New YouGov research commissioned by Home Instead reveals a care worker recruitment crisis is set to hit the elderly, with two thirds of British adults shunning roles in the homecare sector because of unfounded fears.
Sixty-eight per cent of the 2,044 people surveyed said they had not and would never consider working in the homecare sector - yet 53% agreed that homecare is an essential role in today’s society.
We commissioned the YouGov poll to shed light on the recruitment crisis facing the care sector, with a potential shortfall of 1 million workers in the next 20 years.
Misperceptions of what working in the homecare sector entails appear to be influencing people’s decisions about whether a career in care is right for them. The survey found that:
- 51% of people think homecarers are not given enough time to look after their clients
- 43% think homecare involves doing unpleasant and menial tasks
- 39% think homecarers are often treated badly by the companies they work for
- 34% think they are too old to work as a homecarer
Yet many of those working in the homecare sector, like Home Instead CAREGiver Helen McEntire, say it’s the best job they have ever had.
“Working in care is a fantastic thing to do,” says Helen, 61. “It's hard to explain the satisfaction and pleasure there is in getting to know someone who is alone or frail and to become their trusted helper and companion. It’s anything but menial work it’s the most meaningful work.”
Home Instead provides 5 million hours of care for 8,000 clients each year, through a network of 170 local offices.
This is only possible through the hard work of our dedicated CAREGivers who support older people to live independently in their own homes.
Our CAREGiver visits last a minimum of one hour, with carers and clients matched based on personal interests, backgrounds and hobbies. CAREGivers are able to choose the type of services they are comfortable delivering – from personal care, to companionship – and are given comprehensive training before they start.
“The misperceptions of homecare highlighted in the research are a serious concern - not just for care providers like ourselves but for the country as a whole,” says Trevor Brocklebank, Chief Executive of Home Instead.
“If older people are to have the future they want, living independently, we urgently need more people to take on these important roles. It’s time to care and we have 5,000 jobs to fill in 2016 alone. We need to debunk these out-of-date views of the homecare sector if we are to stand a chance of combating this crisis.”
Not too old to care
We were particularly surprised at the number of people who believed themselves too old to work in care. A staggering 75% of those aged 55+ thought they were too old to be homecarers, yet we’ve found that people in that age group provide wonderful companionship for our clients. We have caregivers in their 60s, 70s and even 80s who go above and beyond every day to help those they care for.
Helen, a grandmother-of-five, has worked at Home Instead since 2010 and is only too keen to encourage others to consider a caring career - no matter their age.
“As I’ve become older, working for Home Instead has given me a renewed sense of self,” she adds. “For the first time I can see that my life experiences are of real value to others and I know that I found my true calling in life. As my visits to clients always last a minimum of one hour, I feel I get enough time to give the best care and companionship.”
The new poll also revealed that less than a fifth (18%) of respondents thought working in homecare allowed people to gain new skills and qualifications. However, we provide an ongoing programme of training to all our CAREGivers, including recognised qualifications like Health and Social Care Diplomas.
“I had brilliant training when I started, and there are ongoing continuous refresher courses, which bring everything up to date,” continues Helen.
“I've also had training in Alzheimer's and other dementias that is City and Guilds accredited, and I’m currently booked on courses for supporting people with Visual Impairment and Parkinson’s disease. I’m constantly learning new skills and progressing.”
Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen added: “We know our population is continuing to age rapidly, and with that will come an increasing demand for person centred homecare services. This poll offers a real insight into the public’s misconceptions of what a career in homecare entails. Debunking these misconceptions is vital, which is why we work alongside progressive employers like Home Instead to support and encourage people considering a career in care.”
To find out more about becoming a CAREGiver with Home Instead visit: https://www.homeinstead.co.uk/caregiver-jobs/