Employee Programs Caregivers Find Useful
Employee programs caregivers find useful include accessible, practical, and convenient resources to ease the pressure of caring for aging parents. The number of employees caring for elderly parents has increased significantly as a result of the pandemic. A report called Women, Work, and Family during COVID highlights the challenges of working women attempting to balance careers, eldercare, and child care.
As a result, many corporations are investigating options for employee programs for caregivers. While the ability to work from home for employee caregivers saves commute time, family care responsibilities for children and elderly parents create mental stress and time pressures.
A Working Caregiver’s Story
Kathryn is a 40-year-old manager for a medium-sized company. She is her parent’s primary caregiver and assists with personal care, chores around the house, grocery shopping, preparing meals, and managing medications. Kathryn is hesitant to tell her manager the genuine need for coming in late or leaving early for fear of not being viewed as a serious employee. Her job is a distraction from caring for her elderly parents, and she enjoys the work. However, being a caregiver is taking a toll on her health.
She feels guilty about neglecting the relationship with her spouse and children. Additionally, Kathryn is worried about what happens when her parents need more care—she realizes that she soon may be at an emotional breaking point and is unsure what to do. Does she quit her job to become a caregiver for her parents and focus on the relationship with her family? What other options exist for Kathryn to remain employed, support her parents, and be a good wife and mother?
Supporting working caregivers by providing employee programs caregivers find useful can minimize concerns by caregivers who may feel pressured to choose between work and caregiving. Women are most often the primary source of care for aging parents and raise children. Although, in dual-earner families, men are taking on more family care responsibilities.
The Number of Working Caregivers is Growing
Companies investigating employee programs caregivers may find helpful may not have a good idea of the number of working caregivers. Today, millennials represent about one-fourth of all family caregivers. Many adults helping parents, grandparents, or another family member do not define their role as a “caregiver.”
This lack of role definition is problematic if workplace surveys use the word caregiver rather than describing the type of support or actions that help others in the family to identify working caregivers. In addition to caring for elderly parents, many working women provide support for a husband in poor health while also raising children.
Difficult Caregiving Situations Are Increasing
The pandemic has resulted in greater demands for the time of adult children with aging parents. Stay-at-home orders and concerns by elders about going out in public resulted in adult children grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and running other types of errands.
Hesitancy to move parents into eldercare communities or nursing homes has resulted in children moving elderly parents into their homes or children moving into the homes of elderly parents to provide care. Add the experience of working from home, and you have a household that represents a ticking time bomb for the caregiver trying to do it all.
Difficult caregiving situations place more pressure on caregivers. The effects include lost time, decreased productivity, stalled careers, unpaid leave of absences, employee turnover, or early retirement. While many corporations confirm that the pandemic has not affected overall productivity, working caregivers of the elderly feel more stretched than ever.
The Changing Dynamics of Caregiving
While the role of caregiving can have positive effects on caregivers by increasing self-esteem, improving relationships with parents, and gaining a sense of self-satisfaction for being helpful, these aspects can change over time. Situational events like a hospitalization, worsening of a health diagnosis, and spending more time caregiving can quickly change the dynamics of caregiving.
The needs of working caregivers vary according to the needs of elderly parents. Many children have no prior caregiving experience or knowledge of available resources.
Working with doctors and the healthcare system can be challenging due to a lack of understanding of navigating healthcare conditions. Caregivers do not know how to identify the needs of elderly parents, recognize when parents need more care, determine what questions to ask, what information is beneficial, or decide what services might be helpful in the care of parents.
For all of these reasons, companies who develop a plan to offer employee programs caregivers find useful, garner the loyalty of employees struggling to balance work, family, and caregiving responsibilities. Happy, healthy, and supported caregivers do better in all aspects of life.
Employee Programs Caregivers Find Useful
Workplace programs featuring caregiver education available on an internal learning management system offer a direct and easily accessible pathway to responding to the needs of caregivers. Employee programs caregivers find valuable include educational webinars, onsite programs, surveys, newsletters, and live Q&A sessions.
Frequent and ongoing communication with working caregivers will ensure that caregivers feel confident to develop a plan to care for aging parents. Educational information available 24/7 on a company intranet allows caregivers to access the information any time of day or during the weekend.
Workplace flexibility to allow caregivers to make calls about services during the day or meet with community services providers to establish care for elderly parents is essential. Many of these agencies, including healthcare providers, are only open during working hours Monday through Friday.
Blending Workplace Cultures With Family Caregiving Cultures
Offering a supportive workplace culture for caregivers can reduce feelings of work-family conflict. Employees have the opportunity to manage their schedules to meet work requirements and the time necessary to fulfill the care needs of parents.
Employers must recognize that some employees may fear retribution for participating in company employee programs that identify them as caregivers. Family backgrounds and cultural differences may have employees viewing the act of seeking help—and having others become aware of this need—as being disrespectful within a family or to elderly parents.
For some children, being a dutiful son or daughter is a family responsibility not to be questioned. For these individuals, focusing on the well-being of the caregiver to allow focus on the care of a parent offers a basis for participation in employee programs that support caregiving activities.
Decision-Support Focused Employee Caregiver Programs
Support services available through employee assistance programs may be general in nature rather than specific to aging care. Counseling programs and referral networks serve a purpose.
Rather than relying solely on referral models for eldercare, identifying employee needs and offering educational programs available through LMS systems can increase the effectiveness of employee programs caregivers find useful. Caring for aging parents involves many levels of decision-making depending on the rate at which parents progress through levels of needed care.
Family caregivers can feel more pressured when there is no plan for the care of a parent, and day-to-day interactions involve ongoing crisis management for unexpected situations. The ability of the adult child caregiver to educate and inform parents about aspects of health and aging can offer relief to the entire family.
Partner With an Aging Professional to Deliver Employee Programs Caregivers Find Useful
Partnering with an aging professional to develop employee caregiver programs offers a direct path to the expertise beneficial for working caregivers. The role of caregiving requires many skills in addition to benefitting from the knowledge of navigating the healthcare system, financially and legally planning for care, and managing complex family relationships.
Pamela Wilson’s experience as a court-appointed guardian, medical and financial power of attorney, trustee, the personal representative of the estate, and care manager for elderly and disabled clients for more than twenty years offers a rare breadth of experience. Employees who currently support family members benefit from education and knowledge about resources and services.
Other employees not yet in a caregiving role can benefit from access to caregiver resources and education. Knowledge about healthcare prevention, wellness, and the effects of aging can increase interest in retirement planning and the importance of initiating discussions with parents who are healthy today about planning for future care needs.
To Learn More About Employee Programs for Caregivers Contact Pamela Wilson Today
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