Caregiving comes in many forms: caring for children, for a spouse battling an illness, or for an elderly parent. Today 40% of adults are looking after an aging loved one, assuming responsibilities related to their health, well-being, living accommodations, transportation, and more.Employer-sponsored benefits also come in many forms, aimed at managing costs and keeping employees happy, healthy, productive, and engaged. Employers choose to offer benefits, perks, and other incentives based on what they perceive employees want or need.
• 73% of employees have some type of caregiving responsibility.
• 80% of employees with caregiving duties say it affects their work performance.
• Nearly 1 in 3 employees have voluntarily left a job to tend to caregiving responsibilities.
• When employees were asked about significant factors that contributed to quitting a job, 53% mentioned the unaffordable cost of paid help, 44% mentioned the inability to find trustworthy and qualified help, and 40% mentioned the inability to meet work responsibilities due to increased caregiving responsibilities.
But when employees spend time at work worrying about whether their parent’s home health aide arrived on time, juggling phone calls with two specialists’ offices, and figuring out the paperwork is needed for a move to assisted living — is that time money?Caregiving costs employers, and employees, every day. When employees are stretched too thin between their jobs and a loved one, their productivity and focus suffer. They may need to take longer breaks, arrive late, or leave early. They may work remotely more often or take more unplanned absences if that’s not possible. They may even need to pass on an opportunity to travel for work or a promotion.
“The idea to support caregivers actually came to us from patients we serve and employers we work with,” explains Rene’ Coult-Calendine, Fairview's Vice President of Market and Product Development. “They were seeing their doctor for stress, anxiety, and other related health issues that could be correlated with the responsibilities of being a caregiver. They felt that a program for caregivers would be priceless to them.”
In 2017, Fairview introduced Caregiver Assurance, a service to help people succeed in caring for both their loved one and themselves. Licensed social workers with expertise in eldercare and caregiving duties give dedicated, ongoing support to caregivers. For example, they provide consultation and information, help navigate the health system, share suggested solutions, and often just lend an ear to listen.In 2018, Fairview started offering Caregiver Assurance in our benefits package — a step in promoting a culture of care in our organization and recognizing the needs of our employees. Now, the service is available to other employers who want to support their employees this way and get ahead of the hidden costs of caregiving.
“We are excited to help employers help their employees,” Rene’ says.Caregiving is going to remain a challenge that employers must acknowledge. Fairview is committed to helping forge the solutions.