Home > Employee Benefits > Employers would be smart to examine the costs of eldercare

Employers would be smart to examine the costs of eldercare

Have you reviewed the reasons for your employees Leave of Absence (LOA) lately? If you have, you have most likely noticed an increase in lost days due to an employees need to care for an ill parent. Until I saw the actual numbers for myself, presenteesim and absenteeism were just buzz words used to describe decreased productivity for whatever product the presenter was selling. Never once did they place an actual number and financial impact behind these choice words. However, I recently saw a company’s FMLA report addressing Absence Reasons from 2009 and 2010. Maternity and non-occupational illnesses lead the way for both years in terms of reasons for absence. Surprisingly, right behind these two reasons for absence, was LOA for caring for an ill parent. In 2010, the combination of caring for an ill parent and caring for an ill spouse resulted in 19 leaves and 61 days lost. Why is this so surprising? Because in 2010 LOA for caring for an ill child resulted in 2 leaves and 14 days lost. Clearly caring for ill parents and spouses has surpassed caring for ill children.

These statistics prove that employers should to spend more time educating their workforce about eldercare and need to spend more on resources to assist employees with protecting themselves and their loved ones from future debilitating eldercare illnesses. Doing so will not only increase productivity, but it will serve as a wellness tool for when employees are faced with these emotionally and physically taxing situations.

It has been proven that employees dealing with eldercare issues cost a business an additional 8%-11% in annual healthcare costs. Some examples of conditions brought on by caring for an ill parent or spouse are hypertension, depression, stress, obesity, immune suppression, etc. With the average age of eldercare givers being 46, which is a common average age of employee populations, employers have to address this phenomenon before it severely impacts their business. As of today, U.S. businesses lose $33.6 billion in lost productivity due to eldercare and family caregiving.

To minimize the impact of eldercare and family caregiving, maximize your eldercare resources and provide your employees an opportunity to financially protect themselves and their family members. Eldercare resources combined with long-term care insurance can provide the tools needed when these situations arise and provides employees financial protection for their own situation, thus protecting their children from the oppressive experience of caring for aging loved ones. WGA is committed to addressing this growing problem.

Does the productivity at your company suffer from eldercare issues? We welcome your comments to this growing problem amongst employees today.

For more information on eldercare resources and long-term care insurance, please contact a WGA Client Executive.

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William Gallagher Associates is a leading provider of insurance brokerage, risk management and employee benefits services to firms with complex risks and dynamic needs, within industries that include technology, life sciences, financial risks, health care, renewable energy & clean technology, and environmental services. WGA has offices in Boston, MA; New York, NY; Hartford, CT; Princeton, NJ; Columbia, MD; and Atlanta, GA.

  1. August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    As a Geriatric Care Manager I have found that companies are responsive to my services if I can get in the door and educate them about my services and how a GCM can reduce not only time off, but stress. Educating them about long term care insurance is an integral part of that. They are interested but really need to be educated about the options.

  2. October 28, 2011 at 2:02 am

    In today’s business, it is really imperative to analyze all aspects including that of employee’s caring for their elderly parents. Indeed it has a big effect on business productivity in the long run, thus there is really a need to look into all possible solutions to address the issue. And in this case, as you have mentioned, it is by advising the employees to opt for better healthcare insurance and or long term care insurance.

  3. January 18, 2013 at 8:40 am

    This is a very interesting article. I feel you are on a great track with companies spending some time with employees to explain things and go over what options there are for caring for their elderly or sick. With in-home healthcare, assisted living, elderly home and more there are a large amount of options out their that people are either purposely avoiding or just haven’t been properly educated on these options. Great posting I’d like to see more come from this line of thought.

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