The demographic characteristics and economic activity patterns of carers over 50: evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
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Studies on informal care provision have often focused on the provision of care for persons with a long term physical or mental ill-health or disability, or problems related to old age. However, the provision of care and support more broadly, for example in the form of childcare for grandchildren, can also impact on various aspects of a carer's life, such as their employment (if under the state retirement age), lifetime earnings and, by extension, pension income in later life. This article uses data from Wave 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to explore the demographic characteristics, caring patterns, health status and economic activity patterns of carers aged over 50 in England. The results suggest that the nature of care provision differs across age groups, and that caring can be quite a different experience for older men and women. This article also sheds light on the characteristics of ‘round-the-clock’ carers, a relatively under-researched group which makes up just over one fifth of all carers aged 50 and over.