Where once we would work with our retirement age at the back of our minds as a marker for change, today this rite of passage is much more flexible – if even acknowledged at all. Research from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has found that one in ten 70-74-year-olds today are still in employment – whether through a sheer love of the job, the necessity to keep earning or a return to the workplace after a period of semi-retirement. But alongside this trend sits the fact that our whole population is ageing.
Carry on caring
Whereas at one time these senior workers would have been the eldest generation in their families, it isn’t uncommon today for their parents to still be going strong, sharing their children’s so-called ‘twilight years.’ If these very elderly parents are dependent on their children just how can these working retirees care for aged family members while still going out and earning a crust? How do they juggle employment, a retirement and care responsibilities at an age where once they would have been handed a pipe and slippers?
Well the first thing to remember is that this situation is by no means unique. In fact, one in seven employees in 2017 is caring for a loved one. Retirement is becoming less and less of an expectation in the workplace – more an option than a milestone in the majority of professions – and there are countless services and flexible choices presenting themselves as ways of supporting the care of very elderly parents while the average age of the workforce rises reciprocally.
One such service taking some of the pressure off pension-age carers who are still working a career is time4care. Their service can be offered as a workplace benefit, supporting people via their employers by helping them explore the type of care that will suit their dependent family members with financial and legal assistance too. Time4care also offers the advice of impartial experts who can help walk workers through the process to find a plan that works for their unique family.
The appeal to businesses to offer time4care is in the pressure this service takes off a valued employee. Many older workers are in senior roles so retaining them is well worth the outlay even when just looking at the bottom line. But on a more personal level even just by taking the time to talk through and put a plan together a worker might not worry for that day how their parents are getting by while they’re in the office. By arranging a payment programme for their care responsibilities time4care is giving staff an opportunity to regain some control of their finances and their free time and perhaps start working for themselves a little.
The main point to remember here is how common this situation is fast becoming. From the need to check more frequently during the day on how an elderly relative is managing to taking decisions about their independence these sorts of pressures are hardly conducive to a healthy or happy home or work life. By opening up and talking about the sorts of decisions and debates these people never thought they would need to have – particularly this proud and resilient generation - we can remove any stigma around what exactly is the best solution for caring for elderly family while taking some of the pressure off retirement-age children who too may need a degree of support themselves.
By offering a service like time4care, workplaces can help to equip their staff with the structure and support they need to focus on the job in hand. Employers get a dedicated workforce knowing their labour is helping fund the best possible, best considered care solution for their loved one while confident they have expert support and advice on hand to help them deal with the next crisis and the next crisis – they’re not alone.