Workplaces Need Caregiver Affinity Groups

Fran Melmed writing for TLNT recently reported on the need for more caregiver affinity groups in the workplace. Citing the Pew Internet Projectäó»s latest study on the social life of health information, Pew found that caregivers use social network sites for updates and gathering information support more than other online social network participants.

  • 28% of caregivers follow friendsäó» health updates, compared with 21% of other social network site users.Œæ
  • 20% of caregivers who use social network sites say they have gathered health information on such a site, compared with 12% of other users.
Pew also pointed out these same sites äóìcan be a source of encouragement and care.” No argument there. Working with my healthcare clients, I see the value that say Caring Bridge or CarePages brings to patients and their families. That community is something that health providers do not provide typically.
We have reported extensively in this blog on caregiver health and well-being. But we have not talked about the employer’s role as much. Yet, caregivers still in the workplace need employers who care for them too. And that manifests through EAP programs, flexible schedules, volunteer benefit programs and more.
Ms. Melmed argues that “emotional support and advice from people whoäó»ve äóìbeen thereäó will also be critical.” She advocates for the creating an affinity group äóî a caregivers community – in the workplace. I agree.

Does your employee have a caregiver group? Ask. And perhaps think about taking the lead in forming one. Caregivers in the workplace desperately need support and need to know that others are experiencing what they are experiencing.