How you can fill the need for caregiver education and support

It’s on the near horizon.  In some places it’s already here.  It’s the aging phenomena that will result in such a massive growth in the senior population that existing caregiving networks will be swamped.  As always, families will step into the gap and will have to fill caregiving needs, putting new pressure on employers to accommodate these needs while continuing to meet productivity demands.

Canada has taken action to support family caregivers by passing Bill-21, which gives workers the right to take up to eight weeks of protected leave to care for a family member “with a serious medical condition diagnosed by a qualified health practitioner.”  This bill recognizes that family caregiving is a real and growing need, and an essential pillar to supporting our growing elderly population.

From the employer perspective, supporting family caregivers is good business.  It may become essential to maintaining a high level of productivity into the future.  Offering resources, caregiver training and even employer-subsidized in home care to employees may just be the wave of the future.  At a recent conference on the future of an aging America, the Milken Institute Global Conference 2014, panelist Michael Hodin,managing partner at High Lantern Group spoke of his conviction that employers of the future will need to support their workers with eldercare needs.  According to a Forbes article, Hodin said, “I am convinced that, in the next several years, eldercare will be what childcare was in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  Companies that begin designing benefits programs to facilitate this will be very competitive.”

Agencies who currently offer eldercare services are uniquely poised to help both individuals and employers prepare for these needs.  One key element is to ensure that your organization is known in your community as a strong resource for families in need of caregiving support, both from a care perspective and simply from an informational perspective.  Get involved in community discussions about coming eldercare needs; offer information freely and widely to community groups and employers.  When the need for better support systems and services arise you’ll be top of mind – and your business will soar to the top, too.

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