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Employee Assistance Programs Helping Caregivers Work

working caregiversOf the nearly 45 million Americans providing care to an elderly, disabled or ill loved one, many are struggling to juggle caregiving responsibilities and work. According to the MetLife report entitled “Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents,” family caregivers have lost nearly $3 trillion dollars in wages, social security and pension benefits.

While some working individuals are forced to reduce their work hours due to elder care responsibilities, others are leaving the workforce completely, being forced into early retirement and subsequent loss of benefits. In fact, some large employers have realized the detriment to their business when a valuable employee is forced to make the difficult decision between career or caregiving. Thus, employee assistance programs for elder care are available at large employers, like IBM, and offer a number of services. According to the “Best Practices in Workplace Elder Care” study, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Respect a Caregiver’s Time (ReACT), services available from employee assistance programs for elder care vary widely.

Common resources available to employees included assistance with completing Medicaid or Medicare paperwork, referrals to geriatric care managers, discounted emergency homecare, and the ability to telecommute. Also interesting was the finding that the majority of employers providing employee assistance programs for eldercare often relied on technology to provide information to employees, and promoted flexible time off as part of their cafeteria program for employees.

While these types of programs lead to some additional cost for businesses, they are also leading to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity by employees that are juggling their career and caregiving responsibilities. At ClearCare, home care agencies help families coordinate care through its home care system or home care software, helping to make make these types of employer-sponsored programs even more successful.

By combining the power of a home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, with flexible employer scheduling and easily accessible resources, caregivers may find it easier to balance their schedules. For example, a homecare company utilizing ClearCare’s home care software can ensure a caregiver that they can log into the home care system at any time during their work day and receive up-to-the minute updates on care progress. Combined with the ability to telecommute or shift hours, a family caregiver that otherwise may have had to leave their job can now use employee resources in combination with a home care software or home care system to monitor care from afar.

As the Baby Boomer generation enters their golden years, the need for elder care is projected to only increase, leaving more and more family caregivers to juggle their job and caregiving responsibilities. However, perhaps the next generation of caregivers will find that with employee assistance programs and a powerful home care software or home care system to rely on, like ClearCare, that the burden of caregiving isn’t such a heavy load.

Do you know of a company offering an employee assistance eldercare program? If so, leave a comment and let us know about some of the available benefits!

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