Monthly Archives: April 2014

Caregiving is a Corporate Issue

Caregiving is a Corporate Issue

Check out this great article by Sherri Snelling: Caregiving is a Corporate Issue:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/03/27/caregiving-is-a-corporate-issue/

I’ve included my submitted comments here. Please share your opinion, thoughts, and experiences with me about this ever growing work/life challenge.

Thank you Shelly!

Those of us trying to help educate employers and employees applaud you for turning the spotlight onto the “employee as elder caregiver” challenge. And a “Thank You” to the employers that are helping their employees that provide care for an older adult loved one while also working for you.

Despite hundreds of stories and studies on the “employee as elder caregiver challenge” many companies are unaware of this productivity draining and stress inducing problem. The reasons for this are many, but Shelly has pointed out several of the more problematic ones, including how it usually takes the head of a company or someone in the C-Suite to encounter elder caregiving difficulties before a realization is made it is also affecting their employee population. Another is the fear in loss of employment or opportunity to advance by admitting you are an elder caregiver, (especially when economy tanks and employers are looking to downsize).

There are dozens of measures a company can take to define and manage this ever expanding work/life issue. Many of the solutions are inexpensive and some are free. They help bring positive enhancement of company productivity, associated employee health-related issues and facilitate relief of employee eldercare-related stresses.

An initial tip for employers: Many employee respondents to my survey indicated the #1 piece of advice they craved was about Medicare and Medicaid. Many were unaware there was even a difference between the two. Contact an expert in this area and have them provide several lunch and learns for your employees. Have the employees provide you with feedback.

I also encourage visiting the ReACT web site http://respectcaregivers.org. ReACT is a coalition of corporations and organizations dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by employee caregivers and reducing the impact on the companies that employ them. You will learn about free resources and tools for employers. As a ReACT Advisory committee member, you can find me listed under “About ReACT”, then “Our Members”, Corporate Eldercare Solutions or http://www.corporateeldercaresolutions.com

I look forward to seeing an increasing number of articles on this growing crisis (because that is what it is).

Have the eldercare needs of employees been addressed in your work environment?

If they have, please share them with us. While it is our business to help companies and employees find solutions to these challenges, opening the “front door” on this blog is a great way to begin the conversation.

Providing the name of your employer industry and area of the country is acceptable, however we ask that you do not name the employer. Thank you.

 

Can you share some additional problems for employed elder caregivers in addition to bottom line costs?

The stresses of elder caregiving are not limited to less productivity and increased health care costs. An expansion of an employee’s eldercare stresses may first manifest themselves in ongoing disagreements with siblings, family members and children. One of the most significant challenges facing employees in this economic climate is their financial standing; in this economy, providing from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per month for an elder loved one for care can be “retirement crippling.”

We know many employees are, at this time, most concerned about finances. What the majority of employers don’t know, is that part of this problem stems from dollars going to help their elder loved one.

Wouldn’t an employer or supervisor know when one of their employees is struggling with a work/life issue?

My friends and colleagues all have photos displayed on their desks. They are usually of spouses, children, pets or vacations. That’s all fine and well. It’s comforting, isn’t it?

When was the last time you saw in an office space a photo of an employee helping their elder parent to and from the bathroom, taking them to doctor appointments, or a photo of them helping their elder get out of bed, being fed, given medication, being bathed or dressed.

This IS what occurs in the morning before work, during lunch time, and after work.

We don’t see it because eldercare is not discussed in the workplace as other work/life issues are communicated in the workplace. This secret is kept from employers, supervisors, and even co-workers for many reasons. The main being: not wanting to appear less productive, fearing the issue will risk their chance for advancement, pressure to keep family matters private, believing government programs will pay for care, believing they owe the elder assistance without complaint and avoidance until a crisis occurs because of elder resistance to help.