Charity Carers UK has called on employers to help review support for working families amid rising numbers of staff quitting their jobs because they are struggling to manage jobs alongside caring for a loved one with dementia.
With an ageing population, the numbers of working-age people supporting older relatives is rising and the impact of dementia care on ability to work is a critical issue for business, the charity says.
Estimates suggest that half the UK’s 6.5 million carers are juggling paid or full-time work alongside unpaid care, and that number is set to increase by a further 25% by 2020. In addition, the number of people caring for someone with dementia is set to grow by a quarter to reach 850,000 by the end of the decade. Research has shown full-time working carers are most likely to care for a loved one with dementia.
As a result, Carers UK is conducting research in a bid to prevent a drain of workforce experience and skill through increased demand for care for loved ones as they grow older.
Need to care often comes at peak career age
Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “The businesses we work closely with are telling us the same story as the statistics – that dementia and the impact on employees of caring for loved ones is a key issue for workforce retention, recruitment and resilience. Very often the need to care for an elderly parent comes at peak career age.
“Without the right support, the strain of caring for an elderly parent or loved one and working, often also alongside raising a family, can quickly become too difficult to manage and force employees with valuable experience and skill out of the workforce. The fact that 1 in 6 carers have quit work to care is a serious issue for families and for employers. We need to understand what support staff and employers need to keep those who are caring in work.”
Through its business forum Employers for Carers, the charity has launched two surveys to examine key issues and support needs for employees caring for a loved one with dementia and practical ways in which employers and other parties can help.