In the middle of a busy workday, you get an unexpected call.
Your frail grandmother has suffered a fall – or perhaps your
elderly father is exhibiting stroke symptoms. Either way, you
hastily rearrange your plans, find someone to cover your most
urgent responsibilities and rush to the hospital. Your colleagues
and your boss are understanding and supportive through the
emergency, but that’s just the beginning.
Over the next few weeks or months, your schedule suddenly
begins to fill up with doctors’ visits, medical tests, research into
long-term or home-based care and appointments to assist your ag-ing
relative with shopping, banking, housework and the multitude
of other daily chores they used to be able to handle on their own.
This is when eldercare begins to wear you down as it erodes your
personal time, your finances and, potentially, your status at work.
For the employee, eldercare can be draining – even crushing. It
also has an impact on employers. The Conference Board of Canada
estimates that eldercare obligations cost businesses $1.28 billion
per year in direct and indirect costs ranging from paid absenteeism
to training for replacement workers and loss of productivity from
employees who are stressed, overtired and distracted.
A Framework and Literature Review on the Economic Costs of
Care, a study carried out by Norah Keating and others for the
University of Guelph Centre for Family, Work and Well-Being,
says that, among other costs, “caregiver strain and associated states
of anxiety and depression” cause increases in health benefit claims.
THE CLOCK IS TICKING
A 2017 Conference Board of Canada report titled, The Juggling
Act, Balancing Work and Eldercare in Canada, says, “Human re-sources
and business leaders must understand the impact of
eldercare on their employees, as well as on the organization itself,”
because this is an issue that’s not going to go away anytime soon.
“In 2016, there were more than 5.9 million seniors in Canada (up
20 per cent since 2011), accounting for 16.9 per cent of the popu-lation.
The senior population is projected to grow further, reaching
nearly one-quarter of Canadians by 2031,” wrote Nathan Battams
CARING FOR AN
AGING PARENT IS
– BRENDA ENRIGHT
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ SEPTEMBER 2017 ❚ 21