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These Organizations are Making Senior Care Benefits Work

Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan on July 27, 2017 10:30 AM

The competition is on: employers who offer high quality, affordable care options for employees’  loved ones are winning – and retaining - more top talent. And while more and more organizations now provide childcare (and even pet care benefits to their employees), most are still missing the other side of the care equation: aging relatives. 

One in six working adults care for an aging relative, and the elderly population is expected to double over the next few decades. Wearing both caregiver and employee hats comes at a cost: according to MetLife, people with elder-care responsibilities can cost their employers as much as $34 billion a year overall, thanks to absenteeism, disengagement, turnover, and increased healthcare costs for themselves. 

Providing senior care benefits not only helps boost productivity, retention and wellbeing, but also sends a clear message to employees – their employer cares.   Here are four stand-out organizations helping employees better meet senior care needs: 

  1. Johns Hopkins University:  
    An early adopter of comprehensive senior care programs, Johns Hopkins offers a variety of services to its 40,000 employees, focused on three distinct phases: healthy aging, chronic illness, and crisis. To help employees plan ahead, Johns Hopkins offers individual consultations with a qualified counselor; workshops on topics such as legal issues and dementia; resources for long-distance caregivers; and up to 10 days a year of subsidized backup care.

  2. Johnson & Johnson: 
    J&J offers its caregiving program to employees free of charge in order to encourage participation. Services include situational assessments and scheduled check-ins from a geriatric care manager, on-site facility reviews, assistance with paperwork and planning, referrals to community resources, webinars and workshops, and flexible care leave policies, in addition to sick leave.

  3. Northwestern University:  
    Northwestern offers work/life and family resources for its thousands of employees, ranging from childcare support and flexible work arrangements to a full Eldercare program. Employees can take advantage of 24/7 access to professional counselors through employee assistance programs, as well as workshops and other resources to help employees balance their responsibilities both at home and at work.

    RELATED: 11 No-Cost Tips for Better Senior Care at Your Institution

  4. Prudential:  
    Well known for their dependable childcare benefits, Prudential saw its employees increase their use of Prudential’s adult care benefits threefold between 2009 and 2014. Those benefits include 200 hours of free backup dependent care—for children or adults—per employee, and matches of 25 percent of pre-tax funds up to $4,000 that an employee puts in a dependent care reimbursement account. Employees can also take advantage of geriatric care services such as in-home assessments from social workers and services connecting users to specialists who can offer second opinions and follow-up medical advice.

As the population continues to age, more and more employees will face the mounting challenges of caring for those who once cared for them.  And organizations will inevitably confront the growing, costly effects of absenteeism and presenteeism.  Employers have an opportunity to respond, and to differentiate themselves now by providing senior care benefits.  Not only will they assure current employees they have the support they need to manage both planned and unplanned senior care needs, but the message it will send to new recruits will go miles. Who wins in the long run?  Everyone.

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Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan

As Director, Sales and Marketing at, Heidi is responsible for developing innovative, results-driven programs for Care@Work – a consumer-centered portfolio of family care for employers and their diverse workforce. Passionate about helping HR professionals improve the lives of their employees, Heidi follows and writes about the top trends and research impacting both employees and employers in the workplace, including the future of work, consumerism and HR, building employer brands, pay equity and paid leave policy, and company culture. Prior to joining, Heidi led marketing teams at a variety of technology companies including Constant Contact. She lives north of Boston with her husband Brian and their “daughter” Lexi – a 10 lb. Shih-Tzu therapy dog.