March 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Last night I attended the inaugural “Carers at Work” event hosted by Working Families, a charitable organisation that helps children, working parents, and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.
After more than thirty years of focusing primarily on “parents” i.e. largely mothers of young children, they are now turning their attention to the problems of those who have other caring responsibilities – many of whom are individuals in their fifties and older.
The meeting provided a forum for much interesting debate and networking. Key themes were issues relating to the specific pressures of the sandwich generation (those who are caring for younger and older dependents), the problems associated with the lack of value and recognition which is generally given to those with caring responsibilities, the emotional burden of long-term caring, and issues concerning the unpredictable and open-ended nature of elder care when compared to childcare.
All of these can create significant difficulties for people who are trying to hold down a job and care for dependents.
Certainly innovative and wide-ranging solutions are needed not least of which is improved flexible working provision and better education for all.
“Caring” is a role which increasing numbers of people will find themselves having to fulfil, whether they like it or not.
Further information about Working Families is at www.workingfamilies.org.uk