Review of international studies on relationship between unpaid elder care and carers’ paid employment

Review of international studies on relationship between unpaid elder care and carers’ paid employment

Dr Margaret Moussa, a researcher at Western Sydney University recently reviewed international studies on the relationship between unpaid elder care-and carers’ paid employment.

Dr Moussa analysed 48 studies published between 2006 and 2016. While several studies indicate providing unpaid elder care reduces workforce participation, a significant proportion of other studies found no significant relation between these two activities.

Key conclusions were;

  1. Studies finding the connection between intensive caregiving and paid employment to be insignificant had used inappropriate sampling techniques or intensity measures or had omitted controls for causation.
  2. The carer group of central concern are women (usually in mid-life) caring for elderly parents. Studies which adequately controlled for caregiving intensity and causation indicate these women are significantly more likely to reduce their hours of paid employment to care, rather than exiting the workforce altogether.
  3. There is a particularly significant connection between the affordability and availability of quality formal aged care and informal intensive elder care. Accounting for the differences and problems with methodology, international research on the connection between paid employment and unpaid elder care does bear out the lived experiences of carers; that carers would like to engage in more paid employment and that their care-giving activities prevent this.

Dr Moussa has published a summary of her findings and the full review is published in February 2018, in the journal, Ageing and Society.

Dr Margaret Moussa, Lecturer, Discipline of Economics and Finance, School Of Business, Western Sydney University.

Carers Victoria acknowledges the traditional owners of this land and pays respect to elders both past and present.

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