Tuesday, May 25, 2021

CEO gives tips on juggling caregiving and work

Companies can help workers who are caregivers do their dual jobs better, writes AARP's chief exec

The headline read, "Companies need to care for their caregivers."

And the subhead stated unequivocally that "supporting your workers is good for business." 

Those words summed up a vintage column in the AARP Bulletin written by the organization's chief executive officer, Jo Ann Jenkins. In it, she noted that for the 60% of family caregivers who also held full- or part-time jobs, "just getting through an average day calls for complex choreography, especially when schedules and needs don't align properly."

As a result, she pointed out, an "urgent medical situation or a transportation glitch can set off a frantic scramble to fill the gaps."

The CEO's article isn't new, nor are the thoughts in it, but they're definitely worth repeating.

Jo Ann Jenkins
She asserted, for instance, that AARP research had found many employers knew caregiving benefits were "increasingly in demand by job applicants" and therefore had become "an important tool for recruiting and retaining top-notch workers."

Jenkins cited specific employers that had instituted "impressive caregiver policies," including CBS, Allianz Life, Emory University, Deloitte and Fannie Mae.

CBS, for example, offered employees "up to 15 days a year of emergency backup care services to fill in when normal care arrangements break down." And Allianz provided "quarterly educational workshops for employees who are caregivers."

Emory, meanwhile, used "a 24/7 call center to provide answers to caregiving questions," and Deloitte gave "workers up to 16 weeks of paid time off annually for caregiving."

Furthermore, Jenkins wrote, Fannie Mae employed "an onsite geriatric care consultant whose services are free to employees, with no limits on usage."

Closer to home, she reported that her organization had offered employees "two paid weeks of caregiving leave each year, in addition to the ability to use their sick leave for caregiving" — plus "flexible work arrangements…and backup care assistance for emergencies."

The AARP exec intimated that caregivers often try to perform their dual jobs "without alerting bosses, for fear of appearing less than fully committed to their jobs."

At least a quarter of all family caregivers are millennials, she mentioned, and at least "50 percent are under the age of 50." 

Clearly they need help.

"Trying to juggle work and caregiving takes a toll," Jenkins wound up. "Let's do our best to make it easier for all of them."

More information about the difficulties of and, moreover, the joys and rewards of caregiving can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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