A new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, found that half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter. In addition, a quarter (25%) of working daughters find there is a workplace stigma associated with being a caregiver for an aging parent, and 23 percent have found that their supervisor is unsympathetic.
In an effort to start a conversation about how working family caregivers can be better supported in the workplace, the Home Instead Senior Care network in the United States and Canada has launched a new public education program, Daughters in the WorkplaceSM. The new program offers free resources to help working family caregivers feel empowered to talk to their employers about their needs, while also identifying caregiving support that may be available. The program also provides information to help employers understand what their employees want and need as caregivers, including Caregiver Friendly Business Practices.
"All too often we see working caregivers feel that they have to make a choice between work and their aging loved one," said Jisella Dolan, Chief Advocacy Officer at Home Instead, Inc.. "They are often unaware of what resources are available and how to navigate those conversations with their employer. That is why we are committed to not only empowering family caregivers with the knowledge of the help that is available to them, but also helping employers become better equipped on how to create a supportive workplace environment for caregiving employees."
Statistics Canada research shows that women are almost twice as likely as their male counterparts to spend 20 or more hours per week on caregiving tasks. Part of this larger workload is a result of the types of caregiving activities typically performed by women. For instance, women are twice as likely as men to provide personal care to senior loved ones such as bathing and dressing. What's more, many women are part of the sandwich generation, caring for an aging parent or relative while also caring for their own children.Nora Spinks, CEO at The Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa, explains that a significant issue facing many working family caregivers is that employers often do not realize the strain caring for a senior loved one can place on their employees. In fact, according to the Home Instead survey, 91percent of female caregivers report having had to take action to accommodate being an employee and a caregiver. The most common actions include taking paid time off, switching from full time to part time, avoiding certain responsibilities and turning down promotions. All of the hours spent caregiving – combined with the sacrifices made in the workplace – can leave daughters in the workplace with undue strain and stress in their lives.
"Caring for a senior loved one touches almost every aspect of a caregiver's life including their work. When employers have a greater understanding of their employee's caregiving responsibilities, commitments and obligations, they are better equipped to provide the appropriate workplace supports so employees can effectively manage family and work," said Spinks.
To help educate working family caregivers on how to work with their employers to address some of the challenges they face,
DaughtersintheWorkplace.ca includes conversation starters and health tips for caregiving employees, as well as communication tips for employers and signs caregiving employees need support. Additionally, the website includes an interactive quiz in which caregivers can equip themselves with the knowledge of the protected family leave rights that may be available to them.
"Our hope is that by highlighting the struggles that family caregivers experience, and providing them with possible solutions and tips they can implement in their home and work lives, we can help ensure they are happy and healthy in their work lives while also being able to provide their loved ones with the care they need," explains Dolan.
While women make up two-thirds of family caregivers, the solutions to addressing caregiving challenges in the workplace are gender-neutral. Family caregivers and employers can view program resources and tips at
www.DaughtersintheWorkplace.ca. Or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office for additional resources and to learn how their professional CAREGiversSM may be able to assist. Find an office near you by visiting