Senior Driving is a complicated issue. Ninety-seven-year-old Prince Philip was involved in a car crash last month that injured two women and prompted a debate on older drivers in Britain. Then two days later he was photographed driving a Land Rover without a seatbelt. Of course that reignited a debate about seniors and driving.
An Emotionally Charged Issue
What if I told you that tomorrow, just for a day, you would all of a sudden not have a car available? What if I said a week? You can start to see how your independence would be affected.
A car represents different things to people…a way to get to places for some; status and identity for others; freedom and spontaneity. What it represents also says a lot about how you approach the situation.
Just because you are older does not mean you have to stop driving. We see so many distracted driving accidents from much younger people on phones or texting and that is not representative of how seniors drive.
7 THINGS ENLIGHTENED EMPLOYERS ARE DOING FOR CAREGIVERS: ON WHICH END ARE YOU?
More than 42 million U.S. families, that is, 21 percent of households, experience daily limitations caring for a dependent adult. The economic value of these unpaid contributions is more than $500 billion, which is up from $375 billion in 2007.
But the cost is far greater than dollars. Working caregivers are more susceptible to poor health, eating disorders, substance abuse, and sleep maladies. These lead to reduced energy, chronic fatigue, and mood swings.
Caregivers are also more likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease and autoimmune disease. They often experience diminished concentration, withdrawal, and clinical depression. In the workplace, caregivers tend to be less productive and 29% pass promotions due to caregiving commitments.
Many will seek part-time instead of full-time responsibilities and 12% will leave the workforce to continue caregiving tasks. Few companies are addressing these issues comprehensively but when they do, solutions look like the following.
Culture and Paid Leave: The Price of Entry
Some companies have started to look at their culture toward caregiving. Logistic Health’s CEO Don Weber is one great example.
Others have taken a stab at policy, particularly around employee leave. But according to Employee Benefit News that is only scratching the surface. In a recent article they noted:
“Ending the conversation about caregiver support on paid leave would fall short of effectively supporting employee caregivers. Paid leave should be the tip of the iceberg. Having to report a reason for time off acts as a barrier to many caregivers.
Time does not guarantee that caregivers will find solutions to challenges while away from the office. If employers want to keep caregivers in the office without feeling preoccupied and overwhelmed, they should consider adding more than just time.”
One company, Global Institutional Solutions, provides caregiver services to employee assistance programs, corporations, insurers, and specialty markets. They have noted an uptick in demand for certain services.
Caregiver advocates are one such service. A personally-assigned caregiver advocate quickly becomes a trusted source, providing the family caregiver with guidance about ongoing challenges of caring for their loved one.
They provide one-on-one consultation and help address urgent needs such as benefit eligibility and long-term planning, answer Medicare and Medicaid questions, and much more.
Fraud and Estate Settlement
Financial abuse has been dubbed the “Crime of the 21st Century.” Protecting a loved one’s financial assets must be a priority for caregivers. Protection begins by assembling crucial documents and replacing those that are missing, conducting a credit file review, and resolution of any existing fraud.
When a caregiving journey comes to an end, it’s important to facilitate the settlement of a spouse’s estate, including credit review, file suppression, imbedded life benefits, and death notification to all relevant parties.
Caregivers need certain knowledge and skills both to provide the best possible care and to protect their own well-being.
Many caregivers feel they don’t have the necessary knowledge and lack confidence which exacerbates distress. Medical experts strongly advise caregivers to seek educational programs to satisfy these challenges.
An added stress factor is the selection of an appropriate, cost-effective medical provider or long-term institution.
Employers who provide educational resources – in written, audio, and visual format – and links directly to federal databases that are indispensable for initially screening medical providers and long-term institutions can greatly reduce caregiver burden.
Progressive companies provide resources for caregivers to improve their own personal health as they provide care to their loved ones. Caregivers can find helpful resources to make daily living easier, articles with topics addressing areas of stress, and tips for having a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships.
On average, caregivers miss about 6.6 days of work per year, resulting in a loss of $2,100 of productivity per caregiver per year. Imagine how reducing that number by just a small percentage would impact caregiver health and productivity, job satisfaction, and retention.
What is your employer’s policy toward caregivers? Is your employer providing these enlightened services or are caregivers stigmatized? Please share in the comments below.
Our Friday Song of the Week – Luck Be a Lady
Cruising through Caregiving-Reducing the Stress of Caring for a Loved One – Caregiver Smile Summit
Jennifer Fitzpatrick is our guest on the Caregiver Smile Summit.
On a scale of 0-100 is your stress level 150? Caregiving for a loved one who has acute or chronic illness is no vacation…but you can choose to cruise more smoothly through the process. This presentation will help family caregivers identify some of the major stressors involved in caregiving.
Jennifer is the founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., a full service healthcare education organization. With over 20+ years experience in healthcare, Jennifer is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University’s Certificate on Aging program.
She appears frequently in the media and has been featured on ABC, CBS, Univision, Sirius XM and in Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post and many more. A member of the National Speakers Association, she is one of less than 800 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) worldwide. Her first book, Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One helps family caregivers and is also a resource for healthcare professionals who want to set better boundaries with patients.
An International Perspective on Caregiving – Africa – Caregiver Smile Summit
We welcome JUDE KANU CHIBUIKE to the Caregiver Smile Summit.
Caregiving is not a common term in Africa. No one talks about caregiving in Africa even though it is taking place on behalf of children, disabled and the elderly. Africans are yet to realise that anyone who is involved in providing care is a caregiver. Our experts happens to be a professional caregiver in Africa who saw the need to advocate for the people in his society who are incapacitated especially the elderly. Unfortunately, the journey has not been easy as so many factors affect the job or caregiving in Africa – from cultural believes, government neglect, caregiver burn out, poverty, security problems, and religious believes. Jude’s insights should provide a new perspective on caregiving for us in the U.S.