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Sandwich generation of carers ‘isn’t just middle-aged mums’

Many older workers have dual caring responsibilities
man appointment

The sandwich generation – so called due to having dual caring responsibilities and typically associated with working mothers aged 40-55 – is much broader and more prevalent than most employers realise, according to RedArc.

The nurse adviser service said many individuals’ outside-of- work obligations go completely unnoticed or unacknowledged by employers, which puts additional pressures on the employee and can leave them feeling isolated.

RedArc has identified an older sandwich generation who have massive responsibilities in terms of looking after their parents or partner, helping to support their adult children by looking after grandchildren, and sometimes doing so while being in employment.

Although the numbers of over 65s in work now stands at 1.3m, they still only represent around 4% of the entire workforce. 

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc nurses, said that with women having children later in life and many wanting or needing to go back to work, grandparents are increasingly being called upon to help with childcare but they have also got responsibilities of their own.

“It’s typical of this generation to not want to let anyone down but they can find themselves frantically busy with no time to dedicate to their own wellbeing,” she warned.

Husbands said working fathers are often overlooked by employers but the responsibilities of being the primary care-giver to elderly relatives and also providing for children is not information that men traditionally share in the workplace.

According to RedArc, employers should ensure support for carers is wide-ranging and readily available in the event that any member of staff finds themselves in a caring role.  Types of support often needed by carers of all generations and gender include mental health support, flexible working, support on navigating the NHS and getting a second opinion, eldercare and bereavement.