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Ask Your Employer to Support Your Caregiving Journey

If you are caring for elderly parents while working, it might be time to ask your employer about benefits for caregivers.

An AARP and Northeast Business Group on Health (NEGBH) study found that 1 in 6 employees is a caregiver for a friend or relative, spending at least 20 hours a week doing caregiving duties. “It’s safe to say that the numbers of employees acting as family caregivers will only grow,” the study states. “In the U.S., people are living longer, and as life expectancy grows, so too does the incidence of chronic illness and disability. Aging individuals need more care, and as these needs outstrip society’s ability and willingness to provide and pay for that care within the traditional healthcare system, more caregiving responsibilities fall to family members.”

Employer Benefits for Caregivers

When an employer has a good employee who is fully trained in their role, it could potentially be more expensive to replace them than to offer them benefits during their time as a caregiver. One S & P study showed that companies expanded “family-friendly policies” starting 2020, though the majority were favoring parents. “S & P Global and AARP found that companies reporting the lowest voluntary turnover rates tended to offer more benefits to family caregivers and parents,” this study explains. “Companies in the survey with more generous family-friendly policies also produced stronger returns.”

Some possible ways an employer can support an employee who is also a caregiver include:

  1. Allowing a flexible work schedule.
  2. Provide access to counseling and other mental health support.
  3. Offer a connection to professional caregiving services.

The Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving offers a comprehensive plan, “Working While Caring” that offers support and understanding for people who are trying to balance work and caregiving responsibilities as well as suggestions for employers.

Contact your Human Resources (HR) department or benefits coordinator to learn what resources are available, such as Employee Assistance Programs. It will benefit you as the employee to bring your needs to the attention of the company rather than taking emergency time off repeatedly, leaving others to take on your workload or show up for a missed meeting.

How to Talk to Your Boss About Working Remotely

A lot of caregiving involves taking someone to medical appointments where they might need an advocate to take notes or speak up for them. Caregiving can also include monitoring a loved one’s daily routines or helping them with preparing for the day and staying on a schedule with medications.

For these and other reasons, it can help if the caregiver is in the home and not at work even if they have time to work throughout the day. Since the pandemic in 2020, working from home has become a reality for a large percentage of the workforce so it’s never been easier to ask for this allowance in the workplace. Obviously, there are many jobs that require a person to be in the workplace—a hospital, a restaurant, a retail store, and more—but other roles can be filled with a laptop from anywhere.

Here are some tips to ask your boss for this benefit:

  • Talk to the IT department about any security concerns and be prepared to explain how you can work from a secure line at home.
  • Start by asking for a hybrid schedule of some days working from home, others coming into the office, to show that you will continue to be an effective and efficient employee.
  • Discuss the idea with co-workers to get them onboard so there is no resentment on the team, then share this feedback with your boss.
  • Be candid about the stress of caregiving, offering information about this benefit can help you be healthy at home and work.

Don’t Go It Alone -- Contact Homewatch CareGivers

Now that you know what employers can do to support caregivers, consider what other options there are for caregivers to lighten their load. Homewatch Connect™ is technology that allows a client to engage with family members and a care team with a secure channel so if you do have to go into work, you can still check in and be reassured that your loved one is doing OK during the day.

Contact Homewatch CareGivers today to find out how you can get more help so that you maintain your health and wellbeing at home and at work while you care for another.

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