Caregivers need our help. With 53 million Americans spending nearly 24 hours a week providing unpaid care for a loved one, this isn’t a population we can ignore.
We’ve seen a surge of articles and studies about the caregiver crisis throughout this pandemic, but as Ryan Golden of HR Dive points out, this issue was growing before the emergence of COVID-19. Especially for the 61% of caregivers who have jobs on top of their caregiving responsibilities. Working caregivers have been struggling to balance their two worlds for a long time, with 80% distracted at work, 86% staying home a few times per year, and 70% cutting back on work hours, all due to their caregiving duties. Absenteeism related to caregiving costs companies about $5.1 billion annually, which doesn’t include costs of presenteeism and declining health as caregivers abandon their own self-care.
How to Support Working Caregivers
This is where the caregiving population stood before the pandemic fully reached the U.S. In her Employee Benefit News article, Amanda Schiavo explains that “this pressure on employees will only increase as they return to work and struggle to find adequate care.” Now, as businesses start to prepare for a transition back to the office, we need to consider how to best support our employees doubling as caregivers.
In response to the continuously developing caregiving crisis, New Benefits’ EVP Operations, Amanda Franklin, said:
“The pandemic has created new anxiety for everyone, and particularly individuals with children and loved ones for whom they are responsible. Providing these caregiving individuals with tools and support to help manage increased financial and emotional stress is one way employers can not only keep employees more productive, but also earn employee trust and loyalty. Knowing your employer is aware of these increased challenges and is willing to offer a solution will go a very long way to build employee morale during a very uncertain time.”
Schiavo also describes the need to provide caregiver support tools to employees. She says if employers can address the issue now, they’re more likely to see a return on investment in the form of higher productivity and improved well-being.
Three Essentials for Caregiver Support
New Benefits has kept our finger on the pulse of the caregiver crisis for a few years now, and we’ve developed a bundle of services to help address the productivity and health issues faced by working caregivers.
Caregiving requires a lot of organization. Between overseeing doctor’s visits, prescription medications, legal documents, updating family members, and more, it takes a mental and physical toll on the caregiver. Connected Caregiving by alska (“love” in Swedish) helps caregivers efficiently manage all of these responsibilities through a web-based platform with secure document storage, an interactive calendar, and a space to update and delegate tasks to the care team. By providing one location to handle caregiving responsibilities, employees minimize distractions at work and are able to stay focused and productive.
A recent AARP report found that 40% of caregivers live with their recipient, and spend nearly 24 hours a week helping with daily living activities like driving, shopping, and cooking. Care Companions by Papa gives these caregivers a much needed break. Caregivers can schedule a highly vetted “Papa Pal” to provide their loved one with companionship and assistance with transportation, household chores, technology lessons, and more. They’ve also developed a virtual companionship solution in response to the pandemic. This respite care helps alleviate the stress of caregiving and allows the caregiver time to take care of their own mental and physical health.
Our Caregiver Support bundle also includes LawAssure, a legal document creation service. When unexpected legal needs come up, caregivers may have limited experience and not know where to turn. LawAssure guides them through the process, helping caregivers to create personalized, high-quality legal documents tailored to their needs, including wills, living trusts, and healthcare directives.
It’s time to help our working caregivers. Learn more about our Caregiver Support solution by downloading our webinar recording, or connect with one of our benefits experts at NewSales@NewBenefits.com.