By Care Home Management Magazine
Watching ITV’s The Chase is always an education – and not just because of the range of knowledge that is demonstrated by the contestants and the Chasers. Quite often, when a young player (that I would class as aged under 30) comes to the table, I find myself astonished at the gaps in their knowledge – particularly, when they say things like: “I’ve never heard of Cher” or “Who, on earth, were the Diddymen?”.
Usually, such astonishment is met by an equal quantity of admonishment by my adult children, who are very quick to defend said player on the grounds of their youth. In short, they say, I only know the answers because I am ‘old’.
To emphasise their point, they typically then refer me to the top 50 signs that you are getting old – such as those published a few years back in The Sun newspaper. Among these are things such as: Groaning when you bend down, not knowing any songs in the top ten and commonly saying: ‘I’m gasping for a cup of tea’. You don’t need to say how many also apply to you.
In the workplace, however, older workers are not so easily dismissed. As people live longer, older workers are becoming a more important employee demographic. Care is certainly no exception to this, as the latest data submitted for Care Home Management’s May/June issue (online at: https://chmonline.co.uk/back-issues-2-2/) shows.
Currently, the UK – and care, in particular – is in the middle of a recruitment crisis. Latest data from the ONS shows that while latest employment rates are up on the previous quarter and year, they remain below pre-pandemic rates. In addition, inflationary pressures, as well as competition for candidates, are putting upward pressure on wage rates that are difficult for the care sector to replicate: according to the ONS over the past quarter (December 2022 to February 2023) growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.9 per cent and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6.6 per cent. In the private sector the average for the most recent quarter was 6.9 per cent. You will know for yourselves how your wage increases compare with this national average.
As the working population ages, employers may increasingly ask themselves how they can keep older workers happy. According to a study by professional HR body the CIPD many older workers leave the workplace because employers fail to recognise their unique characteristics – what ‘makes them tick’. In recommendations for employers of older workers, the HR experts call for employers to implement a range of bespoke measures including to understand older workers’ appetite for learning and development, and the personal and cultural barriers that may prevent them from taking up opportunities, particularly in terms of working hours, and in their technology and digital skills.
In our May/June issue we take our annual look at interior design, and specifically, how to make your home more welcoming. Experts are clear that, in care, this welcome should not stop at the residents; staff need to be properly accommodated too, both in terms of their physical comfort and their mental health. While social care waits endlessly for health and social care parliamentarians to devise a credible and fully funded workforce plan for social care, engaging older workers through more age-appropriate working terms and conditions is, at least, something social care can do for itself.