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Daughters in the Workplace: The Forgotten Caregiver


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​Half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter, according to a recent survey  by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. In addition, one quarter (25 percent) of daughters find there is a workplace stigma in being a caregiver, and 23 percent believe their supervisor is unsympathetic.

Jackie Froendt, Director of Human Resources at Home Instead Senior Care, Inc., will be speaking at Bruyère Continuing Care’s Humanizing Healthcare International Conference in Ottawa this week to discuss strategies for how employers can create a more supportive workplace for caregivers.

“All too often we see working caregivers feel that they have to make a choice between work and their aging loved one,” said Froendt. “Frequently, these working caregivers are unaware of what resources are available and how to navigate those conversations with their employer. It’s important that family caregivers not only feel empowered with the knowledge of the help that is available to them, but also that employers are educated on the importance of creating a supportive workplace environment for caregiving employees.”

According to Statistics Canada, now is the first time in history where there are more people in Canada age 65 and over than there are under age 15, making it critical for employers to start the conversation around caregivers in the workplace today. The City of Ottawa has reported that the senior population in Canada’s capital is expected to more than double before 2031, at which time more than one in five residents will be over 65.

On top of this, women are disproportionally impacted by this aging trend. 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. Further, 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 a part of the sandwich generation, caring for an aging parent or relative while also caring for their own children.

To help spark a dialogue between caregivers and employers, the Home Instead Senior Care network recently launched a new public education program, Daughters in the WorkplaceSM. The 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.

“Women are often thrust into a caregiving role for a senior loved one, yet the same accommodations frequently do not exist for her as they do for a new mom or dad,” says Froendt. “Employers should provide the equivalent resources to their employees who are caring for their parents as those that provide employees who are caring for small children.”

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 Home Instead’s 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.
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 https://www.homeinstead.ca.

Event Details:

Where: The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8S7

When: Thursday October 19, 2017, 11:20 a.m.

Who: Bruyère Continuing Care
Bruyère is the champion of well-being for aging Canadians and those requiring continuing care. We excel in the provision of evidence based health care and services for the vulnerable and medically complex, with a focus on persons who require sub-acute, geriatric or palliative care. Inspired by our founder, Mother Élisabeth Bruyère, we are a Catholic health care organization that optimizes the quality of life of people within the diverse community we serve in French and English.


What: Humanizing Healthcare International Conference

•    The conference is divided into two separate events: the Aging Gracefully wellness fair (October 18) and the Humanizing Healthcare International Conference (October 19-20).
•    The Aging Gracefully wellness fair “pre-conference”– is open to conference attendees and the general public– will include keynote speakers and a panel discussion on a mindful (holistic) approach to pain management.
•    The Humanizing Healthcare International Conference will focus on healthcare innovation and is open to healthcare practitioners, including physicians, nurse practitioners, etc. Delegates are expected to come from professional backgrounds beyond healthcare and community practitioners.

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