The Truth About Eldercare and the Workplace

The true impact of eldercare on the workplace is being revealed by a growing body of research from The National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP, Harvard Business School, and Transamerica Institute, among others. However, many employers still don’t know the basics about their own employees providing eldercare, including their demographics, their range of caregiving responsibilities, and how those responsibilities impair their productivity, health and careers.

Fresh insights into these issues appeared in a 2018 survey of family caregivers and care recipients conducted by long-term care insurance company, Genworth. Here are some of its findings:

Who’s Providing Eldercare?

  • Caregivers are getting younger: 58% are between the ages of 25 and 54, with an average age of 47 (down from 53 in 2010)
  • The average caregiver is married, 47 years old, and spends up to 21 hours per week providing care
  • Caregivers are no longer predominantly female. The gender split is now 50%-50%

How Does Eldercare Impact Work?

  • Overall, 50% of caregivers report negative effects on their careers
  • 70% missed time at work
  • 62% lost income as a result of caregiving
  • 46% cut back their hours

How Is Caregivers’ Health Affected?

  • 53% of caregivers feel high levels of stress
  • 46% said caregiving had a negative impact on their own health and wellbeing
  • 41% reported feelings of depression, mood swings and resentment

How Does Eldercare Affect Family Relationships?

  • 50% of elder caregivers have less time to care for their spouses, children and themselves
  • 40% report negative impacts to their relationships with their spouse/partner
  • 29% say their relationships with their children are negatively affected

 How Does Eldercare Impact Finances?

  • 63% of caregivers are paying for care out of their own savings and retirement funds
  • 48% are reducing their quality of life due to caregiving expenses
  • 42% are reducing contributions to their own savings

But the News Isn’t All Bad

But the News Isn’t All Bad …
As Genworth reports, many employers are beginning to change the way they support the needs of their workers who also provide eldercare, such as implementing flexible work schedules.

The proof is in the falling percentage of working caregivers who report negative impacts to their work and careers. For example, fewer caregivers report having to miss work (70% in 2018 versus 77% in 2015) and fewer report cutting back their hours (46% in 2018 versus 52% in 2015).

Still, there’s plenty of room for improvement—and that doesn’t just mean more employers providing flexible work schedules. In fact, flex time isn’t the only solution to caregivers’ needs and it simply isn’t feasible for some organizations or for certain types of jobs.

Other helpful solutions include giving employees access to senior care management programs, comprehensive backup care programs, discount programs that cater to caregivers, and financial wellness, to name a few.

Of course, one of the best ways to gain clarity on your organization’s elder caregivers is to survey your employees directly. Not only will you learn exactly how extensive your caregiving population is and the impacts it’s experiencing but you can also learn what types of support programs they need and value most. And that’s the key to building a truly effective support strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing high-impact caregiver support programs, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.