According to the Caregiver Action Network, there are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today, and two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers. 39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled – up from 30% in 2010.
Whether it be caring for aging or ill family members, children with severe conditions, or Wounded veterans, family caregivers provide a staggering $450 billion dollars a year in unpaid health care. And these caregivers are women, men and even children performing complex medical tasks with little to no support. The physical and emotional toll on family caregivers could fill volumes, so let’s focus on the economic impact to small businesses and local economies.
Business owners please ask yourself…if two out of three adults are in a family caregiver situation, how many of your employees are (or will be) impacted? And, more importantly, what is your business doing to adapt?
I’m blessed to work for a company that does everything possible to accommodate family caregivers (like me), with flexible work schedules, job sharing and remote access. But what about those positions or functions that need a body in the office? If your business hasn’t been impacted yet, count yourself lucky. Protect the investment you’ve made in hiring quality people by coming up with a plan now.
Politicos please ask yourself…if a family caregiver takes a lower paying job or stops working altogether, how does that impact your local community? If I miss work for my caregiver responsibilties, no matter how accommodating my employer may be I make less money. Less money made means less money spent-less restaurants visited, less boutiques shopped at, less cars purchased. Are you getting the picture? We need to find a way to take care of businesses who take care of their employees, and we need to find a way to help families who are already struggling under the huge financial burden that comes with being a family caregiver.
Please look for my portion of the $450 billion donation on my next tax return.