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Middle-Aged British People Balance Caregiving and Full-Time Work

Middle-aged workers in Britain may be taking on more work than they can handle.   

A new study by the Institute of Education discovered that two-thirds of British workers in their mid-50s are coming under pressure from domestic responsibilities.

New findings were presented Monday November 3rd in London at the Festival of Social Science.

According to the survey that questioned 9,100 people, nearly half of middle-aged adults in the UK work full-time while at the same time caring for either a parent, in-law and their own children or grandchildren under the age of 18.

Most caretakers—who are women (21 percent)—have dedicated more than 10 hours a week to watch over a family member other than their own child(ren), which at times adds stress to their daily lives.

British males make up only a small portion (14 percent) of the study’s recorded caregivers.

The  National Child Development Study (NCDS) pulled most of their supportive statistics from analyzing over 17,000 older adults who were born in March 1958, mainly in Wales, England, and Scotland.

The research group determined that caregiving and working full-time is not a healthy combination for most people heading towards retirement. 

“Caring responsibilities can have a significant impact on people’s lives,” the researchers said in a report. “But our research shows that spending more than 10 hours a week caring for parents or grandchildren is associated with poorer health and self-rated quality of life."

The study outlined some important figures associated with some of the most common duties working caretakers do when parent-sitting:

  • 7 percent assist with personal needs.
  • 15 percent help parents with house cleaning and chores.
  • 38 percent run errands, shop, cook, and prepare meals. 
  • 45 percent give rides or lifts.

A large percentage of the adults surveyed are responsible for these duties a only few hours a week, but 12 percent regularly take on one or more of these tasks at least 10 hours a week in addition to working. 

Additionally, these same caregivers are responsible for children in some way, whether that’s as a babysitter or a legal guardian.

The survey also determined that six in ten mid-50s men and women are grandparents who watch over their grandchildren typically 8 hours a week. Many are also counted as living with one in the home.  

These hard-working adults are clearly taking on too many priorities at one time.

While most are thinking about retirement, they won’t be able to enjoy the fruit of their labor with so much on their plate.

Researchers are afraid that caring for loved ones while working outside the home may be strenuous on a person’s physical and mental health.

Some have even suggested that employers show a little more compassion towards older workers who fall in this category.

“Given the increased pressures on people in their fifties, employers will need to be encouraged to adopt ’family friendly’ working policies towards older employees,” said Director of the NCDS Professor Alissa Goodman. “This would make it easier for them to maintain working lives while also helping their own parents or grandchildren.”


Image Source:Liberty Healthcare Services

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