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New research has found increasing numbers of people are caring for an elderly loved one whilst working full-time.
There has been a 300% increase in people searching ‘giving up work to be a carer’ on Google, according to new data from Seniorcare by Lottie.
The pandemic and an ageing population has meant a huge upheaval in working practices, not least by those who have found themselves looking after an elderly relative on their own.
Ronan Harvey-Kelly, Seniorcare Lead at Lottie, said, “More working carers are turning to Google, as opposed to discussing their struggles with their employer.”
He added, “Employees who are juggling the additional demands of caregiving are more likely to experience stress, absences from work and health problems.”
Previous research from the ONS found that one in eight older male workers have caring responsibilities for an elderly relative.
“Businesses urgently need a sustainable and dedicated solution to ensure that everyone can get the care and support they need in later life,” said Harvey-Kelly.
So how can employers help? Harvey-Kelly suggests the following:
Caregivers are often deterred from disclosing their caregiving responsibilities, which places great strain on their wellbeing at work.
As a leader in your workplace, take the time to listen, understand and empathise with caregivers in your organisations. Simply being aware of caregiver needs is a huge step that bridges the gap between caregivers and their employers.
Previous research found that 80% of employees admitted their caregiving responsibilities impacted their performance at work.
Building a culture of support, empathy, and awareness of employees with elderly care responsibilities encourages your staff to be open and communicate about their struggles. Internal eldercare committees and groups are becoming increasingly common and effective in the workplace and can reduce any pressure employees are facing with their additional caregiver responsibilities.
Recognising the signs can help you educate your team on stress management and offer a practical solution to the stress they’re experiencing. Encourage your staff to take regular breaks away from work and connect them with support services, including free resources from MIND.
In many ways, your caregiving workers have two jobs, so it’s important to make their lives as easy as possible. Flexible working is the business benefit at the top of almost every employee’s wish list, especially for those who are unpaid carers for elderly relatives.
By offering eldercare workplace support services, employers can have a positive impact on their employees who provide care to loved ones, helping them be more effective in both their professional and personal roles.
Giving employees access to expert care and impartial advice will enable them to be more productive, whilst providing their elderly loved ones with the care they deserve.