Final report: Retirement processes and outcomes of individuals who retire to give care

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Humble, Áine
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Atlantic Research Centre for Family-Work Issues
Caregiving responsibilities can lead to early, often involuntary, retirement, but the connection between the two events is seldom studied. This mixed method study, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, used the concept of “retirement congruency”, which takes into account greater variation in retirement decisions (low, moderate, or high retirement congruency), to explore retired caregivers’ experiences. In the first stage of the study, descriptive analyses and multinomial logistic regression were carried out on a sample of retired caregivers (n = 569) from the 2002 General Social Survey. Women were more likely to retire for caregiving reasons than men and that male caregivers were more likely than female caregivers to report low retirement congruency. Moderate retirement congruency was the most common type of retirement congruency for caregivers who retired because of their caregiving role. Five variables predicted low retirement congruency, compared to moderate retirement congruency, and seven variables predicted low retirement congruency, compared to high retirement congruency. Three variables distinguished between moderate and high retirement congruency. Health and job problems were significant in all comparisons. Consistent with the descriptive results, retiring to give care predicted moderate retirement congruency compared to high retirement congruency, indicating that many employed caregivers say they chose to retire early because of their caregiving role yet still indicated a desire/need to have remained employed. In stage two, 44 Nova Scotian caregivers (30 women and 14 men who retired to give care to an adult in the previous six years) were interviewed. Caregiving and retirement intersected in different ways. There were four pathways to becoming a retired caregiver: sudden, coincidental, gradual, and breaking. Different types of “tipping points” were more present in certain groups versus others. Moderate retirement congruency, again, was common, yet retirement congruency did not seem related to any of the four pathways to retirement. Individuals were negotiating their identities, both as caregivers and as retirees, regardless of their pathways or length of time retired. Very few individuals indicated being satisfied with their retirement experiences. Analyses from the qualitative interviews demonstrate the complexity of caregivers’ retirement decisions and also point to limitations of survey research. Implications for caregiver policy and retirement policy are discussed, distinguishing between policies for employed caregivers and policies for caregivers who have to leave the paid labour force.
Caregiving , Retirement congruency , Retirement
Humble, A. M. (2009, August). Final report: Retirement processes and outcomes of individuals who retire to give care.