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Caregiving intensity and retirement status in Canada

A number of OECD countries have implemented policies encouraging longer labour force participation in tandem with policies encouraging informal care provision in the community. To better understand how these policies may affect the available pool of caregivers and labour force participants, we need more evidence about how informal caregiving is related to retirement status and timing. We assessed the association between caregiving intensity and retirement status for individuals aged 55 to 69 using the Canadian 2007 General Social Survey, a cross-sectional survey with 23,404 individuals. We used multinomial logistic regressions to determine whether providing different intensities of informal care (i.e. hours of weekly care) was significantly associated with the likelihood that an individual was fully retired, had retired and returned to work, had never retired and was working part-time or full-time, or was a labour market non-participant. We found that higher intensity caregiving was associated with being fully retired (relative to working full-time) for men and women (relative risk ratios, 2.93 and 2.04, respectively). For women, high intensity caregiving was also associated with working part-time (1.84) and being a labour force non-participant (1.99). Male and female high intensity caregivers were more likely to be retired before age 65. Our results highlight the importance of measuring caregiving intensity and multiple paths to retirement, which are often overlooked in the caregiving and retirement literature. They also indicate that a policy context encouraging both later retirement and more informal care may not be reasonable without flexible work arrangement options.

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Social Science & Medicine

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