Caring and Retirement: Crossroads and Consequences Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • As older workers move closer to retirement, they are more likely to take on caring roles. This may affect their health, retirement plans, and income security. Retired men and women experience the caring role differently, with men less likely to be adversely affected and more likely to accept services and to derive satisfaction from caring. Carers make an important contribution to the lives of the people they care for and to the community. Caring is a productive role that can be sustained into older age, as long as the carer's health and well-being are maintained. More research is needed on the relationship between retirement and caring, to explore the extent of caring and its impact on retirement plans, income, and the physical and mental health of retired carers. This information could then be built into retirement planning to better prepare older workers for this important role. Caring roles and retirement intersect in several ways. About 6 million Americans, 2.6 million Australians, and 6 million people in the United Kingdom are informal carers. People (especially men) are more likely to take on caring roles as they get older and leave the paid workforce. The need to care for a spouse or older relative can be an unanticipated outcome or a precipitator of retirement. Retirement may coincide with illness or disability of a parent or spouse, or may be forced by the demands of caring. Caring may bring about major changes to retirement plans. The financial impact of having been a carer during one's working life may also be felt most keenly on retirement, through the lack of opportunities for savings and retirement fund co-contributions.

publication date

  • October 2010