The Effect of Family Eldercare Responsibilities on Labour market Involvement in South Africa and Canada: A Comparative Study - Essay Prowess

The Effect of Family Eldercare Responsibilities on Labour market Involvement in South Africa and Canada: A Comparative Study


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The Effect of Family Eldercare Responsibilities on Labour market Involvement in South Africa and Canada: A Comparative Study


Dependent on the contemporary societal structures, the labour market is heavily influenced by a number of factors which include nature of the economy, family cohesiveness and level of social and technological advancement. It is common to find that most families have norms aimed at improving the standard of life for elderly persons within the family and the society at large.  However, this has been influenced by endeavours undertaken by family members in an effort to improve their socio-economic welfare. This implies that the economic strength of a country’s economy will have a directly proportional effect on the degree of care accorded to elderly persons in the family and the society at large (Beauregard, 2011).

Elderly care in Canada and South Africa

Comparing Canada to South Africa, there are a number of factors that determine the quality of healthcare as well as social environment with which elderly persons are accorded care. It is worthy to note that the increase in the number of women in the workforce has a profound effect on the ability of comprehensive healthcare provision for the elderly member of the society (Hayman, 2009). Eldercare in South Africa which can be considered as a less developed country when compared with Canada is significantly lower given the economic status of a country as well as the number of women in the labour market and more specifically with regard to the provision of care to the elderly persons (, 2011).

Canada has a higher income per capita as compared to South Africa and thus one can accept the fact that the quality of elderly care in Canada is significantly higher than that provided in South Africa (Bester, 2010). According to the available literature, a product acquired by members of a household is dependent on the amended choice theory, that is, such a product can be considered as time rigorous or income exhaustive. This is influenced by a consumer’s ability to realise increases in income levels (Nicolopoulou, Karatas-ozkan, Ahu Tatli and Taylor, 2011). The underlying assumption is such that physical factors exhibit a trend that shows the deviation from time rigorous products towards products that are regarded as income exhaustive (, 2011). An increase in income allows the household to focus more on income exhaustive goods and services translating to a reduction in the total time used up in making such purchases. This leads to more effects related to more time made available for work. Therefore as function of both home value and production it is important to consider time over an extended duration so as to equate the levels of utility as a measure of efficiency.

This efficiency translates to the utility derived from the consumption of a given product in terms of time spent in spending an income over an extended duration of time as well as the time generated to allow for more work given the satisfaction derived from purchasing the product (, 2011). Each individual can have the efficiency determined through the best possible distribution of time with regard to how time is apportioned between the household activities and the labour market. Research from the available literature suggests that households with relatively low levels of income prefer to focus more of their time on enhancing the outcomes of obligation performed at home. Thus, an adjustment with regard to personal income or the efficiency in household obligations brings about a significant change in the actual comparative value relating to utilities that tend to conflict with one another.

Therefore, a person’s functional value is actually influenced in some form or another in the event that there is the presence of a small member of the family such as infant, sickly family member or an elderly family member (OECD, 2011). A person in such a position bears a considerable amount of pressure with regards to time constraints and financial limitations when taking care of a family member or friend due to their age, physical disability or any other form of disability.

Comparing the provision of healthcare services in Canada and South Africa one clearly notices that the huge income gap between the two countries and more so the composition of labour market details that healthcare for the elderly is influenced by a myriad of factors (Kyung Do, 2008). South Africa is a developing country and thus has a significant informal sector while Canada is an industrialised nation (, 2011). The factors determining the means with which the elderly are offered healthcare is dependent on cultural norms, income distribution, migratory trends within the labour market as well as institutional policies in place with regard to both the employers and government policies (Hunt, 2006). Being a young democracy, South Africa faces more challenges when compared with Canada in ensuring effects of family eldercare and other related responsibilities and the labour market performance is significantly affected by such eventualities (Doyle and Timonen, 2009).

As a value of family production, the capacity of an individual to adequately generate vital services for households as compared to making purchases for such services determines the amount of care that can be accorded to the elderly in such a household. Time used up in household service production significantly determines the quality of care offered to such elderly individuals (Carlson, Grywacz and Kacmar, 2010). From this analysis, one can appreciate the fact that a family’s ability to offer care to the elderly persons in a given household is dependent on the residual amount of time that can be realised after home and more so residual leisure time used in production within the household (, 2011) (Downes, and Koekemoer, 2011). It is therefore worthy to note that the amount and quality of care accorded to an ailing member of a family is dependent on the ability of members of such a household to either offer the required care from other family members or acquire such services from the market place (Dalcos and Daley, 2009). Care accorded to such a family member is also heavily dependent on the amount of income realised by the other able family members.

An individual is more likely to inconsistently interact with the labour market and instead offer services to an ailing family member if the income earned is below par with regard to the utility derived from the time spent in caring for the elderly (Brown, 2010). The effect of such tendencies on the labour markets cannot be ignored. With regards to Canada and South Africa, time distribution models go a long way in enabling researchers to offer more insights as to the effects of an ageing demography on the labour market (, 2011). Caregivers are in a more solid position to as not to withdraw from a given labour market if confronted with a significant opportunity cost that can translate to such a departure. In a developed country such as Canada, households whose earnings are comparatively higher than those realised in the South African labour market will endeavour to stay in a given labour market due to the strong fact that earnings realised are higher than the time value presented in the households (Public Health Agency Canada, 2009). Therefore, in a developed country such as Canada, the time distribution with regard to time spent in caring for elderly household members and the labour market’s force tends to change as earning also change (Public Health Agency Canada, 2009). Population ageing is consistently on the rise in both developing countries and developed countries as exhibited by both South Africa and Canada (, 2011). This has been brought about by changes that have become a systematic trend more so due to low mortality rates as well as fertility rates. Thus the demographic model in these two countries depicts a wide base pyramid with huge numbers of a young population with the number of older adults increasing significantly (Bianchi and Milkie, 2010). The profound differences in the two countries have been brought about by differences in the social economic aspects such as education and government policies with regard to the labour market.


In both countries, households do experience a lot of pressure on the labour market. In South Africa, there is a consistent trend whereby in the event that an elderly family member needs care, adult women workers opt to leave the labour market in favour of caring for the elderly or assisting them to undertake household chores. Elderly persons in need of consistent care influence the labour market such that unemployment becomes a pipedream for the productive segment of the adult population. On the hand in Canada, households may endeavour may endeavour to improve their labour commitments in cases where the elderly need to be accorded care. They opt to acquire care for the elderly through hiring professional services to offer the elderly the care that they need.


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