Understanding different generations in the workplace is currently a hot topic. Much is debated about their differences; how the younger ones post too much on social media and the older ones balk at telecommuting. But a major struggle many of them have in common is often overlooked: in each generation there are working caregivers. What is your organization doing to address this problem that costs organizations billions annually in additional healthcare costs, lost productivity and lost profits?
If you don’t believe you have employees juggling caregiving and work, you are likely wrong. It may be those working caregivers haven’t yet shared their struggles with you. Maybe the working caregivers in your organization are afraid to share this personal issue they deal with, worried they may be passed over for promotion or travel opportunities. There also may be a general concern that you might just think their heads “aren’t in the game” anymore if you knew how much energy they devoted to taking care of an older loved one.
It’s going to get worse. While there are approximately 40 million Americans are working caregivers, the number of older adults is constantly increasing and so will the number of working caregivers. While every generation has its share of working caregivers, the specific challenges they face because of it can be varied.
Baby Boomer working caregivers are often trying to save for retirement but bleed money helping with older loved ones’ caregiving expenses. Despite this, many in this age group are tempted to prematurely retire because of exhaustion and wondering if it’s worth it to continue working when most of the paycheck goes to home care or assisted living costs.
Generation X comprises much of today’s sandwich generation. They are most commonly the working caregivers doing double caregiving duty: taking care of young kids as well as older parents or even grandparents. A main struggle for this group is never having a moment to themselves.
Perhaps most surprisingly, 25% of working caregivers are now Millennials, according to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). This group is roughly split between males and females which is a brand new workplace issue. Typically Baby Boomer and Generation X caregivers are much more likely to be women. These working caregivers are earliest in their careers and may not have as much money to put toward hiring help for their older loved ones.
How can your organization support working caregivers in each generation so you maintain productivity and profitability? What programs do you offer to working caregivers and how do you get them to participate? For ideas on how to support working caregivers better, click here on these links: