Today’s employees face a great deal of pressure in their day to day lives. Sixty percent of households already rely upon two incomes to meet their financial needs, and many of them are increasingly having to provide care for their parents in addition to their own children. According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of parents in shared living arrangements with their working children increased from 7 percent in 1995 to 14 percent in 2018. That figure fails to capture the number of aging adults who are already relying upon their children and grandchildren while aging in their own homes.
The Growing Need for Senior Care
The Baby Boomer generation is rapidly aging out of the workforce and entering some form of retirement. Within another ten years, the entire generational cohort will be between the ages of 65 and 85. That means that one in every five Americans will be of retirement age. This will have a profound impact on working-age adults. Already in 2020, there are about three and a half working-age adults for every retired senior, but that ratio is expected to decline to two and a half by 2060.
While many of these seniors expect to enjoy the “golden years” of their retirement, the reality is that most of them will confront a growing range of health problems as they age. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s are among the leading health issues threatening aging adults. As their ability to function independently declines, their younger family members will need to take on the responsibility of caring for their needs.
Balancing Caregiving Needs With Work Life
About one in six Americans work a full or part-time job in addition to assisting with the care of an aging or disabled family member. Balancing those conflicting responsibilities can be both time-consuming and extremely stressful. These employees are more likely to suffer from exhaustion and stress-related health conditions.
The need to provide ongoing caregiving can also make it difficult for an employee to do their job well. Studies have found that caregiving responsibilities can reduce workplace productivity by as much as 18.5 percent and make people far more likely to leave their job. Given the high costs of replacing employees, every business should have a vested interest in viewing elder care support as a job benefit that’s every bit as essential as health insurance.
The Importance of Senior Care Benefits for Employees
According to recent surveys of leading CEOs, hiring the best talent remains a top concern for companies, with the lack of skilled candidates cited as one of the biggest threats they face. They’re also justifiably worried about retaining those talented employees once they’ve hired them. Employers recognize that having an attractive benefits package is critical to landing and keeping talented employees, but they often have an outdated or inaccurate view of what kind of benefits employees actually want and need.
When it comes to caregiving benefits, employers are still lagging behind the needs of their employees. According to research by Harvard Business School as of 2019, less than 40 percent of employers offer caregiver counseling services and less than 30 percent offered a caregiver provider referral service. A mere eight percent of companies offered a subsidy for elder care services despite the fact that employees were more likely to use that benefit than almost any other senior-related caregiving benefit.
Unfortunately, the study also found that while only 38 percent of employers considered caregiver referral services to be an effective benefit for retaining employees, a staggering 78 percent of employees cited those very services as “very important” to their decision about whether or not to remain with a firm. This disparity should encourage employers to think long and hard about the type of benefits that employees will find useful and attractive to them.
Feedback is a crucial component of understanding what elder care services employees want. Simply looking at the data to determine what services they’re using may not provide an accurate picture. Employees may be worried that using some benefits somehow conveys a lack of commitment to their job and refrain from taking advantage of them. Even worse, they may not even be fully aware of what benefits they have or understand them. According to a recent study on employee benefits, only 19 percent of employers said their employees had a “high level of understanding regarding their benefits.”
Closing the Benefits Gap with Homethrive
Understanding what support your employees need for senior caregiving doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. With Homethrive’s elder care support services, you can connect your employees to an expert Care Guide with the expertise and resources to help them make the best decisions for managing the needs of their aging loved ones. We also provide support to caregivers themselves, helping to reduce their workload and minimize the worries they carry. Every one of our Care Guides is a master’s level social worker who can recommend a broad range of supportive services and help develop a comprehensive care plan that addresses the specific needs of an employee’s aging loved ones.
Homethrive’s services provide employers with a great deal of flexibility. Plans are available in one of three ways: on a voluntary basis which allows employees to purchase services as needed, in a subsidized form where costs are shared, and finally in a fully-covered plan that you can make available to all employees at no additional cost to them. Each plan offers varying levels of support, allowing employers to craft an ideal benefits package that employees will value and utilize to make their caregiving responsibilities easier to manage.
To learn more about how Homethrive’s services can help you round out a competitive benefits package that attracts top talent and retains your high performers, reach out to our team today.