Women, in the all-too-frequent role of caregiver, face a host of challenges throughout their careers. For many, this will include the responsibility that comes with caring for an elderly parent.
One in three workers are caring for ageing parents, and that figure is growing, with 45% of workers anticipating taking on caring responsibilities for elderly relatives in the next five years.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report that of the 5.5 million people of working age who have unpaid caring responsibilities 72.5% of them are women. Overwhelmingly, it is women who bear the cost of caring for their parents as they age.
The average person caring for a parent today is a woman in midlife, and less than half of them will continue working.
For those who remain working, they are likely to reduce their hours, pass up promotions, turn down challenging opportunities and bypass continuing their education. All of which reduce their current wages and future retirement benefits.
They will need to use their leave to attend to doctors’ appointments and crises. They won’t have as much time for their own vacations or to attend to their own doctor’s appointments. Stress and worry are well known to take a significant toll on the health of carers.
Access Economics estimate that family carers provide around 1.32 billion hours of care each year – a replacement value in excess of $40 billion p.a.
Admirably, most of these carers take it on willingly. But many do not foresee the cost to their career.
How home care can reduce the burden
Home care is a proven win-win solution for families. But at a cost of upwards of $45 per hour it can get very expensive quickly. Better Caring’s community of care workers set their own fees, and at an average cost of $30 per hour, are a much more affordable option.
Ageing parents are adamant they want to remain living in their home as long as possible. With a bit of modification and regular assistance from paid home care assistants, living at home can be safely and affordably achieved.