Today marks National Dementia Carer’s Day. The number of those caring for loved ones with dementia is set to reach 850,000 within the decade, a direct result of our population and work forces age.
A large proportion of the UK’s 6.5 million carers are juggling full time work alongside caring for a loved one suffering with dementia. Dementia is becoming a widespread concern within the workplace, as the support needs of working dementia carers are not being met, presenting a key issue for workforce retention, recruitment and resilience. If thorough support is not offered, the day to day pressures of work, caring and other family responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming, causing many to struggle, reduce their hours or leave their jobs. This will evidently take a toll on families’ health, finances and careers.
Caring for someone with dementia can be highly stressful and deeply upsetting; 53% of those caring for someone with dementia noted negative impacts on their work due to their caring responsibilities and the associated stress, anxiety and tiredness, according to a survey by Carers UK and Employers for Care. This frequently leads to working-age carers to quit their job or take early retirement, suggesting dementia is a growing challenge not just for public services and families but also for employers.
Key facts & figures regarding working dementia carers:
- Half the UK’s 6.5 million carers are juggling paid work alongside caring.
- Within the total population of carers, the number of people caring for a loved one with dementia is rising and is set to reach 850,000 by 2020.
- The challenge of combining work and caring takes its toll on the body, mind and finances.
- 72% of carers in the UK said they’d suffered mental ill health as a result of their responsibilities, according to Carers UK.
- It’s perhaps unsurprising then that 1 in 6 leave work or reduce their hours to care, according to employers’ membership forum Employers for Carers.
Three steps to becoming a more carer-friendly employer
Offering the right to request flexible working hours from an employee’s first day, rather than the current statutory six-month tenure, will ensure employees can best care for their loved ones from the very start, reducing the likelihood of overwhelming stress.
Adopt a best practice approach to employing carers. Join employer support forums such as Employers for Carers - which offers training, consultancy and a range of practical toolkits including ‘Developing a carers’ policy’.
Better equip line managers and staff with information and available resources to ensure a better understanding of an employee’s situation. Enable managers to recognise when a short-term absentee might require professional support, allowing early intervention interviews and tailored signposting to relevant services if it looks like an absence may become long-term.
As affiliate members of Woking For Carers we feel compelled to share the importance of the Working For Carers organisation and urge our Clients and friends to find out more information on how they can also benefit from signing up.
Becoming a Working For Carers employer demonstrates your company’s positive attitude towards staff members with caring responsibilities outside of work. It shows that you don’t just care about your business, you care about your people too. And since your employees are arguably your most valuable asset, that can only be a good thing. Please visit https://workingforcarers.co.uk to find out more.
For further support, visit http://www.dementiacare.org.uk