Human Resource Challenges for Elder Care

Human resource challenges for elder care are the missing link to improve participation in employee wellness programs. If corporations offer whole-family programs, why not offer elder care programs? Programs by caregiving expert, Pamela D. Wilson provide options for corporations considering elder care programs.

C-suite executives question the success and ROI of employee wellness programs. The goal of employee wellness programs is to reduce insurance and health care costs by offering a variety of health-focused programs and incentives.

Maternity leave, paternity leave, and childcare programs are one aspect of employee wellness programs. The growing number of caregivers providing elder care presents an impending crisis for corporate productivity and employee retention.

“No one knows how stressful this is. No one talks about it because it’s so hard.”

 

If Whole-Family Care Why Not Elder Care?

The underlying basis for companies offering maternity leave means that women no longer need to choose between career and having a family. Human resource challenges for elder care have a similar effect on working caregivers—both female and male. According to the Harvard study, The Caring Company, 32% of employees voluntarily leave jobs during their career because of an inability to balance work and caregiving responsibilities.

Working caregivers raise young children and care for elderly parents. The goal of family care programs is to reduce the high cost of turnover, employee replacement costs, and boost. productivity. Whole-family care programs help attract employees who plan to have families but offer no programs to address corporate human resource challenges for elder care.

The High Costs of Human Resources Challenges for Elder Care

Women are career and financially hindered by family care that includes not only raising children but caring for elderly parents and caring for a sick or disabled spouse. Corporations who offer whole-family care but not elderly care are missing out on the link to support a large group of employees who fear admitting they are caring for elderly parents.

“When I say, you saved me, I really mean it. I’m ashamed to admit that I was very close to ending my life. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.”

Caregiving is one of the most stressful events in life.  The hidden costs of human resources challenges for elder care issues include:

  • Turnover
  • Loss of intellectual knowledge
  • Absenteeism
  • Presenteeism
  • Unexpected events
  • Replacements costs of valued employees

The hidden costs of elder care are higher than average rates of chronic disease for caregivers versus non-caregivers. Caregivers of elderly parents experience high levels of chronic stress and caregiver burnout. Research by Fagundes confirms that caregivers with chronic disease experience more frequent illness and higher mortality rates than non-caregivers.

Yet, caregivers neglect their health and well-being in favor of care for elderly parents. Employee wellness programs that offer an elder care component have the opportunity to connect with employees who can benefit the most from conversations about preventative health measures.

Elder care programs by caregiving expert, Pamela D Wilson, connect the dots between employee wellness programs and elder care. Being a caregiver for elderly parents or a spouse involves becoming more educated about chronic diseases that create the need for care.

Elderly adults experience different aspects of chronic disease that affect daily abilities to remain independent. Involvement by adult children caregivers in the care of elderly parents is an eye-opening experience. Attending medical appointments, managing prescriptions, and providing medical care builds awareness and relevance of living a healthy lifestyle for working caregivers.

How to Keep a Job and Care for Elderly Parents

Workplace family care benefits improve employee satisfaction surrounding major life events like pregnancy and childbirth. Caring for elderly parents is a significant life event with a time-frame greater than nine months of pregnancy and post-pregnancy leave. The lengthy time frame of caring for elderly parents present long-term human resources challenges.

Working caregivers experience emotional and physical health declines that result from the roles and responsibilities of caring for elderly parents. Caregivers are more likely to show up to work sick. Family caregiver health declines translate to higher employer costs for insurance and absenteeism when health issues advance and can no longer be ignored.

Programs by caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson featured in The Caring Generation podcast series address the issues of working caregivers. Statistics from research about working caregivers, women’s mid-life disability, work-life balance, and the increasing responsibilities of caregiving are featured on Pamela’s weekly radio program. Wilson’s book, The Caregiving Trap, provides practical advice for family caregivers.

Family Caregiver Responsibility Discrimination

While corporations support women who leave the workplace to have children, peers may view women as less committed. Employees recognize the risks of time out of the workplace, even when supported by FMLA programs.

Family caregivers for elderly parents fear workplace discrimination. Caregivers are well aware of how coming in late, leaving early or taking time off work may be viewed by supervisors and co-workers.

Corporations that do not offer human resource elder care programs have supervisors who feel like they have to tip-toe around the subject of caregiving. Unintentional statements or a lack of sensitivity results in supervisors making statements that can result in an employee filing a family caregiver responsibility discrimination claim.

Wilson experienced workplace issues at the time of the loss of her parents several years apart. One supervisor was extremely understanding at the time of her mother’s death. Another supervisor lacked empathy for Wilson who lost her father and a brother within the span of 12 months but chose instead to focus on steps Wilson was required to take to be promoted. 

Elder Care Programs Increase Loyalty

Increasing awareness of caregiving in the workplace and the availability of caregiving programs results in relief for family caregivers and supervisors. Caregiving programs open the door for employees to initiate conversations with supervisors to ensure completed work even when employees take time off work for elder care issues.

