Caregiving tools and services to support employers and employees
Employers who provide caregiving benefits and resources to their workforce are immediately better equipped to support and retain more of their talent in the long term.
Care activities including child care, eldercare, or palliative care are necessary to support workers in every industry in America. As a result, caregiving is a direct contributor to the economy and critical to future economic growth. Take the skilled engineer who becomes a mother and struggles to find child care, the lawyer who has to work reduced hours to take care of an elderly parent, or the recruitment professional who has left work altogether to care for a spouse with a serious illness.
Providing caregiving tools, services, and support to the estimated 73 percent of the workforce who have some form of caregiving responsibility is vital to the health of the economy and the well-being of the nation. It’s vital for the health of each caregiving individual as incidences of mental health issues including stress, anxiety, and burnout are high amongst those who provide unpaid care for others in combination with work and other life responsibilities.
A report by Boston Consulting Group forecasts that the U.S. will lose about $290 billion a year in GDP in 2030 and beyond if we do not repair the fault lines in two critical care-economy dynamics: (1) the lack of available workers to fill an increasing number of care jobs, and (2) the departure of productive employees from the paid labor force to take on unpaid-care duties. That economic loss is more than the annual revenue of Alphabet, the second-biggest US technology company.
There is not a single solution to the caregiving crisis, and each case has its complexities. Employers who provide caregiving benefits and resources to staff are immediately better equipped to support caregiving employees and retain more of their talent in the long term.
We will look at some of the caregiving tools and services that employees providing unpaid care can utilize to help them look after a loved one. We’ll also look at a few tools and services employers can use in an organization to make sure they're supporting caregiving employees.
A caregiving toolkit can provide essential information about organizing care, and managing the emotional and physical demands of this selfless job. Many times people become family caregivers without even realizing it. Caregiving often starts small before morphing into a full-time job catching the caregiver unaware and unprepared not knowing where to turn for information. Tips and advice on how to talk with family members who are receiving care, documentation, medication, and more can help to relieve some of the stress.
How to Talk About CaregivingTalking about care is frequently taboo and not always simple. Receiving assistance can be seen as a sign of failure and the beginning of the loss of personal autonomy, which makes any discussion with loved ones challenging. The family member may worry about moving into a care home or that they will lose their freedom because they feel they can no longer manage.
Plan your speech's content, timing, and venue. Pick a time when you and your care recipient are both at ease and in a familiar setting. It's crucial that you give your family member the chance to talk, and listen to what they have to say. Make it plain during the conversation that your goal in providing care is to increase their level of independence and enable them to remain at home for a longer period of time. Get extra assistance to make sure that everyone receives the resources they require and shares the same knowledge, a family meeting with a professional, such as a doctor, may be necessary.
Keeping a loved one safe at home is a priority and therefore a safety checklist that details best practices for accident and fall prevention is a useful resource and a great starting point for caregivers. The list below provides a few examples:
- Use motion-activated lights and nightlights to assist the care recipient and caregiver
- Organize the furnishings and remove clutter to make clear spaces for walking
- Add non-slip mats in the bathroom and non-slip sticky strips to the stairs
- Electrical cords should be kept out of the way, and loose carpets should be removed
- Install chair lifts or handrails on both sides of the staircase
- Install handrails in the bathroom
- Keep objects used frequently close at hand
Caregivers should assemble the key documents related to providing care to the recipient, and store them in a safe or file box. It will save significant time and stress searching for the files when they are needed. Below is a list of relevant documents to compile:
- Information about how to reach friends and family
- Contact details for medical professionals and other healthcare professionals
- Information about health insurance and other insurance products
- Financial information
- A timeline of personal health history, a power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, and a living will
Caregivers should also consider creating a calendar to organize caregiving tasks and request help with duties when required. Color coding items like doctors' appointments and other activities can help everything run smoothly.
Medication & Caregiving
Keeping a medicine log or spreadsheet can help avoid a situation that could be life-threatening, and it will simplify the life of the caregiver and care recipient.One-third of the adult population in the U.S. takes five or more different drugs. Each year, adverse medication events result in 100,000 hospital admissions and almost 700,000 visits to the emergency room. To help prevent this, list each drug and compile information including:
- Who prescribed it, when, and why; the dosage; the number of refills; and the date of the next refill
- Attempt to just work with one pharmacy, or provide the pharmacy information for each drug
- Include dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications in your log because they may interact with prescriptions
- A copy should be brought to every medical appointment
- Set alerts for when to take the medications and use a daily pill organizer
Self-Care & Creating a Support System
An essential part of the caregiver toolkit is self-care. If a caregiver is stressed they can't cope at work and provide the care needed for a loved one.
The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute survey found 40 percent of caregivers felt emotionally stressed, and almost 20 percent said it caused financial problems. In addition, 20 percent of surveyed caregivers felt physically strained.
Caregivers may be able to get support from a partner, friend, or family member or could consider a local caregiver support group such as Caregiver Action Network or Family Caregiver Alliance.
Hiring a Home Care Worker
Working caregivers often need additional support to remain at work and support their family members.
For employees dealing with eldercare, a paid carer can visit the home and make a difference in their loved ones' life. Benefits include allowing the care recipient to live independently at home and allowing the employee caregiver to continue working while providing additional caregiving alongside the home care professional.
Homecare is very flexible. A carer might only be required for an hour a week or several hours a day. Homecare agencies employ trained carers and arrange for them to visit the care recipient in their home.
Child Care Services
Access to quality child care services is vital for caregivers with young children who want to continue their work as an employee. Today, many families with young children must choose between spending a significant portion of their income on child care, accepting a potentially lower-quality care option, or leaving the workforce altogether to become full-time caregivers.
Child care places can be a source of stress for employees and affect their performance at work. The lack of affordable child care is often cited for employees leaving an employed position. An article on americanprogress.org states that the child care crisis Is keeping women out of the workforce.
Family members frequently live in different states or even overseas. They require the expertise of professionals to arrange caregiving services and a range of support.
This includes at-home care, transportation, medical appointments, and access to nurses and doctors.
At Family First, we work on many cases in these circumstances. Utilizing mHealth technology and communications technology allows us to plan and incorporate both the out-of-state relative and the care recipient and deliver services that provide peace of mind for both parties.
Caregiving Tools & Services for Employers
Services such as the Family First employee caregiving benefit can be invaluable services to employees.
By providing a holistic service with AI and data-backed technology combined with over 30 years of white glove experience and clinical expertise, Family First can provide highly individualized services for working caregivers.
For employers the long term gain is attracting and retaining more talent in the organization.
Family First is the only company to offer an AI Caregiving Risk index. CRI uses data from millions of care cases and our in-depth experience to identify caregiving issues leading to burnout.
Burnout puts the employees' performance and their future at your organization at risk. Taking a proactive approach means caregivers can be supported. Preventative intervention can be arranged to assist them in their caregiving situation by providing the information, strategies, and access to professional nurses and doctors they need.