November marks National Family Caregiver’s Month, a time to acknowledge all who care for family members who are aging, ill or disabled. And while family caregivers come in many shapes and sizes, the AARP reports the average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and spends nearly 20 additional hours each week providing unpaid care to a parent.
We take this month to focus on those providing the individual care, however, we should not forget the bigger picture of impact. Multiple sources such as Harvard Business Review, AARP, and Family Caregiver Alliance cite that the cost of caregiving not only impacts individuals but has a significant impact on local businesses as well. It adds up quickly—up to $33 billion in lost productivity annually through absenteeism, reduced hours, employee replacement efforts and workday adjustments (AARP).
Council on Aging’s “Caregiving in the Workplace” initiative has been partnering with local businesses to understand more about the landscape of caregiving in our workplace. The results are eye-opening. Almost half [PS1] of all employees are providing some sort of support or care to an aging loved one, and of those who are not, 88 percent foresee a time when they will have to provide support. Even more challenging to local businesses, when faced with the dual responsibilities of caregiving and working, many employee caregivers will cut back their hours (64 percent of local caregivers reported they have taken time off of work), use vacation/sick time or take unpaid leave to provide care. And, when unable to keep up with the endless demands of caregiving and work, over half of working caregivers will leave their jobs altogether.
Can your organization afford to lose half of its employees to caregiving responsibilities? If you would like to learn more about how caregiving is impacting your employees, participate in our survey. Ask your employer or human resources department to get involved. We have a toolkit that makes it easy to launch the anonymous survey across your organization. Contact us today to learn more.
If you or someone you know needs help with caregiving right away, contact us at (513) 721-1025 or www.help4seniors.org.