Employees are the lifeblood of any business. They are the ones who keep things running day in and day out. As a business owner, looking out for your employees and their families is essential. One way to do this is by assisting employees’ elders.
According to a National Institute on Aging study, family caregivers provide more than $500 billion in unpaid care to elderly loved ones each year. This number is only expected to grow as the population ages.
By supporting employees’ elders, businesses can help ease the burden on family caregivers and improve the quality of life for elderly loved ones. In addition, companies can benefit from lower turnover rates and improved employee morale. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Educate Yourself and Your Employees
The first step is to educate yourself and your employees about the aging process and the challenges that come with it. It’s important to understand that each person experiences aging differently. Some common issues that older people face include chronic illnesses, declining mental health, and increased isolation.
Educating yourself and your employees can create a more supportive work environment for those caring for elderly loved ones. Additionally, you can help employees feel comfortable talking about their caregiving responsibilities without fear of discrimination.
You can get experts at local senior centers or online to give presentations to your employees. You can also provide printed materials, such as guides on caregiving or lists of resources.
Make Your Workplace Elder-Friendly
One way to support employees’ elders is to make your workplace more elder-friendly. This can include simple changes, such as installing grab bars in the restroom and adding ramps or handrails in common areas. You can also offer flexible work hours or the option to work from home when needed.
In addition, you can create an employee assistance program (EAP) that provides counseling and other services to caregivers. Many EAPs also offer eldercare resources, such as referrals to home care agencies or adult daycare facilities.
Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements can be a lifesaver for employees caring for elderly loved ones. Standard flexible work arrangements include telecommuting, compressed work weeks, and flexible hours.
Allowing employees to adjust their work schedule can make a big difference in their ability to care for elderly loved ones. It can also help them avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
However, it cannot be easy to offer flexible work arrangements to all employees. You can create a policy allowing employees to request flexible work arrangements if possible.
You can also offer paid or unpaid leave for caregivers. This can give employees the time to care for their loved ones without worrying about losing their job or income.
Provide Financial Assistance
Many people are surprised to learn that the cost of eldercare can be prohibitive. According to a report from AARP, the average annual cost of home health aides is $21,840. Adult daycare costs an average of $17,680 per year, and nursing home care can cost more than $80,000 per year.
As a business owner, you can help ease the burden of eldercare by providing financial assistance to employees. This can take the form of tuition reimbursement for employees taking caregiving classes or discounts on home care services.
You can also set up a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) for employees. This allows them to use pretax dollars to pay for qualifying eldercare expenses, such as adult daycare or in-home care services.
Provide Legal Assistance
Eldercare can also involve a lot of legal paperwork, such as powers of attorney and advance directives. This can be overwhelming for employees already caring for elderly loved ones.
To help ease the burden, you can provide legal assistance to employees. This can include hiring an on-staff lawyer or providing a discount on legal services, and you can also offer resources such as Powers of Attorney or Advance Directives templates.
Some seniors might also suffer from abuse in nursing homes. The rare occurrence can cause much emotional pain to the family. You can support employees by offering resources on reporting nursing home abuse and where to find help. If you want to help, you can hire a nursing home abuse lawyer to assist the family.
Caring for elderly loved ones can be a difficult and stressful task. However, there are many things you can do as a business owner to support employees who are caregivers. By offering flexible work arrangements, financial assistance, legal assistance, and eldercare resources, you can help ease the burden of caregiving and make your workplace more elder-friendly.