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Juggling work and care: the experiences of working carers of older adults

Employers are increasingly aware of the need for family-friendly policy and practice to be developed in the workplace in order to support those who have caring responsibilities for older adults, as well as, or instead of, children. A number of factors have contributed to this growing awareness, not least demographic changes, which have resulted in the ageing of Britain’s population, with potentially greater numbers of people needing care and support in old age in the future (Bernard and Phillips, 1998; George, 2001). Alongside this, there are fewer younger people in the population. Together with changes to the nature and structure of work, this means that there is a growing need to recruit and retain women employees – traditionally the major caregivers. The public sector in particular is facing difficulties in recruiting and retaining a variety of staff. Its workforce is ageing and many employees in their 40s and 50s are increasingly likely to have informal caring responsibilities. The competing demands on women have led to work-life issues becoming a concern of public agencies, which are attempting to modernise their traditionally inflexible services to support both older people and carers. This report presents the findings of a study that investigated how working carers and managers perceived and experienced existing workplace policies and practices designed to help them manage work-life roles.

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Joseph rowntree foundation
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