A new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, found that half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter. In addition, a quarter (25%) of working daughters report they find a workplace stigma in being a caregiver, and 23 percent have found that their supervisor is unsympathetic.
In an effort to start a conversation about how working family caregivers can be better supported in the workplace, the Home Instead Senior Care network has launched a new public education program, Daughters in the WorkplaceSM. The new program offers free resources to help working family caregivers feel empowered to talk to their employers about their needs, while also identifying caregiving support that may be available. The program also provides information to help employers understand what their employees want and need as caregivers, including Caregiver Friendly Business Practices.
“All too often we see working caregivers who feel they have to make a choice between their job, and their aging loved one,” said Matt Cohn, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care offices serving Greater Baton Rouge. “Those caregivers often don’t know about the resources available, or how to talk with their employer about their situation. That’s why Home Instead is committed to empowering family caregivers by letting them know that help is available – and by increasing employer awareness of how important a supportive workplace environment is for caregiving employees.”
Research shows that women are twice as likely as men to spend more than 30 hours a week on caregiving. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), working female caregivers average nearly double the amount of time caring for aging loved ones, compared with their male counterparts (9.1 hours a week vs 5.7 hours). What’s more, many women are a part of the sandwich generation, caring for an aging parent or relative while also caring for their own children.
According to Home Instead’s survey, 91 percent of female caregivers report having had to take action to accommodate being an employee and a caregiver. The most common actions include taking paid time off, switching from full time to part time, avoiding certain responsibilities and turning down promotions. All of the hours spent caregiving – combined with the sacrifices made in the workplace – can leave daughters in the workplace with undue strain and stress in their lives.
While women make up two-thirds of family caregivers, the solutions to addressing caregiving challenges in the workplace are gender-neutral.
Drew Holzapfel, ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time) convener, explains that a significant issue facing all working family caregivers is that they often don’t realize the benefits they may be eligible to receive from their employers. “Flexible time can have a stigma, and working caregivers might not know they can use FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) for senior care, or they might not know how to access their EAP (Employee Assistance Program),” said Holzapfel.
To help educate working family caregivers on these resources, DaughtersintheWorkplace.com includes an interactive quiz in which caregivers can equip themselves with the knowledge of protected family leave rights that may be available to them. Additionally, the website includes conversation starters and health tips for caregiving employees, as well as communication tips for employers and signs caregiving employees need support.
“The hope is that by highlighting the struggles family caregivers experience, and providing solutions and tips they can implement in their home and work lives, we can help ensure they are happy and healthy in their work lives while also being able to provide their loved ones with the care they need,” explained Cohn.
Family caregivers and employers can view program resources and tips at www.DaughtersintheWorkplace.com. Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office for additional resources, and to learn how their professional CAREGiversSM may be able to assist. Find an office near you by visiting www.homeinstead.com/state/.