If not currently caring for someone ourselves, we probably all know somebody (a relative, a friend, a colleague) who is responsible for looking after a dependent person, such as an older parent. The experience of providing informal care to our loved ones is a challenging one. It happens everyday in dozens of houses in your neighbourhood and hundreds of thousands of households across your country. Actually, around 125 million people in Europe are providing care for older people or disabled relatives (Anderson and colleagues, 2009: report in English) and do you really think none of them is working in your company?
They are informal (unpaid) carers for relatives or friends– that’s who we are talking about. Caring for an older person requires quite a different assistance, compared for instance to childcare responsibilities. Caring for older people means:
- The situation can appear to be a long-term one instead of a short and acute situation;
- Being a carer is not a personal choice – obviously you want to help your loved one but it depends on his/her frailty;
- The most common caring situations are to care for an older person, a sick partner or a family member with disabilities;
- Being a carer is a part of life and, without the right support, your private finances will be affected because of increased need for accessing care services;
- If you are not a carer today or have been a carer, you will most likely become a carer in the future.
In the web pages of this section, you can find some inputs for (re-)thinking about your business as an employer and the case for, and benefits of, managing and supporting your workers to combine their work and personal responsibilities.