Workplace

Juggling eldercare demands with job and career demands.

True or False? Questions About Aging and Elder Care

Posted by on Jun 12, 2012 in Workplace | 0 comments

  Here are some frequently asked (or “thought-about”) questions from employed baby boomers who have elder care responsibilities. Take the quiz and compare your answers to the Answer Guide below:  1. Most older people are set in their ways and unable to change. 2. Because of a looming shortage of care beds, we should encourage our parents to get on a wait list sooner than later. 3. Memory lapses are NOT always a sign of Alzheimer Disease. 4. About 20% of middle-aged and older workers are caring for aging relatives as well as dependent children. 5. Sandwich generation workers are afraid of losing their jobs, so they do not talk about needing time for aging parents.  6. Up to 20% of sandwich generation workers lose employment income due to eldercare responsibilities. 7. Employees spend as long as 7 hours/week on the phone dealing with issues related to eldercare.  8. When someone is too ill to speak for themselves (e.g., suffers a stroke or is diagnosed with dementia), spouses or immediate family can make decisions on their behalf. 9. Almost 50% of nursing home admissions are due to chronic disease. 10. Home care support allows seniors to remain in their homes longer.   True/False Quiz Answer Guide 1. Most older people are set in their ways and unable to change. (False) Research has found that, except for the changes that can result from Alzheimer Disease and other forms of dementia, personality is one of the few constants of life. So – if you are set in your ways when you are young – then you are likely to be the same when you are old.  2. Because of a looming shortage of care beds, we should encourage our parents to get on a wait list sooner than later. (False) Wait lists generally only apply for publicly funded care beds for assisted living and long-term care. Admission to these facilities depends on a medical assessment carried out by your local health authority. Most admissions to care facilities are patients now in hospital, who cannot return home with safety. Healthier adults have many private options to choose from. Some private seniors residences do have wait lists, either for specific rooms within their complex, or because a specific property is seen as desirable. 3. Memory lapses are NOT always a sign of Alzheimer Disease. (True) Alzheimer Disease and other dementias increase with age but are not inevitable. Many older adults maintain a sharp mind throughout their life. Memory lapses are common as we get older, and adaptations can be made. Memory lapses may have other causes: exhaustion from chronic pain, medication issues, or depression can all contribute to memory problems. 4. About 20% of middle-aged and older workers are caring for aging relatives as well as dependent children. (True) According to caregivertoolkit.ca, one in four Canadians cares for an elderly parent; almost one in five have responsibilities for both eldercare and childcare – approximately 750,000 individuals. The vast majority (80%) of those with children and caring for an elderly person were employed, most full-time. 5. Sandwich generation workers are afraid of losing their jobs, so they do not talk about needing time for aging parents.  (True) Boomer-aged workers with work-family conflicts are often reluctant to raise the issue with supervisors. They fear being viewed as not committed enough, or that absence might affect performance reviews and advancement. They may feel bad about bring personal problems to work or adding further burdens to co-workers. Boomers may report to younger bosses who cannot relate to elder care issues as they can those of child care. 6. Up to 20% of sandwich generation workers lose employment income...

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Workplace Issues in an Aging Canada

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Workplace | 0 comments

Canada’s aging population has increased dramatically in the last five years. We can expect significant changes to our economy and our workplaces as a result. Census 2006: Age and Sex, released in July, shows nearly one out of every three Canadians is now a “boomer”. Canadians aged 55 to 64 are the fastest growing demographic, up nearly 30 per cent from the last Canadian census five years ago. Higher life expectancy means there are more seniors than ever – now one in seven Canadians. At the same time, declining birthrates mean fewer children. Statistics Canada projects that within a decade, seniors could outnumber children younger than 15. Our over-80 population is the second-fastest growing group, increasing by more than 25 per cent in the last five years, followed closely by centenarians (aged 100 and over) whose numbers grew by 22 per cent since the last census. Today there’s a one-to-one ratio between those entering the workforce and those nearing retirement. But in 10 years there may be more people leaving the workplace than entering it. In twenty years, there may be only two workers for every senior – down from a five-to-one ratio today. The aging population may lead to more jobs in the private and public sector dedicated to servicing this demographic. New businesses and organizations are already being created to reflect demands of the aging population. Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) will continue to re-define society, as they have practically from day one. The question is: how will they do it? Already many boomers are rejecting or re-defining retirement. Many are healthier and more active than previous generations, and may find traditional retirement unsatisfying. Others may not be in a financial position to retire. Fears about worker shortages may not be realized if boomers keep working longer, but expect new dynamics in a multi-generational workplace. Employers will have to adapt to retain workers, and to maintain productivity and stay competitive. Boomers who stay in the workforce will continue to be squeezed by the demands on generations on either side. The seniors in their lives – parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, neighbours and friends – will live longer. This is the “sandwich generation”.  Boomers who take on caregiving roles will be doing it longer, all while they juggle the demands of work, “boomerang” kids, grandchildren, and time for themselves. The implications for individual health and well-being and for our overall economy are significant. Governments, employers and businesses in the private sector, service agencies and extended families all face challenges in adapting to these population shifts. Vol. 3. No. 19  © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Juggling Elder Care and Job Demands

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Workplace | 0 comments

Nearly one in three Canadians aged 45-64 provides some informal care for at least one elderly family member. About 70% of these caregivers are employed, and many are members of the “sandwich generation”, with children still living at home or otherwise dependent upon them. A rapidly aging population means that these numbers will increase. That leads to greater stress on families and put pressure on workplaces as well. Workers caring for seniors may need to juggle between demands: work reduced hours, use time at work for eldercare-related calls, or use vacation days to care for their elders. They may also decline relocation, work-related travel, promotions, overtime, or new assignments. They may even opt for early retirement as a means of accommodating the many demands on them. Even with these adaptations, family caregivers may experience “role overload” and suffer sleep deprivation and other stress-related ailments that affect their productivity. “The most common needs for working caregivers are flexibility in work schedules, information about services and aging in general, support from co-workers and supervisors, and help in making decisions about care options and related issues,” according to a recent article featured in The MatureMarket.com. Many employers are starting to recognize this pressure and looking for ways to support and retain their valued older workers. Some larger companies have started offering eldercare support services, but for many others, this is new territory. If you as a company or an employee are just beginning this journey, here are a few actions you might initiate: Employers: 1. Raise your awareness of employees affected by eldercare concerns. 2. Assess current or potential costs of employee turnover, morale and productivity associated with the stresses of eldercare responsibilities. 3. Create a supportive environment for employees to talk about their eldercare concerns, and educate your managers to be sensitive to these situations. 4. Review your company’s benefit plan and other company policies to account for this new reality. 5. Collaborate with affected employees on implementing new initiatives. Employees: 1. Learn what benefits are presently available through your employer (e.g., EAP, emergency leave). 2. Gather information about community services and support available (e.g., respite, adult day programs, companion services). 3. Enlist family and others to help share eldercare responsibilities. 4. Draw on the experience of friends and colleagues in similar situations. 5. Assess your need for alternate work arrangements, such as flex-time, job sharing, or alternate responsibilities. 6. Prepare a strategy for discussing your concerns and possible solutions with your employer. For an in-depth look at this issue, see a report prepared by the Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content/pdfs/op_2003_workplace_programs.pdf    Vol.3, No. 8 © ElderWise Inc. 2007 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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