The Community Foundation Caregiver Support Initiative is directed at the needs of family caregivers to seniors in Washoe County.
While creating the Washoe Caregivers Guidebook and WashoeCaregivers.org, we learned that the impact of caregivers on the workforce is often ignored.
60% of family caregivers work fulltime and 19% of family caregivers in Washoe County have major debt due to caregiving. Most people enter caregiving during their prime earning years. Many challenges arise when employees become 24/7 caregivers. Do I retire early? Reduce my working hours? What will my employer think? Caring for a family member becomes a fulltime job. There may not be enough hours in the day to work and also take care of mom or dad.
The Community Foundation hosted a community conversation last spring about the impact of caregiving on the workforce. A panel of experts shared valuable information for employees and caregivers. Many of the audience members were family caregivers and all of them worked during their caregiving experience. We compiled information from the community conversation and researched studies about the impact of caregiving on the workforce and how some businesses address caregiving. All of this information has now been captured in the Caregiver Employee Toolkit.
When caregivers are supported businesses benefit too.
Businesses find recruitment easier, there is a reduction in turnover and absenteeism, employees caring for a family member are more productive, and health care costs decrease. The evidence is clear: supporting caregivers is good business.
The Caregiver Employee Toolkit explains what it means to be a caregiver and has an assessment tool for businesses to determine if they have a caregiver-friendly workplace.
The Toolkit also outlines several free and low-cost practices businesses can implement.
Some practices are quick and easy to implement, like giving out copies of our Washoe Caregivers Guidebook and sharing WashoeCaregivers.org with your employees so they can learn more about how to be a caregiver and find free and low-cost resources. Mentioning family caregiving in employee orientation materials and having a private space for phone calls are other simple practices that make a big difference. Businesses can determine which practices are the best fit for them.
How Can You Help?
Our goal is to reach 50 business this year and educate human resource personnel on how they can accommodate their caregiver employees. You can help us by sharing the Toolkit and introducing us to human resource personnel you know. If you are a business owner or work in human resources, we are happy to deliver copies of the Toolkit and the Washoe Caregiver Guidebook to you, and ask that you review the Toolkit and share it with your employees.
Many local resources are listed to help caregivers at WashoeCaregivers.org.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you are interested in helping our community outreach. And remember, supporting caregivers is good business!
Community Engagement Officer