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Do Your Company's Employee Benefits Support Employees as Caregivers?

Caregiving can begin with a crisis or it can happen gradually, nevertheless, it is a growing concern that many are encountering every day. A recent survey published by AGIS, an organization devoted to serving employers by educating their employees about long term care and their financial options, reports that 44% of employees surveyed “are or have been recently involved in caregiving.” About 60% of those caregivers are currently employed, with 35% missing work days and over 40% having to rearrange their work schedules to help provide that care. Many other employees fall into a category known as “presentism” – they are physically at work but mentally dealing with caregiving issues that impair their productivity.

A caregiver is a broad term used to refer to someone who provides care to another individual that cannot care for themselves due to a disability of functional limitations. The caregiver may provide medical care such as help with prescriptions, injections or changing dressings, but can also provide nonmedical care such as help with bathing, eating, shopping or finances.

Caregivers pay an average of $380-$675 out of pocket per month, causing unexpected financial strain. In addition to out of pocket expenses, according to the same AGIS report, a caregiver has 8% higher health expenses, costing companies roughly $13.4 billion per year. Eldercare is quickly replacing childcare as a top concern that employers are now facing with their employees.

Leading employers have begun shifting focus to create a better work-life balance for individuals acting as caregivers. An employer-sponsored Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be the first step to support employees that are caregivers.

EAP’s can provide focused and specific help for caregivers, which can include access to lawyers, financial planners, and eldercare specialists. An EAP is confidential and can also offer counseling in person or over the phone.

In addition to EAPs, there are companies like AGIS that work with employers to help provide educational services for employees on caregiving and long term care. Another company, Wellthy, offers resources to the caregiver that help with healthcare coordination. Their mission is to remove obstacles that caregivers and patients face in the medical system so that their focus can remain on caring for those in need.

As caregiving receives recognition in employers’ eyes as a concern for their key employees, focus is shifting to caring for the caregivers. A huge aspect of recruiting and retaining talent is offering benefits that not only appeal to employees but benefits that address the employee's current life stage.

If you have questions about the types of resources and benefits you can offer your employees to address their caregiving needs, please contact your OneDigital consultant today.

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