Working Caregivers — A Dilemma for Businesses

Written by Kevin K. Johnson

To paraphrase a quote attirbuted to Rosilyn Carter “you either are a caregiver, you will someday be a caregiver, or you will someday need caregiving services“. 

This has never been more evident than in today’s complex world where we face the pressures of work and careers; the joy and challenge of raising our families and running our households; and often the pressure of providing care for aging parents and loved ones. With parents and in-laws in their late 80’s, I well know this burdon, the personal strain caregiving creates.

PERSONAL TOLL
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), more than 13 million people juggle these two huge responsibilities. Being a caregiver comes with a high burdon and an equally challenging price. From higher levels of depression and anxiety to coping with feelings ranging from despair to apathy, the emotional toll is significant. Physical pains such as headaches and back pains are common. Together, the emotional and physical stresses can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.

AMERICA’S BUSINESSES
Naturally, there’s a huge impact for U.S. businesses. The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that those with eldercare responsibilities cost employers $13.4 billion a year in excess medical costs. The NHPCO found that lateness, absenteeism, employee turnover and loss of efficiency add up to $25 billion in lost productivity. The financial impact is staggering.

The bottom line: Caregiving is a vital business issue. Employers lose output and face increased health care costs. Employees lose jobs, opportunities for advancement, and in many cases, their health.

Help is available for both the employee and the employer. One good source is the Caring Connections program (http://www.caringinfo.org/). Created by the NHPCO, it gives working caregivers tips, from advice on managing finances to creating a safe home environment for an ill loved one. It also provides guidance for all employees to support someone who is grieving. For employers, there’s a guide to work life programs and policies, suggestions on helping employees cope after a serious event, and even how your company can deal with grief when an employee dies.

Another good source is Caring Concierge, http://www.caringconcierge.com/ in Cleveland, OH. Caring Concierge is a risk management company providing employers with solutions to address business productivity loss caused by employee lost time hours resulting from the crisis of adult caregiving.

Without a doubt, working caregivers need and deserve support. Fortunately, more and more employers are understanding the productivity loss they are experiencing as their employees are thrust into the role of caregiving.

  • Excepts from Crossroads Hospice, in Tulsa, OK
  • Kevin K. Johnson is Managing Director of Caring Concierge, http://www.caringconcierge.com/ in Cleveland, OH
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About Caring Concierge
Caring Concierge is a risk management company providing employers throughout northeast Ohio with solutions to address business productivity loss caused by employee lost time hours resulting from the crisis of adult caregiving. The Caring Concierge model provides these solutions at no cost to employers. One motivating issue that inspired the creation of Caring Concierge is the personal challenges I've faced juggling work and trying to manage eldercare issues associated with the care and well-being of my elder parents. My efforts in the eldercare issues also extend to volunteer service. I proudly serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fairhill Partners (www.fairhilpartners.org), in Cleveland, OH., a non-profit organization focused on lifelong learning, intergenerational relationships, and successful aging. In addition to academic degrees in Mechanical Engineering (undergraduate) and Business Management (graduate), I have earned the professional designation of Certified Senior Advisor.

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