Programs By Caregiving Expert

Concerns about receiving a poor job review or hiding caregiving responsibilities become a non-issue when employees know that workplace support exists to work around the elder care needs of elderly parents. When caregivers feel confident in managing unexpected care situations productivity and loyalty increase.

 

“Of all of the groups I have ever become a part of your group is by far the best! I have learned so much from you. Thank you for making a difference!”

Family caregiver education programs connect with the health aspects of employee wellness programs focused on managing chronic disease and health. Practical discussions about chronic disease are part of the programs by caregiving expert, Pamela D Wilson. The elder care program, Taking Care of Elderly Parents – Stay at Home is a deep-dive program that addresses caregiving concerns.

“Caring for elderly parents results from a diagnosis of chronic disease or a health emergency. Physical inactivity by elderly parents leads to a need for more care—a greater time commitment by working adult children caregivers. When working caregivers understand what it takes to help elderly parents stay at home, they gain greater awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles, financial planning, and insurance options. Aspects of caring for elderly parents serve as a motivational walk-up call for working caregivers.”

 

Caregiving in World Changed by the Coronavirus

Fear about being diagnosed with the coronavirus has brought needed attention and greater awareness of the challenges faced by adult children caring for aging parents and spousal caregivers.  Adults diagnosed with breathing concerns like asthma, bronchitis, and COPD are more susceptible to the coronavirus – as well as adults diagnosed with one or more chronic diseases.

While caregivers for elderly parents have always been in the workplace—caregivers have been overlooked by employee wellness programs. Added concerns exist by caregivers as a result of coronavirus issues.

Caregivers worry about visiting elderly parents with chronic diseases who may be more susceptible to the coronavirus and other viruses. Concerns exist about elderly parents who live in nursing homes because of visitor restriction lockdowns and the well-publicized spread of the coronavirus within care communities. Caregivers who previously hired care agencies to come into the home are concerned about caregivers bringing the coronavirus into the home.

Caregivers returning to the workplace may be more distracted and worried about the care of elderly parents. Other research confirms that vaccinations beneficial for persons over age 50, pneumonia, and the flu, are less effective for adults who experience chronic stress, and immune system declines. This means that even when a vaccine is available for the coronavirus the vaccine may be less effective for family caregivers and elderly parents.

The Risks of Delaying Elder Care Wellness Programs

Workplace wellness programs require internal promotion and ongoing discussions to build employee participation. Financial Incentives have traditionally been necessary to increase participation levels.

Incentives for elder care programs are different. Awareness of caregiving issues builds motivation. Programs by caregiving expert, Wilson, present the risks of delaying or ignoring care planning for elderly parents and for working caregivers.

Wilson’s style of educating caregivers is authentic and features stories of caring for clients during her 20-year career as a court-appointed guardian, medical and financial power of attorney, the personal representative of the estate, trustee and care manager. This professional experience is invaluable in relating to the experiences of caregivers and aging adults. 

Discussions of skyrocketing care costs over $10,000 per month and the risks of lost lifetime earnings of one million dollars for working women grab attention These are the factors rarely discussed until care situations for elderly parents reach the crisis stage.

Identifying Working Caregivers

Employees caring for elderly parents hesitate to self-identify. Anonymous workplace surveys can identify the number of employees “helping” elderly parents or spouses.

Adult children rarely relate the idea of “helping” mom or dad to being a caregiver. The wording of the employee surveys must be carefully crafted to focus on the concept of helping elderly parents that eventually progresses to caregiving responsibilities. Generally, about 30% of employees are in a helping position for elderly parents.

“Pamela D. Wilson, you remain the kindest tower of strength through mom’s years of decline. I am so grateful for your wisdom and support!”

The first tier of human resource elder care programs is Increasing awareness of caregiving responsibilities and future concerns. The caregiving awareness program opens the door to link the elder care program to employee wellness programs that focus on chronic disease and health prevention.

The second tie—after awareness and gaining recognition of being a caregiver—is offering detailed solutions and processes for the depth of caregiving experiences. Wilson’s  Taking Care of Elderly Parents – Stay at Home Program provides a deep-dive into all aspects of care that family caregivers face.

The third tier of support for human resource elder care programs is caregiver support offered through Wilson’s online caregiving courses or additional educational or question and answer webinars provided on a routine basis.

Flexible Human Resource Elder Care Solutions – Programs by Caregiving Expert Pamela D Wilson

Wilson’s caregiving elder care programs are flexible. Awareness programs are provided on-site or broadcast through television-quality video conferencing. The Taking Care of Elderly Parents – Stay at Home Program s an online elder care program for employee access 24/7.

Because issues associated with elder care are far-reaching, easily accessible online support increases participation. Elder care programs are the missing link in the circle of care to improve involvement in employee wellness programs. Solutions exist for human resource challenges for elder care. 

For more information on Human Resource Elder Care programs, call Pamela D. Wilson at 303-810-1816 or complete a contact form on this website

 

About Pamela Wilson

PAMELA D. WILSON, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA helps caregivers and aging adults solve caregiving problems and manage caregiving needs through online programs, live support groups, and an extensive caregiving library that includes articles, podcasts, videos, and webinars.

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