- Merrill Lynch released a study on family caregivers, the nation's 40 million people who spend $190 billion a year on their loved ones' health expenses and support services. The Wall Street financial services firm teamed up with Age Wave on the nationwide study, which polled 2,200 respondents, 2,010 of whom were caregivers.
- The study found that caregiving includes more emotional (98%), financial (92%), household (92%) and coordinating (79%) support than physical care (64%). Additionally, a person is three times more likely to be the sole caregiver of a spouse than a parent.
- The study also found that navigating health insurance expenses is caregivers' greatest challenge (57%). Around 66% of caregivers said they could use financial advice.
Employee Benefit Adviser (EBA) cites an AARP study showing that businesses lose $25 billion annually in productivity from absentee caregivers. This staggering statistic is enough to get employers to intervene and learn how they might support caregiver employees through benefits plans.
More employers are taking advantage of benefits platforms that offer support for caregivers. But generally, employers can pay particular attention to the financial woes and well-being struggles that caregiver employees face. Stress and burnout, for example, are particular risks for these workers. Flexible work hours, on-site childcare and emergency back-up care benefits can go a long way in keeping employees on board.
AARP is a deep source of information on the needs of caregivers and services that support them. Employers looking to learn more about caregiver's challenges and costs might use the organization as a resource, as well.