I read an article on the Harvard Business Review blog which confirmed and reinforced everything that I (and thousands of others) having been saying for years. Caregivers will miss work, retire early, have more health problems, and require assistance and support from their employers. This is not an upcoming problem for which employers should plan. This IS a problem for which employers should react. I have attempted over the years to implore companies to adopt new work policies and programs to address the challenges of caregiving but I have been met with resistance.
At face value, human resource professionals recognize the problem and want to meet their employees’ needs but due to financial constraints caregiving is not prioritized. I get it. Funds are limited and not every employee problem can be addressed. Most often, HR refers its employees to Employee Assistance Programs, some of whom have caregiver resources and many who say they do but in reality, do not. Plus, EAP programs are an intervention AFTER a problem arises. There is no prevention in these programs as related to elder issues and caregiving.
There are SO MANY inexpensive solutions. For example, Erickson Resource Group has on-line pre-recorded webinars and worksheets that employers (and EAP’s) could purchase (at a minimal cost) and give their employees access at their own convenience. ( www.ericksonresource.com/toolkits www.ericksonresource.com/webinars ) This will ease the burden of searching for resources and guidance as the information is housed at one easy access location. Additionally, most of the information Erickson Resource Group provides is PROACTIVE which serves to educate families so that steps are taken PRIOR to a crisis. If (and when) an aging crisis hits, the employee will actually lose LESS time at work since they will have been prepared. With all of the technological opportunities, there are Skype trainings, live webinars, phone teleconferences, etc. that can be accessed at minimal fees as well.
I urge employers to take action NOW. Preparation will only serve the employees’ and companies’ best interest.
Harvard Business Review article: blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/no-one-should-have-to-choose-between-caregiving-and-work/