Supporting caregivers and enabling continued workforce participation are central strategies in Australia’s response to an ageing population, however these strategies have potential disadvantages for carers, particularly women, including reduced workforce participation and retirement income, and poorer health status. This paper explores the nexus between paid work and caregiving for Australia’s baby boomer cohort as this group faces unprecedented pressures to manage paid work alongside caring longer and more intensively for family members, including grandchildren. A sample of 1261 men and women aged 60 to 64 completed the 2011–12 Life Histories and Health survey, a sub-study of the New South Wales 45 and Up Study. The survey collected data on sociodemographic, psychosocial, life history and health-related variables including caregiving and employment status. Around a third (32.5%) of the sample (52.2% female) were involved in some type of caregiving at the time. Compared to non-carers, carers reported lower workforce participation (45.8% versus 54.7% for non-carers) as well as poorer health, more mobility difficulties, lower quality of life and lower self-rated SES. Carers who also cared for grandchildren were more likely to be in part-time or no paid work compared to other carers. Working carers tended to be more highly educated, have fewer mobility difficulties, better self-rated health and higher SES than non-working carers. Male carers were more likely than female carers to be in full-time or no paid work. Results indicate that reduced workforce participation and health status of caregivers varies by gender and type of caregiving. Policy reforms are recommended to mitigate these adverse consequences on those providing care, their families, employers and the community.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 13, 2017
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