How Can Employers Assist and Retain Their Older Employees?

November 18, 2010; By: Audrey Miller
All About Estates

I have been reading the recent newspaper articles on the cost of caregiving and how it affects women, especially those ready to retire in the next short while. This also raises the issue of older worker retention and the loss of knowledge that companies anticipate as the baby boomers start to retire.
It is a difficult situation for many that find they need to be available in order to provide care to an aging relative, but cannot afford to retire. According to Statistics Canada, in 2002, there were more than two million people 45 years and over who reported providing informal care to seniors. Almost 20 per cent of both women and men aged 45 and over reported giving care to one or more seniors with a long-term health problem and, among currently employed caregivers, as many as one in five women and one in ten men could retire sooner than planned because of caregiving responsibilities.

One option to either keep employees on the payroll or to attract new talent, is to add an elder care option to employer benefit programs. These care benefits usually include a geriatric care manager, a professional (usually a social worker or nurse) with expertise and knowledge about public and private programs and services available to individuals in need of support. Some companies offer these benefits through their Employee Assistance Plan while others may offer referral services from their human resources department. This service can provide one to one counselling and resource identification so that less time and stress is spent trying to find or access appropriate resources. Flex time, working from home, and job sharing are all options worth exploring. Something to think about.

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