There often comes a time when the child and parent caregiver roles flip. You may find yourself responsible for providing elderly care as you look over the health and well-being of your aging parents.
Workers who care for elderly relatives cost U.S. businesses about $34 billion in lost productivity annually, as CBS News reports. In order to address this issue, you can extend benefits to assist your workers providing elderly care.
Insurance and Financial Benefits
One solution to the caregiving issue is to let employees enroll an elderly relative on their insurance at regular family rates. You can also offer discounted long-term care insurance. Finances can hamper access to residential care, so expanding any existing long-term care insurance to include family members may solve that dilemma for those staff members in need of assistance.
Also, look into whether your insurance covers low-cost, in-home care. This allows employees to work when there’s a care crisis, as they’ll have the chance to contact someone to provide short-term care in emergencies.
Time Management Benefits
Part of the stress involved with providing elderly care is the logistics. Educate your employees on how a geriatric care specialist can assess their family dynamics and provide advice concerning home adaptation and/or assisted living placement. A professional consultation provides clarity as well as assistance in maximizing resources. In a similar vein, ensure your staff knows about all the available benefits — whether elderly care related or not — that your company offers.
In addition, offer flexible hours and sick days for employees . This helps with the stress of missing work in order to care for elderly relatives. Sometimes it may be necessary for caregivers to have a few days’ leave to sort through a crisis – you may be able to allow employees to take unpaid days as well to accommodate their needs. Allowing them to take that time means they’ll be able to return to work quickly and fully able to complete their duties.
Other Support Benefits
Elderly care can be overwhelming, sometimes making the caregiver feel isolated and out of control. There may be a number of employees in similar situations, so providing space and time for them to share with each other is helpful. Arrange monthly support groups for caregivers and their families. Having the additional stress of elder care can affect every aspect of a person’s life — but the chance to talk it over with other people who share similar experiences can relieve stress.
Expand your Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to include assistance for those providing elderly care, too. Some caregivers need the opportunity to have a confidential source of help. Assistance may include family and individual counseling, as well as respite care.
The changing dynamic of families and the diversity in your workplace means that some of your employees are raising their children while others are taking care of older relatives. Expanding your benefits to allow your employees to manage every aspect of their family’s health is a smart business move. Have a conversation with your insurance agent or health plan representative to discuss how to customize your benefits plan to accommodate the needs of your workforce.
Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.