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The care crisis hits the headlines

by on November 21, 2016

At first glance ‘the care crisis’ (#carecrisis) might not appear to be an obvious topic for our Age at Work blog. After all, isn’t this about ageing beyond the working years?

Well yes, but care is work.  And care provision, whether provided in a commercial environment or by family, is work.  And if care is provided by family then it can often impact the family members working lives, whether they are formally designated ‘carers’ or not.

In writing this blog I am aware that I am coming very close to a line that Rebecca and I agreed to avoid straying into territory that touches on our own family concerns.  However, a key issue here is that care challenges some of the arbitrary boundaries that we tend to assume are more concrete: between home and work, between parent and child and between health and illness. Care is a complex issue that disrupts, challenges and problematises these boundaries.

In debates about the care crisis, the issue of financial responsibility is the headline debate.  Here there is a further problematic boundary: between health and social care. Via the BBC, Ros Altmann is calling for a “new ISA to help people save for care could be introduced and firms could offer “eldercare vouchers” along the lines of the childcare voucher scheme, which attracts tax relief”.

Elsewhere the state of care is under scrutiny as councils shortage of care provision is highlighted and the quality of provision is further investigated, as in this recent Panorama programme.

However, this is not just about older people.

Care and the #carecrisis is a concern that operates at many different levels.  From those of us that find ourselves fighting and struggling to organise the care that a family member needs, to the broader issues of what care system should be in place and how it should be funded.  Many will be watching to the Autumn Statement on Wednesday for a response.  Many others will continue battling on a personal level regardless.


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