8 Sobering Facts about Eldercare in the Workplace

eldercare in the workplace

Millions of employees are caring for elderly parents. But nearly half of managers are in the dark. And that's just one business side effect of the current eldercare in the workplace crisis.

Some facts about how eldercare is playing out in the workplace:

1. Numbers

Estimates say there are more than 44 million people caring for elderly relatives

2. Absenteeism and productivity

These people lose more than 6 workdays each year; annual productivity losses are estimated at more than $25 billion.

3. Which employees are sandwiched

All of your most valuable players are affected; Millennials and Gen X are squeezed between young children and parents; Boomers are pressed between parents' medical expenses and children's college tuition bills.

4. Effect on wellness

Caregivers, according to a report by Health Advocate, "have higher levels of depression, heart disease, blood pressure and immune function."

5. Effect on financial wellness

Expenses for two generations are sinking retirement planning and financial security - a substantial known drag on productivity.

6. Distance

AARP says the average adult child lives hundreds of miles from a parent, meaning a care commitment exacts a day absence from the office...or more. Equally significant, "Those with college and professional degrees," wrote the New York Times, "are much more likely to live farther from their parents, in part because they have more job opportunities in big cities."

7. Unpredictability

Unlike parenting, "There are no 'ages and stages' guides because there is no predictable timeline," wrote one caregiver on a Boston public radio website. "That means you don't know when your eldercare responsibilities might interrupt your work."

8. Trajectory

Also unlike parenting, the intensity of elder care will grow over time, increasing in an arc that mirrors a valuable employee's career trajectory.

Navigating Eldercare in the Workplace; Returning Billions to Bottom Lines

Many workplaces are trying to catch up - and for good reason. Gallup says increasing elder care support could return billions to bottom lines.

And the issue promises to grow more urgent as Millennials find themselves in the hotseat between parents and young families.

"Its an emerging issue that we're going to have to grapple with," AARP policy adviser Lynn Friss Feinberg told the Washington Post, "all these young people who are potentially caring for a parent or a grandparent and how they're going to manage all these responsibilities at the same time that they're trying to go to school or hold down a paying job."

Download the eBook

Fill out form to access

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.