A few employers are beginning to offer eldercare as a benefit, realizing that many Baby Boomers have parents in need of a much-needed lifeline. In fact, 19% of Americans over the age of 18 are caring for someone 50 or older, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.
The alliance also found that people responsible for taking care of an elderly relative or friend suffer poor health themselves, including depression, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease—which may cause many workers to take time off or distract them from their job. These unfortunate effects cost U.S. employers an additional 8% in healthcare a year, or $13.4 billion annually, according to the MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs.
As Prudential Vice President of Health, Life and Inclusion Maureen Corcoran succinctly put it, “If you have a care issue and you’re working on deadline and expected to be at your desk, what are you going to be thinking about?”
Thus, to head off these problems, many employers are beginning to provide eldercare to their employees. The most comprehensive offers in-home services for a maximum number of hours a year for a co-pay of as little as $4 an hour. Other employers offer flextime or time off to address an emergency, or, at the least, provide advice from an insurance company, financial adviser or law firm on nursing homes, wills and hospice care.