Guidance and Support for Employees Facing the Stress of Caregiving: Caregiving touches each of us at some point in our lives By: Jean Hanvik and Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh, CEO of Cariloop, is interviewed by Jean Hanvik about the complexities of caregiving and how employers can help relieve the anxiety of caring for a loved one while working a full-time job. Cariloop was the winner of The Action Group’s Innovator’s Showcase at the 2018 Annual Employer Leadership Summit.
JH: We know that caregivers carry a heavy burden as they struggle to balance their careers and the needs of their own families with the demands of caring for their loved ones. What is the greatest risk they are facing?
MW: I’m not sure there is one single risk. Caregiving can have serious health, financial, emotional and professional consequences for the caregiver. Complicating matters even further, caregiving is a totally different ecosystem, leaving caregivers floundering to navigate an overwhelming and fragmented system.
JH: You’ve said, “no one should have to Google their way through caregiving.” What is the impetus for this statement?
MW: If you conduct an Internet search using the term “nursing home,” something like 5.5 billion results are returned in less than a second. Often, family members are thrust into a caregiving role due to a sudden health crisis and are completely unprepared to discern resources that are spending the most on advertising from legitimate options. Caregiving is confusing and stressful enough, which is why having access to knowledgeable, dedicated healthcare professionals to guide your family is so important. Employers who foster a culture of caring can contribute greatly to lessening this burden for their team members.
JH: It sounds like employers are in a unique position to ensure employees are not going through their caregiving experience alone. How do you help them build the business case for offering caregiver benefits?
MW: From our perspective, leading employers are shifting their cultural beliefs to revolve around the holistic needs of their employees. For example, they understand that providing caregivers with the assistance they need is so much bigger than just driving down claims costs. Benefits are beginning to reflect total well-being strategies, which may include flexible schedules; on-site eldercare; long-term insurance for parents and grandparents; guidance, counseling and referrals specific to caregiving; tax-free dollars for out-of-pocket eldercare expenses; access to subsidized health aides; and seminars on stress reduction and eldercare issues. Forward-thinking companies are also introducing caregiver platforms that offer navigation, resources, support, telehealth options, referrals and other tools to help working caregivers plan for and manage these transitions in life. There are many ways employers can help their working caregivers with thoughtful programs and investments.
MW: A sound framework built around improving emotional wellness, boosting productivity, and managing absenteeism is a great starting place. In June 2018, we released a white paper with project partners Facebook and Chicken Soup for the Soul, titled “Taking Care of Caregivers: Why Corporate America Should Support Employees Who Give Their Hearts and Souls to Those in Need.” Not only do we outline the business case for change, we also offer a number of case studies and action steps for employers. From elementary (e.g., ask employees a lot of questions about their needs — and listen), to advanced (e.g., find strategic partners in the marketplace who are willing to be disruptive innovators), there are action steps and programs for every type and size of employer.
Takeaway #1: Caregiving can have serious health, financial, emotional and professional consequences for the caregiver.
Takeaway #2: There are many ways employers can help employee caregivers by improving emotional wellness, boosting productivity, and managing absenteeism.
Takeway #3: Forward-thinking companies are introducing caregiver platforms that offer navigation, resources, support, telehealth options, referrals and other tools to help working caregivers plan for and manage these transitions in life.
For more information:
- Minnesota Board on Aging: Employers and Caregivers
- AARP Employer Resource Guide: Four Steps for Supporting Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Caregiver Resources and Long-term Care
- American Society on Aging: 25 Organizations that Take Care of Caregivers
- National Alliance for Caregiving
- “Taking Care of Caregivers: Why Corporate America Should Support Employees Who Give Their Hearts and Souls to Those in Need.”
Dallas-based Cariloop provides the world’s first fully integrated, human-powered Caregiver Support Platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of their parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, in-laws, and adult children. The Platform features a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based application that helps families securely communicate across all devices and store important health, financial, and legal documents while having on-demand access to a dedicated Healthcare Coach who guides the families through the many decisions they make over the length of their caregiving journey. For more information, visit www.cariloop.com, or follow Cariloop on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.