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Make Sure Your DEI Efforts Include Caregivers

In response to a changing labor market, there has been a growing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives designed to foster a more supportive work environment. However, one group is often overlooked in DEI efforts - family caregivers, especially those caring for an older adult.


An aging population means more people will be turning to their family members to provide care, resulting in the need for many employees to balance their caregiving and work responsibilities. An awareness of the unique challenges faced by family caregivers of older adults can help employers build and maintain their workforce, become more inclusive, and shape equitable workplace policies.


Your Employees Are Already Caring for Older Adults

Caregivers are part of your workforce, whether you realize it or not. According to a Harvard Business School report, more than 7 out of every 10 U.S. workers provide unpaid care for their older parents, spouses, or other loved ones. This is not just an older worker issue - working caregivers are a diverse group. They can be of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, family composition, religion, occupation, income, and educational levels.


Caring for an older adult has unique challenges that frequently impact the workplace. 53% of caregivers over the age of 45 experience a decline in physical, mental, and emotional health and 70% of employee caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to the stress of managing both work and family caregiving responsibilities.


Caregiving is a DEI Issue

Creating a workplace culture that supports family caregivers has important diversity, equity, and inclusion implications, especially considering that family caregiving disproportionately falls upon women and people of color. Consider the following snapshots:

  • At 61%, women comprise the majority of family caregivers, regardless of age or parental status, and they are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have their employment impacted by caregiver responsibilities.

  • African American employees are often younger and spend more of their income on caregiving expenses

  • Latino employees have the highest rate of caregiving among any racial or ethnic group.

  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are twice as likely to care for elders than the general population of the same age.

  • LGBTQ+ employees become family caregivers at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ+ employees. Yet, workplace policies and benefits may leave them at a disadvantage or neglect them altogether.


Adding Employee Caregiver Benefits to DEI Efforts

Caregiving benefits can build wide support for your overall DEI initiatives - they not only include all your employees, but they also specifically focus on the employees that fall into the above caregiving groups.


Here are 3 things you can do as an employer to bolster your caregiver benefits while addressing DEI:

  1. Provide employees access to experts in elder care, such as those at Mellie, who can assist with personalized information, planning, and arranging services such as home care, assisted living, legal and financial help, Medicare and Medicaid, Veteran’s benefits, dementia care, caregiver support, and more.

  2. Facilitate training opportunities for employees to expand their knowledge and develop capacity to care for aging loved ones. Contact us at Mellie to hear about our employee benefit packages, which include quarterly trainings on a variety of elder care topics and tailored to the specific needs of your employees.

  3. Establish an Employee Resource Group where employee caregivers can receive support from one another, share resources and receive expert advice. Mellie can assist employers to establish and facilitate ERGs.


The challenges associated with being an employee caregiver for an older adult will only continue to grow as the population ages. As an employer, you should take steps now to establish caregiver support as a part of your DEI initiatives and to position yourself as a winner in the long term.


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