HR Survey Reveals 67% Increase in Elder Care Issues Affecting Employees
As the population ages, the number of employees caring for an elderly family member or loved one is on the rise. According to the AARP study “2014 State of the 50+ on Long Island”, two-thirds of working family caregivers on LI have lost work time and wages along with reduced benefits from pensions and Social Security due to providing care for an aging loved one.
To help both employees and companies on LI, Cona Elder Law, Melville based elder law and estate planning firm, has launched a new employee benefit program at no cost to the employer entitled: TAWC – Tools and Advice for Working Caregivers. The program helps working caregivers navigate the elder care landscape and helps employers by reducing absenteeism, downtime and turnover.
A recent survey conducted by Cona Elder Law of private and publicly held companies on LI revealed a 67% increase in elder care issues affecting the working caregiver. The most common problems involved a loved one’s hospitalization, coordinating elder care services and emergency elder caregiving responsibilities.
TAWC serves companies in such industries as finance, banking, health care, insurance and many others. CBS Coverage Group, a division of SKCG, Inc., an insurance company based in Plainview, and R&J Printing in Farmingdale are recent TAWC members. .
“We designed the program to help working caregivers find practical solutions to the complex array of elder care issues. Our goal is to arm employees with the tools needed to address various elder care scenarios and to encourage working caregivers to plan ahead for legal, financial and health care services,” says Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner Cona Elder Law. The program provides comprehensive information and assistance with government benefits, legal issues, options for financing long-term health care as well as educational programs on various caregiving topics at “lunch and learn” seminars. In addition, many of the member company employees have expressed interest in learning about planning for their own estate and retirement, so Cona Elder Law will help educate on these matters as well.
On the corporate side, working caregivers cost employers $33.6 billion annually in lost productivity. According to a Cona Elder Law survey, HR professionals reported that the impact on the job occurs mostly in schedule and work hour adjustments followed by absenteeism, lateness and extensive personal telephone calls. Employees also have to take unpaid time off to deal with elder caregiving issues. “By offering TAWC services to their staff, companies will see reduced absenteeism and downtime, increased productivity, and greater job security,” says Ms. Cona.
As an added benefit, employees of TAWC member companies are also entitled to a 10% discount on all elder law and estate planning services. They will save on such services as asset protection planning, Medicaid applications, wills and trusts, advance directives, special needs trusts and much more.
CFO Cheryl Pritzker-Wolff of CBS Coverage Group, a 67 employee division of Assured SKCG, Inc. (“CBS”), is now a TAWC member. “This is a fantastic program that will educate and help our staff who are caregivers and also to plan for their own retirement,” says Ms. Pritzker-Wolff. “When our employees are involved in caring for aging family members, it is a tremendous challenge that impacts productivity and is hard on every department. Now they will be reassured knowing what to do to plan ahead before a crisis occurs.”
During the first TAWC Lunch & Learn for CBS employees, Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., a partner at Cona Elder Law, discussed such topics as qualifying for Medicaid benefits for both home care and nursing home care, asset protection planning, use of Living Trusts, and importance of Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. She also spoke to the attendees about different Veterans Benefits available to Veterans and their spouses.
Many of the attendees commented that they are looking forward to the program so they can get organized and plan ahead. Regina Vetere, executive vice president of specialty lines, said “My first concern is knowing how to approach the topic of eldercare planning with our parents.” She was pleased to learn that Cona Elder Law has a document called COMPASSION with tips on how to conduct this difficult and awkward conversation.
The US Census Bureau reports that by 2015, 1/3 of the US workforce will be older than 50.
This number will increase to 115 million by 2020. As older adults live longer and working caregivers themselves age, the impact of elder-caregiving will be felt across all industries. Companies that have programs in place to assist their working elder-caregivers will be ahead of the curve and leaders in their field.
For information on TAWC and/or to obtain the COMPASSION tips, contact Cona Elder Law at
631-390-5000 or visit their website at www.conaelderlaw.com.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.