Emory's Focus on Caregivers

By: Audrey Adelson, MSW, WLCP

November 03, 2014

 

In honor of November being National Family Caregiver Month, the Emory WorkLife Resource Center is taking this opportunity to remind others about why they should focus on increasing support for employees with adult caregiving responsibilities and promote awareness to existing resources available to help them.

 

According to a 2010 study by the Stanford Center on Longevity titled, “The New Realities of an Older America”, the number of people 65+ will double over the next 30 years and by 2029 (when the last Baby Boomer turns 65), 1 in 5 Americans will be 65+. They predict that by 2032, there will be more people 65+ than there will be children under the age of 15.

 

The National Council on Aging reports that approximately 30-40% of all employees will assist their elderly parents in 2020, compared with 12% only a few years ago.

 

Bear with me as I share some more data with you…

 

“More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.” (National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, 2009)

 

The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business (2006) estimates a total of $17.1 billion in annual lost productivity for full-time employees doing intense caregiving for someone over the age of 18 (defined as doing personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, feeding as well as other tasks for an average of 12-87 hours per week). (Productivity costs include: replacing employees, absenteeism, partial absenteeism, workday interruptions, elder care crisis, supervisor time, unpaid leave and changing schedule from full-time to part-time).

 

The average cost per employee for those with intense caregiving responsibilities is $2,441 per year.

 

When employers take a closer look at their demographics, such as the work done by the Emory WorkLife Resource Center in 2011-12, they will be able to see the impact of family caregiving on their organization, and will have the data to build a business case to enhance employer-sponsored support for employees who manage the care of adult loved ones.

 

Fast Facts about Emory Family Caregivers:

 

• 15% of Emory’s faculty and staff reported having adult/elder care responsibilities in 2010.

 

• 55% of faculty and staff were concerned about balancing work and adult/elder care

  responsibilities within 1-3 years. (It is now close to 5 years post survey – and while the

  university is not seeing 55% of faculty and staff with caregiving responsibilities, the Emory

  Work-Life Resource Center has seen a notable increase in requests for assistance related to

  family caregiving.

 

• 25% of employees had seriously considered leaving Emory or taking a long-term leave of

  absence due to difficulties related to care of an older family member, disabled or chronically-ill

  adult family member.

 

 

What we know about family caregivers according to National Alliance for Caregiving:

 

• 66% are women, 58% married (increasing numbers of male caregivers)

 

• Average of 48 years of age (increasing number of younger caregivers)

 

• 73% of caregivers work outside of the home (46% full-time), over 60% have had to make

 

• Changes in their workplace accommodation and 20% report taking a leave of absence to

 

• Manage their care responsibilities

 

• One third care for two or more people (34%)

 

• 86% care for a relative, with one third (36%) caring for a parent (14% caring for a child)

 

• Half of caregivers say their loved one lives in his/her own home, while 29% live together with
  their care recipient. Only 4% says they live in a nursing home and the same percentage in an
  assisted living facility.

 

• Serve in caregiver role an average of 4.6 years with 31% caring for a loved one for 5 years or
   more (15% provide care 10+ years)

 

• Top reasons for care include old age (12%) and Alzheimer’s disease (10%)

 

• Care recipient is most often female (62%) and averages 61 years of age

 

MetLife reports that those with the heaviest responsibilities (burden and length of time in role) are vulnerable to risks such as decline in health, emotional stress, and economic hardship. Employees providing elder care are more likely to report fair or poor health (including depression, diabetes, hypertension or pulmonary disease) regardless of age, gender and work type. Caregivers are more likely to report negative influences of personal life on their work. Elder care demands are associated with greater health risk behaviors (smoking and alcohol use). Employed caregivers find it more difficult than non-caregivers to take care of their own health or participate in preventative health screenings. (The MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs, 2010)

 

How many of you serve as a family caregiver or have a colleague who is? (Probably more than you realize since most don’t identify as being one!) Please be sure to remember The Emory Caregiver Support Program. Share this article with others at Emory and remind them about all of the resources available to help them! Caregivers have help at Emory!


Meet Helen Video – An Overview of the Emory Caregiver Support Program

Nationwide Resource & Referral

Nationwide Professional Care Management

Helen Meets LifeCare Video – Learn more about using professional care management.

Emory WorkLife Resource Center website

Caregiver Wellness

Work-Life Library

Emory Employee-Student Job Network

Leave Policies

Long Term Care Insurance

Workplace Flexibility

Wesley Woods Center and the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

 

Contact the Emory WorkLife Resource Center at (404) 727-8000 if you have any questions about the Emory Caregiver Support Program or resources to help manage adult caregiving responsibilities.