Eldercare – everybody’s concern
The issues around childcare quite rightly attract a lot of attention, from the media, from employers and from politicians. Improving the deal for working parents has formed a key part of the main political parties’ manifestos ahead of the general election.
But there is another side to caring that can cause just as much strain for workers, but is spoken about far less. With life expectancies growing and increasing numbers of workers finding themselves looking after their ageing parents, eldercare is becoming a very real issue for individuals and businesses across the country. And for certain groups of people, the problems can be amplified – older employees, those with young children and ageing parents who need support and those living abroad and not easily able to get back to help can all feel the pressure more than others. And for businesses, managing this group of challenged workers presents its own issues.
A new benefit product called AgeingWorks has been developed by the Positive Ageing Company to tackle some of the tricky issues faced by both ageing employees and the families of elderly loved ones – and the companies they work for. Ageingworks is a digital platform designed to provide a eldercare support, information and action steps designed to take the stress out of a potentially difficult situation.
It offers information and resources that help people to plan for a time ahead when more support might be needed, so that the pressure is reduced when that time comes. It also provides a Family Dashboard allowing the families of elderly people to be linked up with 24 hour access every day of the year so that employees, their families and their care helpers can work together through this versatile family assistance tool.
For employees, AgeingWorks offers access to information and support to help people prepare for their own old age, and for the challenges they may face in caring with loved ones. This can reduce stress, cut the need to take time off and help employees to feel capable and prepared. For employers, the reduction in absence, increased productivity and preparedness for dealing with staff needs are all valuable benefits.
Paul Roberts, consultant at IHC, commented: “Eldercare may seem like someone else’s problem until it lands in your lap. Managing the support needed, navigating the care sector and the maze of health services when dealing with the personal emotion is very tough for even the most resourceful employee. The impact on work can be sustained and with eldercare can change more often and more dramatically than childcare. So the key message to employers is consider this issue as a very genuine one; handling it now will prevent a much bigger and more costly problem later.”