Use this caregiver toolkit to set your employees up for success
Published by: LifeWorks,
There are more than eight million Canadians providing informal care to a family member or friend, according to research from CARP. Nearly half of them are in the ‘sandwich generation,’ caring for both a parent and a child.
What’s more, these caregivers invest a lot of time and energy into caring for their loved ones. In fact, the CARP research also found that one in 10 caregivers spend more than 30 hours per week providing care. A whopping 1.6 million caregivers had to take time off of work to manage these responsibilities.
This can lead to caregiver syndrome, a condition characterized by feelings of rage, guilt, and exhaustion. This impacts employee well-being and, therefore, work performance.
Help your caregiver employees by providing them with this toolkit:
Caregivers are becoming more prevalent as older generations age. The talent market will see an influx in high-quality candidates who want to work for a company that focuses on employee well-being and supports caregivers.
This is why a well-rounded benefits package is vital. It helps attract and retain top talent who also happen to act as caregivers.
Here are some of the best benefits to provide:
Give employees access to elder care consultants who can help them find an elder care plan that fits their budget. This plan will include a number of different approaches.
For example, respite care facilities are great for those needing temporary relief. Employees can drop off their loved ones for a short amount of time, a few times per week.
Full-time elder care services are ideal but tend to be high priced. When you provide consultation services, caregivers can make the most informed decisions for finding relief.
Financial wellness program
The high cost of caregiving can cause a lot of financial stress and hurt employee well-being. Your caregivers often spend their own money on several out-of-pocket expenses.
According to a May 2017 CIBC report, caring for aging parents costs Canadians about $33 billion each year in both expenses and in lost time from work.
As part of your financial wellness program, offer initiatives that help employees establish an elder care budget and spending plan.
Caregivers are prone to burning out. The amount of stress coming from both work and caregiving responsibilities can make a significant impact on their mental and emotional health.
Provide access to mental health professionals through your EAP. Promote why it’s valuable and how employees can access the services confidentially.
Between taking their family to doctor appointments, feeding them, and helping them with basic hygiene, caregivers tend to put their personal well-being to the side. It’s difficult to take care of yourself physically and mentally when you’re always rushing around for your loved ones.
Teach caregivers how self-care is a must by empowering them with amenities they can use both in and out of the office:
In the office
The best way to improve employee well-being is building self-care into the workday. Provide a relaxation room, where employees can retreat for quiet time. Keep the room dark and offer comfortable seating. This gives them a space to recharge.
Schedule breaks throughout the day so employees make relaxation a priority. They can use this time to go for a walk, visit the relaxation room, or eat a healthy snack.
Also, start caregiver support groups, where employees can share their experiences and discuss solutions to ongoing issues related to caregiving.
These in-office amenities create a supportive culture and make recharging a must during the workday.
You obviously can’t force caregivers to focus on self-care at home, but providing them with tools sends a clear message — you care about them on a personal level.
Provide your team with subscriptions to easy-to-use meditation apps, like Headspace or Calm. These simple mindfulness practices make a positive impact on employee well-being, helping them manage stress and think clearly.
Start a company library, with a selection of books on caregiving, elder care, and common ailments, like dementia. Employees can borrow these books at their leisure and even share their findings with the caregiver support group.
Information is power, which is why you should be delivering educational resources to your staff. Promote the best caregiving resources to your employees, such as:
- Carers Canada: this Canadian resource lists both federal government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide support for caregivers.
- Caregiving.com: offers online courses and webinars, which cover everything from setting boundaries to coping with decision fatigue. Some of their content is aimed at leadership. For example, they have a course on sensitivity training.
- LifeWorks has a library of caregiver support articles available to its users. LifeWorks users can log in to their mobile app or login.lifeworks.com using their username and password.
This toolkit shows your caregivers you want them to live a happy, healthy life. They shouldn’t have to choose between building their career and caring for an aging loved one. Focus on boosting employee well-being and supporting your entire team.