Thursday, June 16, 2011

Employees, Aging Parents and You

Guest post by Susan Avello

If you are responsible for taking care of an elderly relative or friend, it will likely impact your health and your employer’s bottom line.  Employees in the U.S. who are caring for an older relative are more likely to report health problems like depression, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, costing employers an estimated average additional health care cost of 8% per year, or $13.4 billion annually, according to the MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Cost.

These family caregivers are juggling their responsibilities to their own families and to their parents and have now been labeled “The Sandwich Generation.” They are trying to juggle children, parents and work and are experiencing considerable health issues as a result of their focus on caring for others. The need for flexibility in the workplace and in policies that would benefit working caregivers is likely to increase in importance as more working caregivers continue to remain in the workplace and put off retirement.

As the percentage of employees who are caregivers continues to grow, there will be greater demand on employers for help and support. Caring for family while trying to fit it into an already stressful work situation can be challenging and negatively impact physical health and workplace productivity. Although most employers offer family medical leave of absence they are also starting to see the need to incorporate strategies for flex-time and are looking for a creative approach in helping their employees with the myriad of life changes they are currently facing.

Who Can Help?

Aging Info USA has been working closely with corporations and employees in the workplace since inception and closely monitoring these issues to provide the best in education and training both for employee caregivers and for executive management. Our goal is to partner with employers, evaluate the cost of employee care giving to their specific situations and create solutions to increase productivity, employee engagement, reduction of health care costs and increased revenue.

More Help On the Way

In Fall 2011 we will launch CaregiverLife.com, an interactive online 'one-stop shop' to help employee caregivers navigate the continuum of aging care through educational videos, blogs, webinars, interactive discussion boards, Skype conferencing and podcasts centering on care giving and work/life challenges. CaregiverLife.com will also be an interactive training portal for HR and management to stay ahead of the game in the area of work/life issues associated with eldercare and all aspects of care giving.  In addition to providing training and education in the form of webinars, videos, podcasts and virtual events, CaregiverLife.com will offer continuing education certification through our partnership with Human Resource Certification Institute.

We are excited about the launch of CaregiverLife coming in the Fall of 2011 and helping employees and employers alike navigate these critical life changes.

Susan Avello is Vice President and Partner of Aging Info USA and is based in Chicago, IL. Aging Info USA directly supports employee caregivers, HR and Executive Management by implementing creative approaches in education, resources and training in regard to eldercare and family caregiving and work/life challenges. She is the author of two books as well as The Working Caregiver and HR Virtual Cafe blogs. You can connect with her on Twitter @susanavello.

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