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The Hidden Cost to Employers: Caring for an Older Relative

Updated: May 12, 2023

The Unrecognized Caregiver.

Unlike childcare, caring for an older relative is often unrecognized - not just by the employer but also by the employee. We see photos and hear stories of our colleagues’ children, and welcome new members to their families. We make conversation with them by asking about their children and celebrate milestones.


This is not usually the case with older relatives. Becoming a caregiver to an older relative can be a gradual process - occasional social visits turn into regular visits to help with errands or tasks and before you realize it, you have become a caregiver. Or it can be sudden - a fall sends a loved one to the hospital and now you must navigate the complex healthcare landscape and figure out how to get them home safely. We frequently don’t share this information with coworkers, possibly because we think it is burdensome or just another routine responsibility.


Caregiver Turnover

For some, the burden of balancing caregiving with work becomes too great. Six percent of employees leave their jobs because of caregiving responsibilities. Research suggests that replacing an employee costs an employer 50% to 60% of the employee’s annual salary. At approximately $50,000 per employee, a benefit such as Mellie is a cost-effective solution to maintaining your workforce by reducing caregiver burden.


Absenteeism and Productivity

However, it is not just about losing employees. Those caregivers who continue to work while providing care can cost employers more than those who resign. Almost half of caregiving employees start work late, leave early, take time off, and 15% take a leave of absence. It is for these reasons that many employers have adopted flexible work arrangements to help accommodate caregiving, but this is only a first step.


Take the example of having a relative with dementia. The lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s, which is just one type of dementia, at age 45 is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men. This means that it is highly likely that you have employees who have a relative with dementia. A study by the National Institute on Health found that employed family caregivers of people with dementia missed approximately 7.91% of their work time in a week and their productivity was affected by 35.36%. Much of this time is spent researching and managing care - tasks that can be accomplished more cost effectively through an elder care benefit such as Mellie.


Well-Being

Of course, good employer benefits are designed to do more than just save costs to employers - they also show how you care and support your workforce. A study found that 66% of family caregivers of older adults reported having an adverse mental or behavioral symptom as a result of being a caregiver. Not all elder care benefit packages are the same - some focus on only one aspect of being a caregiver such as hiring in-home help or counseling, whereas others such as Mellie take a holistic approach ensuring caregivers have access to support across all service areas.


The Benefits of Mellie

  • Experienced geriatric care managers along with an innovative platform meet the specific needs of your employees and save them time from researching information, identifying services, and coordinating care with others.

  • Services are 360° in nature and cover all the domains of elder care, including caregiver wellness.

  • An additional focus on education and planning that includes webinars, ERG facilitation, and consultation.

  • Flexible benefit packages tailored to your employee population with pay for value pricing models


Visit Mellie for more information on how we can partner with you to support your caregivers employees or email us at hello@mellie.com.


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