Rising retirement age in UK state ‘could prevent women from caring for older relatives’ | caregivers

A research paper has warned that an increase in the government’s pension age for women could force mothers and daughters to withdraw the free, informal care they provide to the rapidly aging population of the UK.

The report is entitled Should I care or should I work? impact of work on informal care, He says this family care must urgently be replaced by significant increases in government spending or families will have to exhaust their savings to buy care privately. For families who cannot find or afford care, the lives of older relatives will be put at risk, the authors say.

Researchers from three European universities have used data from the Office for National Statistics and the UK Longitudinal Study of Households to criticize the government’s recent decision to increase the female state pension age (SPA) by up to six years, as more pension reforms are reviewed by the government.

They found the move exacerbates what experts described even before the changes to the SPA were a perfect storm of limited financial resources, significant workforce challenges and increasingly complex population needs.

“Our results provide evidence for a trade-off between the margin of intensive work and informal care provided outside the home: an increase in working time by 30 hours per week due to an increase in SPA would result in a decrease in care time by 6.3 hours,” said the report’s lead author, Ludovico Carino, from the University of Economics’ Department of Economics. Trieste, Italy, ‘A week at £6,500 per year per caregiver’.

The researchers also found that there is no alternative help available from other family members or formal services for most seniors whose current caregiver is no longer able to care for them due to pension reforms.

“As a result, overall support for older fathers diminishes when current family caregivers work longer, which can lead to increased unmet needs in older adults,” Carino said.

Women receive nearly 60% of informal care for family and friends worth an estimated £132 billion a year, just below annual public spending on health.

The need for long-term care was already urgent before the increase in SPA for women as a result of an aging population, with demand for adult social care expected to grow by around £12.2 billion annually by 2030 to 2031. Just maintaining the current system is estimated to leave a funding gap of £6.1 billion annually by 2030 to 2031.

Research paper by Age UK shows private care is already in short supply: it says 170,000 hours per week of home care cannot be provided due to a shortage of care workers during the first three months of 2022, seven times more than it was in spring. from 2021.

The study, conducted by researchers from the ESRC Center for Community and Mental Health at King’s College London, the Universities of Trieste and Lausanne, and ONS, found that the decline in caregiving was greater among women working in physically or psychologically demanding jobs, and “women with a surviving grandson and a parent”. It needs care.

Emily Holzhausen, director of policy at Carers UK, said the research had revealed the “real and hidden” cost of increasing the SPA. “Raising the spa supports families in the corner as they are forced to choose between providing unpaid care and forgoing work for care, with dire consequences for their finances in the short or long term, or staying at work struggling to access social care, which suffers from a severe lack of supply or they simply do not exist.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “The government has launched a second-term review of the retirement age. This, as previous reviews have done, will take into account whether the rules regarding state pension age are appropriate, based on a wide range of evidence, including the most recent life expectancy data and two independent reports.”