There are 432,000 individuals in New Zealand who provide unpaid care for someone who is ill or disabled and 65% of these carers are also in paid employment. The number of older people in the paid workforce is projected to increase in the next two decades. With the median age of carers in 2013 at 49 years, the ageing of both the population and workforce suggests that many carers may still be in paid work as they themselves age. Family care is an essential part of the health care system. Informal care provides many benefits including improved patient outcomes, reduced unnecessary re-hospitalisations and residential care placements, and considerable savings in health care expenditure. However, combining paid work and informal care is problematic for many carers and can impact on their health and wellbeing, and on work-related outcomes by way of reduced work hours, absenteeism, and employment exit. Recent policy initiatives have been implemented to support family carers in New Zealand to remain in or re-enter the workforce. This paper explores the challenges presented to older New Zealanders who combine paid work with caregiving responsibilities. We provide a profile of older workers (aged 55+) who are providing care and analyse the impact of combining paid work and care on their health, wellbeing and economic living standards. Finally, we situate these findings within the policy framework in New Zealand.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 29, 2017
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