The role of work in caregiving experiences among older, working caregivers

  • Olga Grünwald Olga Grünwald
  • Kène Henkens Kène Henkens
  • Marleen Damman Marleen Damman

Objectives. With an increasing retirement age, more older adults are combining employment with informal caregiving responsibilities. However, little is known about how older workers experience caregiving activities next to their paid jobs. This study aims to fill this gap by examining how the work situation (i.e., working hours, occupational status, and perceived access to human resources practices) is associated with both positive and negative experiences of
caregiving.
Methods. Using data from the NIDI Pension Panel Survey, we study caregiving experiences – in other words, the extent to which caregiving activities are satisfactory, burdensome, or stressful – of 1,651 Dutch older workers (age 60-65) who provide care at least once per week.
Results. Multivariate analyses reveal that the work situation plays an explanatory role above and beyond sociodemographic factors and indicators of the caregiving situation. Working caregivers who feel they have access to phased retirement and organizational health support experience caregiving as relatively less burdensome and stressful. Moreover, those with access to phased retirement experience relatively higher levels of satisfaction with caregiving.
Discussion. Our findings suggest that offering control over the availability of personal resources such as time and energy to older workers relates to lower levels of caregiving burden and stress, and may make combining work and caregiving obligations easier in a context of longer working lives.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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