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Boost productivity by helping staff with elder care problems

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Issue: Nearly 10 percent of employees serve as caregivers for their elderly parents. That strain results in turnover and productivity problems.

Risk: Lost productivity due to elder caregiving costs U.S. businesses $11.4 billion a year. Also, caregivers are more apt than other employees to change jobs.

Action: Use the following low-cost (or no-cost) moves to cut turnover and improve productivity.

If you think elder care issues aren't affecting productivity within your work force, think again.

Not only does a recent MetLife survey show that more and more working Ameri-cans are dealing with the stress and career effects of providing elder care, a good portion of those people, primarily men, will never tell you why their productivity has suffered.

But you can save the day by exploring these low- and no-cost ways to support the caregivers within your ranks:

1. Offer free resource and referral materials by contacting the Area Agency on Aging in your region or your local elderly adult services department. Or you can contract with a resource and referral firm.

2. Start a support group. The group can run itself or you can arrange a facilitator from a local nonprofit. Just start the ball rolling.

3. Hold brown-bag 'lunch & learn' seminars with a guest speaker, such as a geriatric-care manager or long-term care specialist, to educate employees and let them ask questions.

4. Allow flexible work schedules. Some employers allow employees to use their sick time for elder care.

5. Offer group long-term-care insurance. Your organization doesn't have to pay. Employees benefit because group rates cut the cost.

Online resources

Visit these Web sites to learn more, then pass the list to employees:

  • www.eldercare.gov 
  • www.n4a.org
  • www.caregiver.org
  • www.caregiving.org
  • www.elderweb.com
  • www.careguide.com
  • www.elderlawanswers.com

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