When Your Workers Need to Care for Aging Parents

A large and fast-growing segment of the workforce—about 1 out of 8—is faced with elder-care responsibilities, and this number is expected to triple in the next five to seven years. Caring for aging parents affects millions of U.S. employees, and you need consider whether you are prepared for the heavy toll this will take on work and family life for those in your organization.

As workforce productivity decreases and employee retention costs increase, you can no longer ignore this issue. Some things you can do to help your employees include the following:

• Maintain a culture of compassionate, educated, and understanding management and leadership within your organizational ranks.

• Support elder-care issues; provide employees with access to help, information, counseling, and professional guidance.

• Develop flexible work schedules and job-sharing programs.

• Be aware and proactive in handling the added stress of elder care. For example, medical emergencies for the elderly are also generally accompanied by bad news. Be prepared for this added stress on employees.

• Create an environment that supports employees in honoring their elders.

Demographic trends virtually guarantee that a growing percentage of workers will be faced with elder-care responsibilities in the future. With life expectancy rising every day, the issue of elder care will have a huge impact on worker needs. Be ready to meet these challenges and support your employees.

Mallary Tytel President and Founder Healthy Workplaces Sioux Falls, S.D.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.