Dementia Friendly as a Strategic Imperative for Hospitals

Improving the Employee Experience

Germany Copes With Growing Alzheimer And Dementia Cases
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Dementia Friendly needs to be a strategic imperative for hospitals and health providers. We have identified three areas that can position providers strategically as the provider of choice for boomers, older adults and their family caregivers. Our first of three articles looks at family caregivers in the workforce.

Six in 10 caregivers are employed while caregiving. While people between the ages of 50 and 64 represent the largest age group of caregivers, Millennials make up nearly a quarter of caregivers.

The estimated average additional health cost to employers is 8% more for those with eldercare responsibilities, estimated at costing U.S. employers $13.4 billion per year.

Employees providing eldercare are more likely to report depression, diabetes, hypertension, or pulmonary disease regardless of age, gender, and work type.

A key to better employee experience is and will be identifying, embracing and creating programs for family caregivers in the workforce.

Addressing the Need

ReACT (Respect A Caregiver’s Time) is an employer coalition that addresses the challenges faced by employee caregivers and reducing the impact on companies. Some of the things they have uncovered can help both job seekers looking for empathetic companies to work for and companies looking to reduce recruitment costs and improve productivity.

  • Organizations need to build a supportive culture for caregivers who fear being stigmatized and ostracized.
  • Employees must understand what a caregiver support program will do for them, need the services or policies that are offered, trust that using the program or even revealing their caregiving responsibilities will not lead to negative workplace consequences.

First generation eldercare programs were based largely on a resource and referral model.

Surprisingly, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there has been a steady decrease in the proportion of US employers with eldercare programs.

In assessing a workplace program, consider whether the following are in place: employee assistance program (EAP); family health insurance; flexible work hours; job sharing; leave time for caregiving-PTO or other paid leave; leave time for caregiving-unpaid leave; on-site adult day care center; telecommuting/work at home; pension/ retirement plan; program that allows employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for care of an older family member; resources and referral services for elder care; seminars on balancing work and family issues; subsidy for parent care.

Assess the organizational level of knowledge of the warning signs of dementia, skills as an organization for interacting with people who have dementia, and the ability to make referrals to support services.

Outsourcing Caregiver Resources

Resource and referral services continue to be at the center of eldercare programming for employees.

While there are several programs in the marketplace that serve as guidance and referral sources to family caregivers, only one that we have uncovered have their roots in senior fraud and abuse and which concentrates as much time and resource on the care of the caregiver as it does providing referral and other services for the person for whom they are caring. They stay with you after a loved one has passed to prevent and handle any fraud and abuse issues while protecting the estate.

The Caregiver TouchPoint Program was created to be a comprehensive solution to the contemporary challenges faced by a family member providing adult caregiving.

Innovative Program Supports Caregivers Through Video

Caregiving is hard, but it can be easier and more fulfilling for you and the loved one you care for! That is the premise behind a 30-Day Video Caregiver Support Program introduced by Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, president of The Aging Experience.

Each day family caregivers receive an inspiring video that covers one aspect of caregiving. There is a story, a moral, and a key takeaway that they can apply that day to make their life a little bit easier as a caregiver. In addition to hearing a message, Anthony incorporates song into the videos as well.

The Program helps turn caregiving from a potentially burdensome experience to a joyful opportunity, one where you don’t just survive but thrive.

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