Around the world, more people are living longer than ever before. Here in the United States, the older population—those 65 and older—is projected to roughly double over the next three decades. At the same time, global life expectancy is climbing into the mid-70s and beyond in more developed nations.
This aging population is driving unprecedented need for senior care, and its influence on our world of work is vast and undeniable. Today, about 40 million adults provide informal care for relative – most of them are doing so while working full- or part-time. The distraction, absenteeism and turnover associated with often stressful caregiving roles result in lost productivity costs for employers that some estimates put as high as $38 billion annually.
At the same time, the demand for in-home senior care jobs is escalating. In-home senior care jobs are growing almost five times faster than other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 348,000 new jobs in this field by 2024 – that’s an increase of 80 percent.
Care.com, the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care needs, crunched the numbers to see which U.S. cities are seeing the most rapid growth in in-home senior care jobs, and where employees need senior care benefits the most. Our data scientists compared each city’s growth rate against the national average—a compound annual growth rate of 23.11 percent—in order to rank cities based on where demand is growing fastest.
The 30 cities with the fastest-growing demand for in-home care are captured in the infographic below.
So, what does this all mean?
Employees from Nashville and Raleigh to Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest have growing senior care needs. And the companies they work for should be thinking of ways to support them, so they can be great caregivers and great employees. Their well being and productivity depends on it.
Below the infographic, we’ll cover a few options for senior care benefits.
5 Options for Senior Care Benefits
Employer-provided elder care assistance and senior care benefits not as rare as one might think. More and more, forward-thinking employers are understanding that reducing work-life and work-family conflict for employees is smart business … and that there are family-friendly options beyond maternity leave and on-site child care.
There are a number of flexible, scalable options for supporting today’s diverse, multigenerational workforce.
The latest National Study of Employers from SHRM and the Families and Work Institute found 78 percent of employers provide paid or unpaid time off for employees to provide elder care without jeopardizing their jobs. “This high prevalence of elder care may be indicative of the fact that decision makers in organizations are typically older and more likely to experience elder care issues than those not in decision-making positions,” the report posits.
Paid time off for family care needs may also be on the rise. Over the past year, we’ve published a number of stories on the Care@Work blog about companies expanding paid leave policies to include senior care responsibilities.
Related: 5 Signs Senior Care is a Source of Employee Stress
The 2016 NSE found 42 percent of employers provide information about services for elderly family members. Resource and referral benefits are more common among large employers (63 percent) than small (38 percent). An example of this type of support is Care@Work clients with unlimited access to Care.com, the world’s largest network of caregivers.
Help finding care support can be a real blessing for working caregivers. According to the Northeast Business Group on Health’s “Caregiving Landscape” whitepaper, employees with caregiving responsibilities spend an average of 24 hours per week providing caregiving assistance. Almost a quarter provide 41 or more hours of care.
A less common—but hugely valuable—benefit is backup care. Caregivers miss six to seven days of work each year due to caregiving responsibilities, according to the NEBGH report. Backup care is a way for companies to help employees find coverage when normal care arrangements fall through. It’s a proven way to relieve employee stress and reduce absenteeism. Clients who use Care@Work’s Backup Care service report employees miss six fewer days each year.
Related: It's Time to Get Serious About Senior Care at Work
Senior care needs often arise suddenly, resulting in distracted employees searching for information, making frantic phone calls and coping with emotional issues. Benefits like Care@Work’s Senior Care Planning service are designed to take a load off of employees in high stress situations. Our team of Senior Care Advisors lend a gentle hand to guide employees through care crises and create customized plans for aging loved ones, including crisis or long-term planning and ongoing case management.
Family caregivers supporting aging loved ones spend an average of $7,000 in out-of-pocket expenses every year, according to the NEBGH report. One way for employers to provide some financial relieve is through dependent care assistance programs. The National Study of Employers found 38 percent of employers provide DCAPs for elder care.
HR Professionals Also Read
- Deloitte's New Family Leave Benefit is a Sign of the Times
- Is Senior Care the New Child Care?
- 101 Reasons to Care About Employees' Lives Outside of Work
- FAMILY Act is Back. Here's What You Need to Know
- Looking Outside HR to Drive Benefits Utilization