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Expanding caregiver benefits: Why now is the time for senior care

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Often when discussing family and caregiver benefits, your mind jumps immediately to childcare benefits such as parental leave. But there’s another side of caregiver benefits that is less talked about: senior care. 

Senior care, also known as eldercare, is a much less talked about element of being a caregiver, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not prevalent. In fact, one in six Americans are caregivers of someone 50 years old or older, according to a 2020 study done by The National Alliance For Caregiving. That’s 16.8% of Americans, up significantly from 14.3% in 2015. 

With the rising prevalence of caregivers, adding or revamping your senior care benefits can be a powerful retention tool and make a real impact on employee well-being.

The importance of senior care benefits

Senior care isn’t just a passing trend. Census research predicts that seniors in America will outnumber children by 2034, meaning that eldercare will continue – and maybe even grow – in importance. 

Despite its prevalence, senior care is not as much of a conversation topic, especially in the workplace. While new parents or growing families can be seen as an exciting time that’s met with praise and celebration from others, that’s not always the case when it comes to other forms of caregiving. Plus, those who are caring for an elderly loved one may view talking about it as too vulnerable or too personal, especially between co-workers. 

Even if it’s not talked about openly in the workplace, over half (60%) of family caregivers are working full-time, so chances are you already have employees caring for an elderly loved one.

A benefit offering on the rise

Amid recession fears and economic instability, companies are on the lookout for competitive perks and impressive benefits to attract and retain the best talent. In fact, new Care.com research found that nearly all (95%) of employers are recalibrating their benefits strategy to prioritize productivity and talent retention.

Employers are focusing in on caregiving benefits more in 2023, with 46% of employers prioritizing childcare benefits and 43% prioritizing senior care. The report also found that offering senior care benefits has a positive impact on productivity, and talent recruitment and retention.

It’s clear that senior care benefits are important to employees, as nearly one-third of employers (32%) reported that employees are requesting senior care services. 

Plus, when asked which family care benefit employers would choose if they could only invest in one, respondents chose senior care services over any others, such as discounts for care, in-home backup care options and on-site child care.

Considerations for senior care benefits

Implementing senior care into your benefits strategy can help employees balance their career and caregiving responsibilities, making it a worthwhile business decision and an impactful boost for the employee experience.

Here are a few things to consider to ensure care benefits are useful and impactful for caregivers.

Provide self-service resources. Those whom you may not expect to be caring for a senior citizen – such as a younger worker or a working mom – can be those who need resources and support the most. It’s important to make sure that resources are accessible even outside of work for employees who do not want to bring it up in the workplace.

Implement an Employee Resource Group (ERG). If you notice that there are a lot of conversations happening around caregiving responsibilities, especially eldercare. It may be a good idea to help set up an ERG so co-workers can provide support to one another.

Provide respite care benefits. Although not many companies offer respite care, it can be one of the most effective benefits for caregivers to take a break and recharge. For employees, respite care can help them reset so that they’re focused and productive when at work.

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