Why supporting your staff who are Carers for an elderly relative is good for your business

Businesses survive and thrive because of the people they employ. First of all, your staff are your most important asset. Without them you’d have no clients and no business. Looking after your staff is your highest priority as well as your clients. Furthermore, if staff with stress go off sick, that affects your business productivity. A positive and sustainable workplace environment with staff who are engaged in the business is essential if your business is to continue and grow. As a business that puts the health and wellbeing of its staff as a high priority then part of your Corporate  Responsibility towards them is to support them through a challenging and stressful time. They are more likely to stay as a loyal employee in the long term, making you an employer of choice, bringing value to your business.

The number of people who are who are working while caring for an elderly relative is on the increase.

Due to advances in medicine, the UK population is ageing, therefore more people are living with “conditions of later life” such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, arthritis, COPD and diabetes. Previously they would have died of disease or war. As a result, it’s predicted that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will double in the next 20 years which means that the number of people who are working and needing to care for their elderly relative is also going to increase significantly. In previous generations, families lived close by each other but today many families live miles apart or in different countries. This makes the practical looking after or managing the care of their relatives really difficult. We can’t change the future number of people diagnosed with dementia or other condition but you can change the way you support your staff who are in the position of working and caring, either now or in the future.

What staff working and caring for an elderly relative means for your business

The staff most likely to be affected by working and caring are aged 45+ and mainly female. Especially relevant is there are approximately 1 in 8 adults caring for a relative in the UK, with 1 in 5 forced to leave because they can’t cope with working and caring. Calculate how many are likely be working for you. Those who are struggling to cope with working and caring will likely increase their absenteeism rate and then go off sick with stress. Staff resigning to care for their relative will leave a skills and productivity gap, particularly if they are an experienced member of staff. That’s going to affect your business productivity, your turnover and most of all, your sustainability.

Some potential solutions to support and keep staff who are working and caring

Providing a flexible working environment where staff can work around their care responsibilities will reduce their stress and support them to remain productive for the business. Providing a specialist online or in-house support programme for staff of information, advice, guidance and signposting to appropriate services and specialists for the care of their elderly relative is essential. This takes much of the stress away and saves them time looking for the right legal and financial advice they need. It also signposts them to services for completing forms such as Attendance Allowance or challenging a decision around the funding their relative needs for their Nursing and Care support. “Not knowing where to look, what to ask or where to find information” is one of the biggest causes of stress for people who are working and caring. Information and support for them if their elderly relative passes away and how to cope with life and work in the future also supports them to continue to work productively for your business.

The impact of solutions to support staff working and caring on your business

Staff who feel supported and valued by their employer are more likely to remain working for your business in the longer term. As an employer this is part of your Corporate Responsibility which will lead to continued productivity, turnover and sustainability. Most of all, this reduces the costs and disruption of recruitment, particularly to a senior or specialist post. As an employer of choice offering this support to your staff is a recognised way of retaining them now and in the future.

Here is more information about the support programme “Support for Staff Working and Caring for a Loved One”  

Contact Sue Grogan for an informal discussion about how this can your business