as follows:  
 

  • People between 50 and retirement are a ‘pivot’ generation, combining work and care roles. Two-thirds are in paid employment, while six out of ten 50-year-olds have living parents and a third have grandchildren.  

  • Nearly half the local authority staff surveyed had some caring responsibility. One in three looked after an elderly relative or friend, one in six provided care for a grandchild and one in ten did both.  

  • Almost as many men as women said they provided care, but women’s caregiving was more intensive. More than a third of those providing care were doing so for fewer than five hours a week. However, a quarter of women caregivers and an eighth of men were providing 20 or more hours of informal care a week.  

  • Few of the employees interviewed wanted to give up their jobs in order to take on caring responsibilities. Although some grandparents were prepared to give up work or reduce their hours to look after their grandchildren, there was a general reluctance to offer full-time care.  

  • Although staff over 50 often spoke of the satisfaction they derived from their caring responsibilities, almost half said it had made their life more stressful and a third said it left them with less time for their family and themselves.  

  • In some cases, the health of carers had suffered as a result of trying to absorb the impact of a demanding caring role, without it affecting their work life.  

  • Flexible working hours came top of the list of the workplace policies that employees thought would help them to balance working and caring responsibilities. There was strong support for the opportunity to work reduced hours.  

 

The pivot generation: Informal care and work after fifty by Ann Mooney and June Statham with Antonia Simon is published for the Foundation by The Policy Press and available from Marston Book Services, P0 Box 269, Abingdon, Oxon 0X14 4YN (01235 465500), email:  direct.orders@marston.co.uk     

 

 

 

Further details of the survey on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website:  www.jrf.org.uk        

To view previous articles  - see the laterlife-interest index page

 


 

laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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