Why Caregiving Plays a Vital Role in Family Planning

Planning for a child or fertility treatment is stressful, and the extra burden of caregiving for someone else, such as an elderly relative or young child during this process can have an impact on physical and mental health.

Most employees fall somewhere on the caregiving spectrum, from trying to start a family, undertaking surrogacy or adoption, and taking care of young children or elderly parents. Some employees might be trying to juggle all of these issues at once. Those going through the family planning process often need services falling under caregiving support. 

Family First’s caregiving benefit can assist families in finding childcare, finding local providers for family planning and fertility treatment, and arranging emotional support. Family First also helps caregivers to alleviate the caregiving tasks they provide for a loved one so they can focus on family planning which can be a stressful time on its own.

Planning for a Child and Fertility Treatments

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Planning for a child or fertility treatment is stressful, and the extra burden of caregiving for someone else, such as an elderly relative or young child during this process can have an impact on physical and mental health. 

According to Pew Research, adults who are part of the sandwich generation— those who have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child—are pulled in many directions. Four-in-ten sandwich carers (38%) say both their grown children and their parents rely on them for financial and emotional support.

Family First can help prevent burnout by providing caregiving support plans that help ease the burden. We can also help by collaborating with employee sponsored fertility benefits and finding local providers that can deliver health care services such as IVF treatment. Our Care Experts work with your employees to uncover and solve the mental, emotional, physical, and financial burdens associated with their caregiving situation.

Antenatal and postnatal anxiety is a common caregiving issue affecting new parents. A recent meta-analysis reported the prevalence of maternal comorbid anxiety and depression related to caring for a child to be 9.5% during pregnancy and 8.2% in the first 6 months postpartum. Once caregiving issues are identified Family First can find the professional help or resources required to help improve the employee's health. 

A lack of quality and affordable childcare is another major issue that impacts working parents. A McKinsey survey shows that 45 percent of mothers with children aged five and under who left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic cited childcare as a major reason for their departure. This is a big concern for employers, but an issue a caregiving benefit can help to address.


Caregiving Support for the Whole Family

Focusing on only the individual means many undiscovered issues are left unresolved, and the full impact of caregiving on the employee and their family is not fully understood. Family First has expertise in uncovering hidden causes of caregiving stress and resolving them. This includes working with the employee's family members to provide solutions that work for everyone. 

Caregiving issues impact other family members and often cause strained family dynamics, according to this article published in the American Journal of Nursing. It states:   

“Caregiving has all the features of a chronic stress experience: It creates physical and psychological strain over extended periods of time, is accompanied by high levels of unpredictability and uncontrollability, has the capacity to create secondary stress in multiple life domains such as work and family relationships, and frequently requires high levels of vigilance.”

While the impact on the caregiver is clear, a partner also undergoes the same mental health challenges like anxiety or depression when their loved one experiences problems with family planning, childcare, fertility, adoption, surrogacy, caring for a relative, or loss.

The supporting partner may need to be on hand to drive and attend appointments with their loved ones. The partner helps find donors and interview surrogates in infertility cases, undergoing the same emotional strain. 

Caregiving support can help take all the complexity of a family situation into account and provide a caregiving plan that works for everyone involved. Family First Care Teams create plans to alleviate the stress and burden of caregiving. For those planning for a child or fertility treatment, looking after a relative, or experiencing burnout, a caregiving benefit can make a big difference in their personal and professional lives.

Support for Loss & Grief 

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Loss and grief occur as part of family life. It could be the loss of a child or an elderly parent, a failed pregnancy or fertility treatment, a family member may become ill or disabled, or a spouse might suffer mental health issues. Many events can change the dynamics of a family and the level of caregiving that is required. 

A population-based Canadian study revealed that 96% of adults have grieved the death of a loved one (Wilson, MacLeod, & Houttekier, 2016). That study also revealed almost all respondents had felt grief multiple times, with five being the median number (Wilson et al., 2016). With an aging population, the number of employees who suffer from grief and related absences from work will increase in the years ahead. 

According to SueRyder.org:

“Coping with bereavement at work can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally fragile time. As an employer, it is crucial that you provide a supportive, open, and flexible working environment for employees going through a bereavement.”

MarieCurie.org.uk states:

“Grief can also cause problems with concentration and sleeping. All of these things can affect your work. You might be thinking about how long your feelings of grief might last or how long they might affect your work. This is different for everyone and there is no set timeframe for grief.”

Family First can help employees by arranging grief support access to help each individual in a difficult time. Family First uses 30 years of clinical experience to assist with family dynamics and resolution around decision-making.


Equitable Access to Healthcare

Caregiving benefits can help employees navigate issues such as cultural differences or discrimination when accessing health services.

Infertility and family planning are universal, affecting men and women, LGBTQ+, and individuals from different cultures and ethnicities. However, the level of support and access for every group is unequal. 

In its whitepaper titled Disparities in access to effective treatment for infertility in the United States, The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine talks about the inequity in fertility treatment. 

Studies have shown socioeconomic and racial disparities among infertility patients seeking care, including minority women who tend to seek medical advice after a longer duration of infertility and see lower pregnancy success rates.

Family First’s expertise for any caregiving challenge can improve healthcare access and quality for employees. We can help employees overcome cultures of intolerance and social determinants that are known to lead to poorer health care.


Caregiving Solutions Backed by Data & AI

Family First uses knowledge of complex family caregiving issues combined with data from millions of caregiving cases to offer personalized options for each individual regardless of gender, ethnicity, cultural background, sexuality, or economic status. Organizations should carefully select a caregiving benefit provider to ensure they are improving DE&I and not widening the gap further. 

Caregiving benefits include support for the full array of family caregiving issues and offering a comprehensive caregiving benefit is part of building a supportive company culture and achieving equity and inclusivity for all employees. 

Caregiving benefits can give your company an edge in recruitment during a challenging time for the labor market. Providing support to caregivers results in empowered employees, higher productivity, higher job satisfaction rates, and improved talent retention. 

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