A recent survey released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this month revealed the impact of caring for those who are living longer. People are staying in work for more years, which is having an impact on care.
Our blog this month looks into the need for care and how long life expectancy is making an impact.
Working and Caring
With an ageing workforce, it is inevitable that more people will need to look after individuals whilst working. As of 2016, informal care was estimated at a value of £59.5 billion per year. There has also been a significant rise in the age of those caring. The ONS revealed that 3 out of 5 carers in England and Wales were over 50 years of age.
An issue that we face is the need to work for longer. As people push back retirement and continue their employment, there will be a clash between the need for and giving of care.
About Unpaid Care
A large proportion of care provided in the UK is unpaid. This comes from family members and friends, placing responsibilities on a number of different people in society. Additionally, the report shows that women are more likely to work part time than men. Below is an infographic demonstrating this divide:
Of those women that work, 24% (1 in 4) provide support alongside their own employment. This differs in men as only 13% (1 in 8) work while providing care. However, men are more likely to look after their spouse, whereas women are caring for a broader range of people.
Of men supporting their other half, more than two-thirds of them are still in work. This means that they are responsible for caring as well as completing external responsibilities.
Another interesting outcome from the report is that the most common type of caring is for a parent. It is estimated that 29% of that provided informally is for this group. Of those taking on this responsibility, 64% are still in work.
ONS also outlined that less than 16 hours a week are spent on informal care for parents. The most time spent caring is given to children (75.6% 16 hours +) followed by spouses (70.5% 16 hours +).
Impact on Carers
As more and more people take up the responsibility of caring, it is important to consider what impact this is having on health and wellbeing. Research has shown that men feel less lonely if they continue to work whilst caring. In total, 17.5% of non-working male carers aged between 52 and 69 years in England reported feeling alone. This is compared to 6.6% in the same age range who were working.
However, the figures are different for female carers. Instead, 13% of those working and 12.3% of those not working said they were experiencing loneliness. These figures show little difference, highlighting how working does not impact on a female carers likelihood of loneliness.
What Does This Mean?
It is crucial that we all consider the personal cost of providing care for our loved ones. As people spend more time working, it can easily become a strain to care for those around us.
Here at Horizon Care we provide a professional and person-centred care service for those around the South West.