Nationally, the older adult population is growing while the workforce to care for them is shrinking. Family members – your employees – are being called upon to fill the gap.
In fact, 70 percent of employee-caregivers struggle at work. They take time off, forego promotions, cut back hours or leave the workforce altogether. The financial impact is staggering: annually, employees lose up to $3 trillion in wages and benefits while employers lose $17-33 billion to absenteeism and turnover.
In its groundbreaking 2018 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 .” As a first step, the report urged businesses to conduct a “care census” to better understand the scope and impact of employees’ caregiving responsibilities.
In 2019, Council on Aging (COA) conducted a Care Census among 1,000 employees at Cincinnati-area employers to better understand the impact of elder caregiving on our local workforce. Findings show that nearly 50 percent of employees engage in elder caregiving responsibilities with 64 percent of these employee-caregivers reporting they have missed work due to caregiving. Click here to learn more about COA’s Care Census.
COA can ease the burden many caregivers feel by filling gaps in care created when caregivers need to tend to other responsibilities, including work and raising children. Through publicly-funded services including home-delivered meals, housekeeping, emergency response systems, transportation and more, Council on Aging can provide peace of mind for working caregivers – and the employers who rely on them.
We’d like to share our knowledge of how caregiving is impacting your workforce, and the local resources available to help support employees who may be struggling to manage elder caregiving responsibilities. COA can:
- Present (virtually or in-person) directly to your employees about programs and support to help manage caregiving responsibilities.
- Participate in health and wellness events hosted by your organization for your employees.
- Share data from our Care Census with your leadership team to increase their knowledge and awareness of the impact of elder caregiving on our regional workforce.
- Provide COA brochures and fact sheets to distribute in your organization or provide educational content for your employee intranet and newsletters.
- Offer innovative training and education opportunities for family caregivers to reduce stress, increase empathy and improve caregiving skills and knowledge.
- Provide one-on-one support for family and volunteer caregivers.
To discuss options for meeting your organization’s needs, please contact COA’s outreach coordinator, Lisa Kruse.
Working Caregivers: In their own words
COA has been partnering with businesses in the Greater Cincinnati region to better understand how elder caregiving is impacting our local workforce. We have also been collecting stories from working caregivers to better understand the impact caregiving has on their lives. These emotional stories call attention to the commitment and sacrifice of local caregivers. These are caregivers who are committed to carrying out their loved-one’s wishes, even while juggling careers and child-rearing.
The stories also highlight the impact Council on Aging has on our community at large – not just seniors. Because of Council on Aging, these caregivers can go to work each day knowing their loved one is safe and cared for. The stress and worry that often goes along with caregiving may still be there, but the burden is lightened and they can focus on their careers, family responsibilities and other important parts of their lives. Many caregivers also report that having help from COA enables them to spend more quality time with their older loved one – not just time providing care. Click here to view the entire video series.
January 2020: Employers should take a “care census” in 2020
January 2020: COA receives Outstanding Project in Aging award
November 2019: Support for working caregivers is good for business
September 2019: A crisis of caregiving: we are not prepared
August 2019: The gender bias of caregiving economics
April 2019: Messer Construction pilots initiative focused on employees who care for loved ones (Cincinnati Business Courier)
February 2019: Working caregivers – and their employers – feel the pinch