More than 40 million Americans have the responsibility of being a family caregiver providing essential care and assistance to an elderly loved one. For many, this means juggling the care needs of a dear family member with the demands of a career, which has the vast potential to leave caregivers feeling torn and burnt out. While family caregivers do their best to balance care and career responsibilities, it’s inevitable that emergencies arise, other caregiving help falls through or an unexpected circumstance presents itself…Leaving caregivers to miss work to take on these emergency caregiving needs.
Recognizing the potential for missed work time due to emergency caregiving needs, an increasing number of employers are offering emergency backup care, paid for by the employer and provided by a professional in-home care company, many of which utilize a home care software or home care system so that family caregivers still feel in touch with care needs while they are at work.
According to a recent survey of companies providing this benefit, some employers subsidize as many as 20 days of back-up care per year, with employees paying a minimal amount and the company maintaining a high level of productivity due to workers being present.
And now, with technology like a home care software or home care system in place, backup care providers can keep real time updates available for family caregivers and reduce worry and stress – both also contributing factors to decreased productivity. For example, ClearCare Online’s home care system offers a family room which allows family caregivers to log into a the home care system and view updates from the caregiver with their loved one regarding completed tasks, general updates and time of arrival and departure. Family caregivers can also use tools in a home care software or home care system like ClearCare to see upcoming schedules with the care provider and aptly plan for work and personal needs based on the care that they have planned.
While it may not initially sound like a high demand benefit, employers who offer the perk say that the numbers say differently. During Hurricane Sandy, one elder care agency that offers a back-up care program for East Coast employers saw over 11,000 uses of the back-up care services in a 3 week period. With services available and technology such as a home care software or home care system to manage care and keep family caregivers feeling in the loop, even from their desks at work, employers are finding more and more benefit to offering back-up care as a benefit.
As Americans get older, a growing number of working adults will have not only themselves and their young families to care for, but also senior loved ones. With employers recognizing this need and offering benefits to meet the needs of these individuals, as well as the technological support of advancements like home care software and home care systems, family caregivers will have greater control than ever over the balance between care and career.