A growing number of employers are implementing better elder care benefits to assist employees who help care for an aging parent or loved one. Keep reading to learn more about your options.
Updated April 24, 2023
What You Should Know About Elder Care Benefits For Working Caregivers
As you know, caring for someone else while juggling work/life balance isn’t easy. Millions of Americans between 30 and 50 help care for an aging loved one. And according to AARP and The National Care Alliance, the average family caregiver spends around 24 hours per week caring for a loved one. Consequently, family caregivers have very little personal time to rest and recharge from week to week or even day to day.
Fortunately, there are various qualified home care workers capable of helping your loved one. Depending on the level of care needed, you can hire a certified CNA or a home health aide, but in most cases, family members typically become primary caregivers.
Home care refers to the day-to-day assistance professions provide to help support elders’ quality of life while aging in place. The levels of home care can vary based on individual needs. For example, some aging seniors may need reliable transportation or weekly trips to the store. On the other hand, others may need more intensive assistance like bathing, dressing, or housework.
Elder Care Benefits Support Working Caregivers
Caring for a loved one while working full- or even part-time is particularly taxing, both physically and mentally. If left unchecked, the strain can exasperate underlying issues contributing to caregiver burnout.
Over time, you may be unable to meet any responsibilities while caregiving or working. As a result, you might experience unintended consequences such as diminished relationships with loved ones or difficulty meeting your parent’s care needs. All of these problems emphasize the importance of employer-sponsored elder care benefits.
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, the problem is so pervasive that researchers have found “a link between working caregivers with eldercare responsibilities and their health care costs.” But the high cost of health care for employees undergoing caregiver burnout isn’t the only thing affecting employers. For example, tardiness, extra time off, and diminished productivity are just a few problems.
As the population ages, many employers recognize that more employees will become responsible for their loved ones’ care, leading to an increasingly overstretched workforce. So to better support those who provide home care, many companies are working on implementing elder care benefits.
For example, programs such as Dependent Care Assistance Plans allow you to set money from your paychecks aside before taxes to put towards elder care. Likewise, elder care benefits generally include subsidies for long-term elder care and employee support groups. Additionally, flexible work options, like working from home and providing time off, can do much to ward off caregiver burnout.
Talk To Your Employer About Elder Care Benefits For Family Caregivers
Unfortunately, many working family caregivers don’t have access to these benefits in the first place. So if you find yourself under these circumstances, you may feel trapped between work and home care responsibilities. And although more employers are implementing programs to provide elder care benefits, the 2014 National Study of Employers shows that companies can do more to help. According to the study, which surveyed 1,051 non- and for-profit employers:
- 43% provided elder care resources and referral programs, compared to 31% in 2008.
- 41% offered dependent care assistance plans for elder care benefits, versus 23% in 2018.
- Only 7% provided respite care benefits, a 5% increase since 2018.
Of course, communication with your employer is the best way to start a dialogue about the importance of elder care benefits. Or, you can encourage fellow caregiver coworkers to attend while you present your case. Finally, you can frame your concerns as a workforce and productivity issue, which addresses the emotional and practical aspects of the problem.
MeetCaregivers Can Help
You might feel on your own, overwhelmed, and overworked. It’s essential to realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, we want to help you find the support you need and prevent caregiver burnout before it happens. Hiring a professional caregiver may be one option if your employer lacks elder care benefits and you have more on your plate than you can handle.
Hiring a caregiver with MeetCaregivers lets you stay hands-on in your loved one’s care. Our qualified caregivers will carry out routine daily tasks, giving elders the one-on-one companionship they need. Plus, you’ll get access to helpful free tools like the Care Portal, the handy app where you can track your loved one’s care throughout the day.
- Choula, R. B., & Feinberg, L. F. (2012, October). Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving and Work. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://tinyurl.com/3hymnj68
- Galinsky, E., & Matos, K. (2014, May 21). The Good News About Elder Care Benefits At Work. Forbes. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://tinyurl.com/5n98h2fw
- Jones, J. (2018, November 8). The Benefits of Offering Backup Elder Care to Employees. Workforce.com. Retrieved April 11, 2019, from https://tinyurl.com/49w3r2w4