Millennials -those men and women aged 18 to 34, according to some measures- have been demanding more benefits from employers when they seek out work. These benefits can range from more informal dress codes and dining options on site to more time off or the ability to work from home. One of the benefits that a growing number of employers have begun providing is helping their employees look after and care for aging parents.
According to the AARP, there are an estimated 44 million family caregivers across the country. While the vast majority of these caregivers are women and in their 40s or 50s, some younger men and women are taking a more vested role in caring for their mothers and fathers as they move into and through their Golden Years.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in a news article, The new employee perk that’s slowly taking hold: Help for those caring for aging parents, written by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz:
“That is starting to change, said Michael Walsh, CEO of Cariloop, a platform for employees to access caregiving resources. Employers that previously “would look at us like we had five heads” when Cariloop pitched benefits for workers caring for aging parents have expressed more interest over the past 18 months, he said.
The shift may be in part because millennials, who expect greater flexibility and work-life balance, are moving into caregiving roles, he said. About a quarter of the 40 million Americans providing unpaid care to adults in 2014 were millennials aged 18 to 34, according to a 2015 AARP report, and their share will swell as society ages.”
One of the more important questions that arise, however, with more Millennials taking an active role in supporting aging parents while working is whether this is enough. Being able to take time off from work or being afforded greater flexibility is wonderful, but what about for those seniors who need more care? As people age, they will lose strength and ability, which means they will require more direct physical support, not to mention the emotional and mental components that coincide with age.
Yes, more Millennials and other generations understand the importance of caring for elderly parents and disabled adults, but more often than not these same family caregivers do not have the tools, experience, or resources to be the optimal support system. It becomes incumbent upon home care agencies to reach out and support these young men and women and help them understand the value professional, experienced home care aides offer.
While employers may be increasingly willing to offer benefits to their young team members, one may be to help those same employees understand their limitations better and what professional caregivers could offer their aging parents.