A Preliminary Examination of Elder Care Among Canadian Armed Forces Personnel

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
The impact of elder care upon military personnel is an important but seldom researched area of concern for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). As the “baby boom” generation enters into their senior years, and as the average lifespan of Canadians increases, there are an increasing number of individuals who require age-related care and assistance. CAF members engaged in elder care may experience challenges balancing those responsibilities (e.g., appointments, providing help with medicine, providing financial assistance) with the demands of home life that may include dependent children along with managing a military career that commonly includes extended training and deployments. Elder care is also a highly gendered activity as women assume primary caregiver responsibilities in elder care more often than men (Yee & Schulz, 2000), and women are four times as likely as men to leave employment as a result of elder care (Keating et al, 2013). This pattern is potentially problematic for the CAF, who have worked toward increasing the proportion of women in uniform. In the fall of 2017 the Canadian Armed Forces, in collaboration with academia, launched its first survey dedicated to work-life balance and elder care. This presentation provides a preliminary overview of the level of elder care provided as well as the impact of elder care upon the well-being, career intentions, and mental health of CAF members. Gender differences in the impacts of elder care are also examined.