More Employers Are Offering Elder-Care Benefits

As the population ages and more people live longer with chronic medical conditions — for instance, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to nearly triple by 2050 — companies are beginning to grapple with growing numbers of workers who have elder-care responsibilities. Some, including pioneers such as Fannie Mae in the Washington area, are offering not only flexibility, but also benefits such as emergency backup adult care, geriatric assessments, social workers to assist with referrals for adult day-care programs, and help with legal, financial, and emotional counseling. For caregivers whose parents live far away, some companies offer privacy and time for workers to Skype into parents’ appointments with doctors.

“We’re starting to see pockets of innovation,” said Drew Holzapfel, who heads React, Respect a Caregiver’s Time, a network of more than 75 firms, academic institutions, and nonprofit groups seeking to change workplace culture so that people can better manage work and elder care. “But with elder care, we’re finding that if you haven’t experienced it, you have a hard time understanding it.” The share of employers providing information about elder-care services to their employees has increased from 31 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2014, according to the 2014 Families and Work Institute’s National Study of Employers. Three-fourths of employers say they offer time off for elder care without penalizing workers, yet few offer paid leave.

Source/more: Washington Post

David Wingate is an elder law attorney in Frederick and Montgomery Counties. David Wingate helps clients with the Medicaid process.

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