An army of pensioners have started second careers in social care jobs to “reduce the burden” on NHS services. One of the UK’s largest private providers of care in the home has seen a huge spike in Britons in their 60s and 70s joining their ranks, it told Express.co.uk.
The pensioners, who come from across the UK, are helping make a valuable contribution to the care sector, showing that age is not a barrier when it comes to starting a second career.
Home Instead, a company that provides for over 16,000 people at home, says that 40 percent of all new care workers it hired in 2022 were aged between 50 and 80.
Of these people, roughly 630 were state pension age, representing 13 percent of new hires in the company.
Recently fears have grown about the over-reliance on health care workers over the age of 55, with a report showing that more than a quarter of social care workers in England are over 55 and may retire in the next decade.
But this development suggests that many people are coming back from retirement to start second careers in social work or continue in the industry.
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A committee in the House of Lords suggested that a wave of early retirement is the “biggest cause of labor shortages” across the UK.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee described the situation as “bleak” and explained that there has been a massive increase in the number of people not in work or even looking.
The committee found that since the start of the Covid pandemic, the number of these people has increased by 565,000.
But the rise of pensioners working in companies like Home Instead suggests that many people are coming back from retirement to start second careers in social work or continue in the industry.
Martin Jones, Home Instead’s CEO told the Express.co.uk: “In recent years we’ve seen quite an increase in older workers applying to join us which is fantastic to see.
“We have a diverse and dedicated workforce who care deeply about making a difference and supporting older adults in their local communities.
“The carers themselves enjoy the flexibility this kind of work offers – making it easy to fit around family life. And for many a new career offers a new lease of life.
“By taking the hospital to every home in the country, we can radically reduce the burden placed on vital services within the NHS and our older workers are playing a vital role in making this happen.”
One pensioner who has returned to work in the sector is former nurse Vivienne Dean, 71, from Sidmouth in Devon.
Ms Dean said: “For the first time in my life, my work fits around my family and not the other way around. This is the perfect job – why would I do anything else? It really doesn’t feel like work to me. It’s keeping me energized and young.”
The oldest care worker in Home Instead, former model Judi Waymouth, 79, said: “What better role is there for me in my seventies?
“I am so bonded to my clients that I couldn’t possibly retire, and my family has given up encouraging me to do so. Plus, I work with some amazing colleagues who I consider to be friends. There’s just nothing I’d rather to.”
The number of care workers between the ages of 50 and 80 who joined Home Instead was 1,900, compared to 1,090 last year.
According to one expert, official labor market data shows a long-term trend towards highly economically active older people.
Stuart Lewis, chief executive at Rest Less, a digital community and advocacy group told the Financial Times: “What we have seen in very recent months, among those over the age of 65 in particular, is that they are going back to work. We believe this is the start of the great ‘unretirement’ trend.
“Anecdotally, there are lots of people considering coming back,” Lewis says.
Some research actually suggests that older people can make better workers because of their experience as well as their incredible knowledge of institutions and creativity.
Mr Jones of Home Instead added: “It’s also important to note that with age comes invaluable experience which makes older workers ideal for the care sector.”