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Work, Women and Caregiving By PAULA SPANPAULA SPAN NY Times – November 21, 2013

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Presentation on theme: "Work, Women and Caregiving By PAULA SPANPAULA SPAN NY Times – November 21, 2013"— Presentation transcript:

1 Work, Women and Caregiving By PAULA SPANPAULA SPAN NY Times – November 21, 2013

2 Tough Juggling Act Trying to hold onto a job while caring for a family member is a tough juggling act. Caregivers sometimes have to arrive late or leave early, cut back to part-time work, and decline travel or promotions. For women, these competing responsibilities may prove particularly perilous, a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology suggests. Women who are caregivers are also significantly less likely to be in the labor force, compared to women who are not caregivers. Yet for men, caregiving has no impact on employment status.significantly less likely to be in the labor force

3 Health and Retirement Study The authors, two professors of social work, unearthed these patterns in national data gathered in 2004 in the Health and Retirement Study. They looked at participants aged 50 to 61, more than 5,100 people, roughly a third of them family caregivers. About 4% were caring for a spouse, 15% for a grandchild and about 20% for a parent; some took care of more than one relative. (Every study seems to use a different definition of caregiving. In this case, the researchers defined it as caring for parents or grandchildren for at least 100 hours over two years; spousal caregivers had no minimum time requirement.)

4 Women more likely to care As in virtually every other study, women were more likely to care for parents – 7% of the total sample assisted with parents personal needs, compared to 3.6% of men. Close to 16% of men helped parents with chores, errands and transportation, while more than 20% of women did. Gender differences did not arise much between those caring for spouses or grandchildren. Gender made a significant difference in employment, however. Most of these middle-aged adults were in the labor force, meaning that they had jobs, were unemployed but looking for work, or had recently taken sick leave or been laid off.

5 Comment – 1 Ms. Skeptical Alexandria I'm 55. My mom is 87. There's just us two. There is a doctor's appointment every week. I'm looking for full-time work. She tells me to work full-time because she can get to the doctor's office by herself. She is frail and wobbly. Increasingly, the doctors want me there with her. If I don't work full-time, I could lose my home that we live in. To make this work, ideally, I would like a job where I can start work at noon or 1 p.m., or work four days a week. Or work mostly from home. A 9-to-5 isn't going to work. And I would like a health aide for back up. I worry about this all the time.

6 Comment – 2 Suzanne California I am another "poster girl" for this article. Caregiving came to me unexpectedly, I stepped up at exactly the wrong time, found myself without work in my late 50s and have decimated my savings. I still take pride in my self-sufficiency, career, and independence, all undermined by caregiving. My parents would never have wanted that, but it happened. The details don't matter because they are ultimately the same in the end - it's a job someone must do, or live with the consequences - and I would never turn my back on my parents when they really needed me. But the system of caregiving is antiquated, based on VERY outdated models assuming women stay home and provide work - not care, WORK - for free …

7 The Economics $ Costs of care $ Costs of care management Opportunity costs from not working Loss of assets Loss of leisure time Are these different for women than for men? If so, why?

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