Employers should take a "care census" in 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

In its groundbreaking report, The Caring Company, the Harvard Business School began a national conversation about the far-reaching impact of caregiving on the U.S. workforce.

The report noted that “employers do not measure and thus do not realize the extent to which employees are burdened by care [three out of four employees have caregiving responsibilities].” As a first step, the report urged businesses to conduct a regular “care census” to better understand the scope and impact of employees’ caregiving responsibilities.

The report calls special attention to the issue of elder caregiving, noting that in less than 15 years, people age 65 and older will outnumber those age 18 and under. Additional demographic shifts are already underway which will have significant ramifications for the working-age population:

  • by 2025, more than one in four Ohioans will be age 60 or older
  • more than one in six working Americans is an elder caregiver
  • a shortage of home health workers is placing extra burden on family caregivers
  • women make up a significant portion of the workforce while also shouldering a majority of caregiving responsibilities

Council on Aging is helping area businesses conduct a care census so our region can be better prepared for the impact of these dramatic demographic changes.  For example, more and more working-age people will be called to serve as caregivers for older loved ones. And the data tell us that they will do so despite the negative impact to their careers and savings, and their company’s bottom line – caregivers lose up to $3 trillion in wages and benefits each year and employers lose $17-33 billion due to absenteeism.

Through our care census of nearly 1,000 local employees, we found:

  • 49% of employees currently provide care to an aging family member or friend, while maintaining regular employment
  • 81% of employees, if not already providing care, believe they will have caregiving responsibilities in the near future
  • 64% of employees have missed work to take care of their aging family member
  • 44% are stressed about their caregiving situation, while at work

Council on Aging’s care census is helping COA and area employers understand the impact of caregiving in the workplace while creating partnerships between COA and the business community to better support working caregivers. The care census will continue in 2020. If you’d like to better understand the impact of caregiving on your workforce and learn more about the care census, contact us today.  

Click here to hear stories from local working caregivers. 














Council on Aging’s care census will continue in 2020. If you’d like to better understand the impact of caregiving on your workforce and learn more about care census, contact us today.