MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Caregivers living in rural areas often lack the workplace “flexibility and support they need to juggle their many responsibilities”, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.

Over 43 million people in the U.S. provide unpaid care for a loved one. The study analyzed responses from 635 caregivers who work and live in either a rural or urban area across the country.

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The study found that overall caregivers living in rural areas received less workplace support than those living in an urban area. The University of Minnesota study found:

  • 15 percent of rural caregivers have access to supportive programs through their workplace, compared with 26 percent of employed urban caregivers.
  • Less than 10 percent of rural caregivers are able to work from home, compared to 25 percent of caregivers in urban areas.
  • 18 percent of caregivers in rural areas have access to paid leave, compared with 34 percent of urban caregivers.
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“These findings should raise concern about the well-being of employed rural caregivers who are juggling multiple roles with less support from their workplaces,” Carrie Henning-Smith, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, said. “As caregiving needs rise — especially in rural areas — it will become increasingly urgent to find ways to support all caregivers.”

The organizers of the study suggest that employers provide more support to workers who also provide care to loved ones, including flexible hours, working from home, paid leave, etc.

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To read to full study click here.