Caregiving and Working

  • May 24, 2019

I’m in Florida dealing with elder care issues this week. If you are looking for something to add to your employee offerings, talking to people about the realities of elder care in today’s society and offering some benefits seems like a ripe opportunity.

According to a report by AARP entitled Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving on Work, the “average” U.S. caregiver is a 49- year-old woman who works outside the home and spends nearly 20 hours per week—the equivalent of another part time job—providing unpaid care to her mother for nearly five years.

Family caregivers are as likely to be employed as non-caregivers. The majority (74 percent) of adults with eldercare responsibilities have worked at a paying job at some point during their caregiving experience.

An estimated 61 percent of family caregivers of adults age 50 and older are currently employed either full-time (50 percent) or part-time (11 percent).

According to Workforce, some six million Canadians – or about 35 percent of the country’s workforce – are balancing their careers with caregiving duties, according to a 2015 report from the federal government. Many are struggling to do both: Forty three percent of employees arrived to work late or had to leave early, 15 percent slashed their weekly hours and 10 per cent passed up a promotion or new job, according to the latest data available from Statistics Canada.

In October 2018, Starbucks launched new caregiver benefits for all of its 180,000 U.S. employees. Each worker is now eligible for 10 subsidized backup care days every year when arrangements with child or adult care providers fall through. The benefits package includes:

  • Backup childcare. When caregivers are unavailable, employees can arrange for substitute supervision. The cost for employees is $1 per hour for in-home care and $5 per day for a daycare center.
  • Backup care for adults. Employees also have access to a network of in-home backup adult caregivers for their parents or other adult family members. Employees pay $1 per hour.
  • Senior care planning. At no cost, employees can connect with a senior care advisor for guidance and a customized plan covering long-term caregiver options, housing alternatives, finances, and legal concerns.
  • Premium membership to At this website, employees can access, at no cost, an online marketplace for finding and managing family care.

Employees can access these benefits, along with professional caregiver background-check tools and the ability to make payments to caregivers, using’s Care@Work app.

From my own personal perspective, it’s tough dealing with these issues for several reasons. Anything can happen at any time. My mother went missing for several hours this week while I was driving from Atlanta to Bradenton FL to help my parents through some trying times. We found her which was a great relief. Today she is in the hospital after being taken there by ambulance. None of this was planned, including my trip down here. There is no instruction manual. There is not a lot of help readily available. Eventually, we will need to relocate my parents, which is not something they want. Employers who can figure out ways to assist their employees deal with the difficult issues I’m facing this week would earn tremendous gratitude and engagement from those employees for years to come.