Globally, populations are ageing and the demand for eldercare provision is growing. Families are having to juggle work demands with caring responsibilities and social care workers are under increasing demands to care for growing numbers of clients, often in their own homes. Care workers want to provide their clients with quality care and complain about the time constraints which can impinge on the support they provide. Family members also want more time to provide quality care for elderly relatives.
Many employers are now looking for ways to better support employees who have eldercare responsibilities. While flexible working arrangements, sabbaticals, stress management and career development can help working carers both pursue rewarding careers and providing care for their relatives. One way in which people with caring responsibilities can be supported in terms of work-life balance is to be able to coordinate caring responsibilities with professional care providers. Coordination between professional and family carers can represent ‘win wins’ as both are able to provide more and better care.
Dr Halima Minhat of Universiti Putra Malaysia is leading a research project investigating how social care providers and employers can support carers in coordinating eldercare responsibilities. Dr Minhat is supported by Dr Matt Flynn of the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce. The project focuses on the following areas:
-Stress prevention and well-being
– Health interventions
– Managing emergencies and ‘on call’ care
While carers may coordinate such care at the individual level, this project will investigate institutional level support in coordination. The project will be conducted in three phases:
- Interviews with ten care providers and ten employees with eldercare responsibilities about caring responsibilities, constraints on care and how they coordinate with one another
- Case studies involving interviews with managers and care providers at the national and workplace levels regarding HRM policies on eldercare
- Two matched surveys of employers and social care providers on interventions to support coordination between social care workers and family care providers
- Online training material for managers
As part of the project, an online training module has been developed for employers, union representatives, care service users and their families to learn more from the experiences of care workers older and younger about working in the sector and ways to improve the quality of working life for people like them.