Sponsored by Oregon Business

Human resources: Preparing for elder-care issues

| Print |  Email
Archives - July 2006
Saturday, July 01, 2006

{safe_alt_text}A recent AARP Oregon study found that 52% of businesses reported that elder care is having an effect on employee performance. And that number is going to rise in the coming years as baby boomers age and younger generations spend more time and energy on figuring out how to keep their parents happy and healthy in their senior years.

But even while more and more businesses are being affected by the elder-care demands on their employees, very few have programs in place to help ease the burden and facilitate productivity.

“There are farsighted companies that have made it part of their approach and they are reaping the benefits of being early on the curve,” says John Paul Marosy, a national elder-care expert who was in Portland recently to speak at a family caregiver conference. “The other businesses are just realizing it.”

But Marosy has good news for businesses of all sizes: Setting up programs to help employees deal with the demands of being a caregiver to older family members doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

“A lot of companies perceive elder care as a black hole,” he says. “But all we’re talking about is PR time.” And not addressing the problem could cost businesses money. Marosy says that unaddressed stress can cost a business $3,000 a year in lost productivity per employee.

Here is Marosy’s top 10 list — low-cost or no-cost steps employers can take to prepare for the coming elder-care wave.

1. Keep a caregiver resource library and make sure employees know it exists. Stock it with books and other resources for finding options for care.

2. If you have an intranet, put up a page dedicated to caregiver resources with links to resources such as AARP (www.aarp.org) and the Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities (www.04ad.org).

3. Publicize the number for the elder-care locator service. Says Marosy: “It’s free, it’s funded by the government and it actually works.” The number is 800.677.1116.

4. Offer flexible work schedules. “If you have a highly valued employee and a care-giving issue comes up, provide support during that spike of stress,” advises Marosy. “A flexible schedule can help you hold on to that employee.”

5. Hold an elder care or family care fair where agencies and related businesses set up tables to provide information to employees. If you’re a small company, band together with other small companies to host a fair.

6. Hold lunch and learn sessions where experts come in and talk about a particular topic — how to tell the difference between forgetfulness and the onset of Alzheimer’s, for example, or different housing options available for seniors.

7. Recognize employees who volunteer with elder care-related groups such as Meals on Wheels. “That sends a message that this is an important topic,” Marosy says.

8. Host or publicize a caregiver support group. People find it helpful to get together and share their experiences providing care for their older family members. Have an empty conference room? Host a group. Know of one happening nearby? Tell employees.

9. Recognize managers who do the right thing. Many companies have policies on the books, but if a supervisor doesn’t take an enlightened approach by helping employees attend to elder-care demands, they aren’t effective.

10. Conduct regular training sessions with managers.

“This is an issue that’s not going to go away,” says Marosy. “The companies that address it earlier will have a strategic advantage as the labor market tightens up. Loyalty pays off.”

— Christina Williams

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


RESOURCES:

American Association of Retired People — www.aarp.org/families/caregiving/

AARP’s page for caregivers includes links to the latest research, legal advice and tips on topics such as hiring home health workers and caring for far-away family members.

Caregiver Coalition of Oregon — www.oregoncares.org
This website has links to resources, training opportunities and events.

Elder Care Consulting and Services — www.bringingeldercarehome.com
Website for John Paul Marosy’s consulting services. He offers a free e-newsletter and publications geared toward employees and managers.

Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities — www.o4ad.org
This site includes news, a county-by-county listing of resources and extensive links.

The Home Care Companion — www.homecarecompanion.com
A Medford-based resource center and magazine for caregiver resources.


 

More Articles

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

Downtown flower shop readies for the Valentine's Day rush

The Latest
Monday, February 09, 2015
021015-giffords-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Gifford's Flowers brings family approach to PSU-area shop.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS