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Many members of the 70 million-strong Baby Boomer generation are at prime caregiving age, and soon many will become care recipients themselves. While they will live longer than previous generations, they will also be fighting many battles with age-related health issues. And with hospital stays becoming shorter, this means many employees will soon be fighting a crisis new to them: in-home elder caregiving.
How can employers help their team members through this inevitable crisis? And why should they care?
Our Guest: Larry Nisenson from CareScout
On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends, Larry Nisenson of Genworth U.S. Life Insurance Segment and CareScout® Caregiver Support Services joins us to discuss how employers can anticipate the growing need for eldercare. We jumped right into the conversation by learning just how extensive the eldercare crisis will become:
“There exists today, in just in the US, over 40 million unpaid family caregivers,” Larry said. “Over the next decade, we expect that number to balloon up to 80 million. As the US economy ages and more folks must pitch in to help parents and loved ones, there is a dramatic impact on the US economy and workplace productivity. That puts incredible pressure on folks like you and me trying to work and take care of those we care about.”
Larry added that the situation often forces people to choose: “Do they take this burden on alone? Or so they can focus on work-life balance, or perhaps take care of younger family members, do they bring in help?”
This is where employers can step in and relieve some of this pressure.
Elder Caregiving: The Role of Employers
I asked Larry what employers can do to support the growing need for in-home caregivers. Larry’s response was both practical and insightful. Rather than assume what would help caregivers most, he says:
“We too often hear from employers: ‘The vast majority of my employees don’t need eldercare benefits.’” After demonstrating their employees soon will, Larry advised them: “First and foremost, survey your employees. Don’t assume you know. You’ve got to ask them what they need in terms of support!” Because caregiving is a unique, isolating incident, he adds there is another benefit to asking these questions:
“Caregivers need to know their employer is interested in helping.”
Once you have input from your employees, Larry says, consider offering employees an elder caregiving benefit: “Care advocacy benefits — where you call an 800 number, and they provide all of the advice, expertise that you need to make decisions for your elderly loved ones — is one of the hottest benefits out there.”
To learn more about how your company can help employees through the coming elder caregiving crisis, be sure to listen to my entire conversation with Larry. You, and your loved ones, will appreciate his expertise!
Have more questions about this topic? Find Larry on LinkedIn.