Friday, June 17, 2011

Guest Blog Post: Elder Care’s Impact on Employers

We have a guest blog entry today, courtesy of our friends at Homewatch CareGivers of the Lehigh Valley.  This is a great entry, as it provides some very useful information and tips of Elder Care - an issue that is rapidly rising in prominence and importance.

Elder Care’s Impact on Employers
Do you have a good employee who is suddenly calling out, leaving early or receiving an excessive amount of personal phone calls? They may be experiencing an Elder Care crisis. According to AARP, more than 26 million workers in the U.S. care for their parents or other elders. Many of your employees undoubtedly face the same challenge.
Elder Care is different from Child Care.  You probably know which of your employees take care of young children. People generally talk about their kids. They put pictures of them on their desk. They swap stories with their co-workers about how to handle situations that come up along the way. Most people have a general knowledge of child care- or at least they know where to go for help or information.
People don’t talk as much about their declining parents or put pictures of them on their desk. You may not know which of your employees take care of an older adult, yet 79% of family caregiving is care for someone over 50 years old.
The aging of a parent isn’t something that’s eagerly awaited the way a child is. Many people know nothing about Elder Care until faced with a crisis, at which point their lives are disrupted in unexpected ways. Their new caregiver responsibilities can affect their social life, marriage, finances, health and their productivity at work.  Eventually many leave their job, take Family leave or move from full-time to part-time- 6 out of 10 report making adjustments at work due to caregiving responsibilities.
Caregiver responsibilities cost U.S. businesses an estimated $17 to $33 billion annually. Companies are impacted through:
·         Replacement Costs
·         Absenteeism
·         Workday interruption
·         Supervisory cost
·         Unpaid leave
·         Reducing hours from Full-time to Part-time
The largest of these costs by far is absenteeism. Employer loss because of absenteeism related to caregiving is estimated to be $2100-$2500 annually per employee. To get an estimate of the impact Elder Care is having on your business try this calculator provided by MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving:
What can businesses do to reduce these costs? Here are some ideas:
·         Educate employees about Senior Care and their options:
o   LTC Alternatives
o   Living Wills
o   Remote Technology
o   Assistive Devices
o   Home Care, and more
·         Offer Workplace Flexibility
o   Flextime
o   Compressed Workweeks
o   Job sharing
o   Telecommuting
·         Offer a LTC Insurance Benefit
·         Offer a Work/Life Home Care Program
·         Team up with an Elder Care Expert that your employees can use as a resource and provide counseling on Long Term Care options.

Homewatch CareGivers of the Lehigh Valley offers a free Work/Life Homecare program that includes being available to your employees as an Elder Care Expert and a series of Lunch and Learns on topics related to Elder Care.   A range of upgrade packages are available for companies that want to offer an increased benefit.  For more information call 610-882-2477 and ask for Maritza.



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