Elder Care on the Job
The sandwich generation is a term that describes the plight of many family caregivers being “squeezed” at both ends of the spectrum-juggling child and elder care responsibilities-while working full time. Employees who do not have adequate resources or support may start to slip in their overall functioning and job performance. Do they share this burden with their employers? Often, they do not, for fear of losing their job.
In turn, many employers do not realize the impact of caregiving responsibilities on their employees until absenteeism and lack of productivity start to impact the bottom line of the company:
According to the Sloan Work and Family Research Network (2007):
Nearly 60% of those caring for an adult over the age of 50 are working; the majority of those fulltime” (MetLife Mature Market Institute, & National Alliance for Caregiving, 2006). Also, 62% of employed caregivers changed their daily schedule, went in late, left early, or took time off during work. Even more unexpected is the high cost of inconsistent employee attendance due to care giving responsibilities.
According to The MetLife Caregiving Costs Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business, produced in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC): the average caregiver costs an employer $2,110 per year. For those caregivers providing the most intense levels of care, the cost per employee is $2,441, totaling $17.1 billion. The total annual cost for all caregivers is $33.6 billion.
There are also increased healthcare costs. In addition, the National Working Caregiver’s Resource Center (2007) stated that when employees are caring for someone and they are not covered by the company’s health care policy, company costs go up:
- 75% of working caregivers report an adverse effect on their own health
- 22 % report a significant difference impact on their own health
- 50% report 8 additional visits per year to a health care provider (for themselves) as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
What is the solution?
As geriatric care managers, our area of expertise extends into assisting corporations in offering workshops, one on one counseling sessions and assessments of the elder in need. We assist employees in order to help them answer important care questions by garnering appropriate resources, finding appropriate placements and home care aides to reduce their caregiver burden. If you are a company that sees the value in providing these important resources, your employee will benefit and so will you!