If you think elder care issues affect only the female portion of your work force, think again.
Men are now just as likely as women to serve as the primary caregiver for an elderly relative, requiring them to modify their work schedules. So says a new study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving. More men than women are serving as long-distance caregivers, the study found.
The problem: Males aren’t comfortable talking—either with coworkers or supervisors—about this responsibility. Nearly two-thirds of men with elder care responsibilities report that it negatively affects their careers.
The result: Productivity suffers, while the employee tries to mask the problem.
Helping employees care for their older relatives doesn’t necessarily mean an extra expense. Here are five no- or low-cost ideas for your small businesses:
- Offer resource and referral materials for free by contacting the Area Agency on Aging in your region or your local elderly adult services department.
- Encourage employees to form an on-site support/discussion group.
- Join business groups in your area that share elder care resources.
- Host a lunch-and-learn seminar with a guest speaker, such as a geriatric care manager or longterm care specialist, to help educate employees and let them ask questions on caregiving issues, such as Medicare, financial matters, insurance or home-health services.
- Review your policy on flexible work arrangements, such as flextime, compressed schedules, job sharing, telecommuting or part-time hours.
Visit these Web sites to learn more, then pass this list to staff with elder care issues:
- www.eldercare.gov The National Eldercare Locator links you to your local agency on aging. Or call (800) 677-1116
- www.aarp.org The American Association of Retired Persons’ Caregivers in the Workplace Coalition offers a program kit
- www.n4a.org The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s National Directory for Eldercare Information and Referral is updated annually