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Coronavirus highlights need for caregiver benefits

Paid caregiver leave 2020

 

When Dallas County became the first in Texas to announce a shelter-in-place order as a result of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, caregiver organization Apple Care and Companion started getting calls from clients and their families almost immediately. 

“We have quite a few clients in care facilities,” says Laurie Miller, president of Apple Care and Companion. “The facilities have not allowed any family members or non-essential employees to come in. One facility is not even allowing us in, which is bad because that client is a two person lift and now her husband can’t go see her. The reason we go there to begin with is because they couldn’t provide enough care.” 

As people around the country scrambled to buy groceries and essential items in preparation for lockdowns, there was concern over whether the organization’s caregivers would still be available to help its elderly clients with grocery shopping and other non-medical caregiving needs.

Despite these concerns, providing caregiving support is a vital benefit for many in the workforce. 

About 77 million Americans are current or former caregivers, according to LIMRA research. As baby boomers age, caregiving is expected to become more common — and the costs are expected to rise. On average family caregivers are spending roughly $7,000 a year on out of pocket costs related to caregiving, according to AARP data. 

In the midst of the coronavirus, Some major employers are offering caregiving benefits in an effort to both financially and emotionally support their workforce. These benefits create positive work environments and promote workplace loyalty. 

Employers have the responsibility to remove the stigma around caregiving and offer the flexibility that employees require. Especially now when the majority of the workforce is working remotely, Cariloop CEO Michael Walsh suggests leaders take the opportunity to make employees feel comfortable enough to have their child, grandparent, pet, or whomever they are caring for be a part of the video call. 

“It’s all about creating a feeling of safety and community within your culture,” Walsh says. “It’s not enough just to offer flexible scheduling and all of that. Employers have to have the leaders play a role in that and make it feel like it is okay that this is happening.” Click here to read the full article. Originally posted by EBN on March 25, 2020. Written by Amanda Schiavo.  

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