April 5, 2019
Recently, actor Rob Lowe brought caregiving into the spotlight by discussing his story of taking care of his mom and the impact it had on his own life. He explained, “When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career.”
Obviously, this is nothing new to the vast numbers of U.S. workers who are concurrently providing care for a family member at home, which is 3 out of 4 employees. Based on a report carried out by Harvard Business School, 80% of those family caregivers are struggling to keep up with their career commitments due to their caregiving duties. And as many as one-third of them end up relinquishing their careers to concentrate more on the care their loved one needs.
Yet conversely, employers are seemingly less conscious of the difficulties encountered by their employees, and the stress that comes from juggling duties between home and work, pointing out in the study explanations such as, “It’s none of our business,” and “The volume of use of caregiving benefits is low enough that it is not necessary to track it.” And the majority of those employees agree that their organization’s culture isn’t as encouraging as they’d like with regard to meeting needs on the job as well as needs in the home.
So how can employees help to generate the workplace improvements needed to make certain the increasing army of working family caregivers is provided with both the understanding and resources required for an effective work/life balance? It starts with speaking up to produce the necessary understanding of the issue. Employers need to understand the impact family caregiving has on their workers in order to be able to retain the staff members most likely to leave due to caregiving stress: younger workers, higher-ranking workers, and higher-earning workers. Investigate and suggest caregiving benefits the employer can offer, and then don’t be afraid to make use of those benefits when provided.
Furthermore, remember that Continuum provides a very personalized care solution that enables employed family members to focus more completely on their careers, confident their parents are receiving the top-quality care they need at home. Call us at (314) 863-9912 to arrange a complimentary in-home assessment for more information on professional home health services in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, and how we could partner with your employer to investigate caregiving benefit offerings for employees.