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Businesses urged to focus on rise in workforce dementia care responsibilities

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Charity calls on employers to help review support for working families coping with dementia. Action must be taken to prevent rising numbers of staff quitting work because they are struggling to manage jobs alongside care for a loved one with dementia, charity Carers UK says.

With an ageing population, numbers supporting older relatives is rising and, the charity says, the impact of dementia care on ability to work is a critical issue for business. Carers UK is conducting groundbreaking research in a bid to prevent a drain of workforce experience and skill through increased demand for care for loved ones as they grow older. Half the UK’s 6.5m carers are juggling paid or full-time work alongside unpaid care for a loved one. The number of people caring for someone with dementia is set to grow by a quarter to reach 850,000 by the end of the decade.[1] Research has shown full-time working carers are most likely to care for a loved one with dementia.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “The businesses we work closely with are telling us the same story as the statistics – that dementia and the impact on employees of caring for loved ones is a key issue for workforce retention, recruitment and resilience. Very often the need to care for an elderly parent comes at peak career age. Without the right support, the strain of caring for an elderly parent or loved one and working, often also alongside raising a family, can quickly become too difficult to manage and force employees with valuable experience and skill out of the workforce. The fact that 1 in 6 carers have quit work to care is a serious issue for families and for employers. We need to understand what support staff and employers need to keep those who are caring in work.”

Carers UK research earlier this year showed 2.3m carers have given up work and 3m reduced hours to care.[2] Through its business forum Employers for Carers, the charity has launched two surveys to examine key issues and support needs for employees caring for a loved one with dementia and practical ways in which employers and other parties can help. The surveys can be found at:

1] Taken from Dementia 2012 (2012), Alzheimer’s Society.

2] A Carers UK/You Gov Poll earlier this year showed 2.3 million have quit work to care and almost 3 million reduced working hours to care.

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