An estimated 675,000 older people depend upon unpaid carers, usually their children. Jeremy Hunt has proposed that a cultural change is needed among employers so that carers have parity of esteem, and receive similar flexible working opportunities to parents with young children. The ageing population, and the associated dementia time-bomb, means that helping carers stay in work is becoming an economic necessity.
Too few employers offer carers flexible work options currently. The UK has too few people able / willing to offer unpaid care. Many workers double as carers for people with dementia. Employers could do more to help carers stay in work, given that the number of sufferers could rise from around 800,000 now to more than a million by the end of the decade.
Carers should ‘get flexible hours’ – health secretary. London: BBC News, August 24th 2013.
This relates to:
LSE Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) Research
Research by the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests that the gap between the number of frail elderly people in need of care and the people available to provide this for free will worsen in England by 2017. Up to 160,000 elderly people could be left without such support by 2032.
Pickard, L. (2013). A growing care gap? The supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children in England to 2032. Ageing and Society, August 22nd 2013, pp.1-28. Epub ahead of print.