Elder care benefits: 5 ways employers can help employees with ageing parents

Providing employees with elder care benefits is one of the best ways to support those with ageing parents at home. Learn about five ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated at work whilst they're caretaking at home, so they can put their best foot forward.

Benefits 101
Company Culture

⋅ min read

The elderly population worldwide is growing at a significant rate, leaving workers with ageing parents with the difficult challenge of providing them care. And in today’s economic climate, employees have a choice to make: take time off to support their loved ones, leading to lower performance, or leave the workforce altogether to become full-time caregivers.

It’s not a fun choice for employees—or employers. But there is good news: employers can help employees so they don’t have to choose.

Providing employees with elder care benefits is one of the best ways you can support your team with these needs whilst keeping them highly engaged, motivated, and able to put their best foot forward.

Let’s walk through five elder care benefits and policies you can put in place to help your employees do their best at home, so they can do the best at work.

What are elder care employee benefits?

Elder care employee benefits are benefits employers offer to help support employees with their caregiving responsibilities. This might be for their parents, grandparents, or other ageing loved ones who need extra support at home.

These types of benefits and policies can include in-home care services, private medical insurance, paid time off, and much more.

Why should employers offer elder care benefits to employees?

Offering elder care benefits to employees not only improves employee retention and increases productivity—it also allows your employees to maintain a sense of work-life harmony. 

The rigid separation between work and life often means that employees are put in the difficult decision to choose which part of their life they should give more attention to, often at the expense of the other. So when employees have pressing needs at home, like taking care of an ageing parent, their personal life takes precedence, putting work on the back burner—or off the burner entirely.

In fact, according to a recent study from TakingCare, one in three adults in the UK would consider leaving their job to care for an ageing parent, with one of the top reasons being a lack of support.

This, of course, is a concern to both employees and employers alike. For employees, it means becoming carers at their own expense—physically, emotionally, and financially. And for employers, they face losing star players on their team due to full-time care needs the employee may not be able to afford to outsource.

And if you’re thinking it’s only middle-aged team members you need to worry about, think again; Gen Z are already helping to financially support their parents, and this will remain top of mind as their parents age. 

It’s for reasons like these that many workers don’t see benefits as ‘extras’ anymore, but as a major consideration for why they’ll join a company and why they’ll stay. And when it comes to elder care benefits, potentially if they’ll stay. According to a survey from Adler, a quarter of UK workers consider benefits as more important to them than their base salary. So if your benefits aren’t up to snuff and a current goal-getter or potential wavemaker has elderly support needs at home, that could make their decision for them.

And for those employees who do stay but struggle to make it work, supporting them with elder care benefits can make all the difference. They can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their older parent or loved one is supported while they work, so they can bring their full attention to their role. 

In other words, when employees feel seen as people, not just as employees, they feel more connected to their role, team, and company. In return, they give back much more, building a world working at its best. 

How can elder care benefits help employees

What, specifically, can you do to help employees to support their elder care costs and needs so they can bring their best foot forward? Here are five benefits you can offer.

1. Private medical insurance

Private medical insurance, or PMI, covers healthcare expenses including prescriptions, tests, hospital stays, medical appointments, and more. This type of benefit is quickly becoming an expectation of employers by job seekers in countries with both state-funded and privatised healthcare alike.

PMI is beneficial to the employee and also to their ageing parents, as some policies allow one to add elderly dependents under their plan. Not only does this alleviate the financial burden associated with certain healthcare costs as parents get older, like expensive medications, but it can also ensure they’re able to see specialists as soon as the need arises.

2. In-home care

Eventually, the needs of ageing parents may come to a point where they need more help than one can provide alone, especially while working full-time. That’s where in-home care services can help. These services can help with:

  • Bathing
  • Preparing meals
  • Cleaning
  • Dressing
  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Other needs 

These services can be cost-prohibitive for the average person to afford on their own, sometimes forcing employees to choose between working full-time or caretaking full-time. Partnering with an in-home elder care provider like Gubbe for your benefits programme can help alleviate the financial and physical burden for your employees, so they can work without wondering how their parents are getting on at home.

3. Flexible allowances

Caring for elderly parents can come with countless expenses (like transportation to-and-from appointments) that might not generally be covered by the typical employee benefits package. In these cases, a flexible allowance gives them the freedom to use their benefit to provide care their loved ones need in the way they see fit, within certain parameters set by you.

For example, you might choose to set up a self-managed allowance with a high level of flexibility, so your employees can purchase new clothes for their ageing parents. Or you might consider an essential allowance specifically for medical expenses, so they can get medical equipment or offset the cost of prescriptions.

4. Mental health support

It’s not only financial considerations employees face while providing care for their loved ones—it’s emotional. Caretakers to elderly parents and loved ones often neglect their own needs to provide care, leaving them feeling drained and unsupported. Mental health benefits mean they can get some care, too.

Whether they need to talk about the emotional difficulties of becoming their parents’ caregiver, or the other stressors of life that have taken a backseat since then, counselling, therapy, or other types of mental health support can help them return to work with renewed energy and focus.

5. Flexible working arrangements

While not technically considered benefits, this is an extra policy you can put in place to help ease your employees’ home burdens so that they can show up each morning w as their best self. Flexible working arrangements can help with those extra challenging days where employees might not be able to work regular hours without interruption or have to run from appointment-to-appointment. In those cases, changing their hours for a day to better suit their schedule means they can take care of things at home while ensuring they don’t fall behind in their work.

Elder care benefits benefit employees–and employers

Though work-life balance is a popular topic in the post-pandemic world, it doesn’t take into account that we can’t always separate these facets of our lives—and nor should we. Benefits allows employers to meaningfully bridge the gap by helping employees in their personal lives, so that they can show up to work with their full potential.

That’s why at Ben, our focus is on shaping the lives of employees everywhere. See how Ben works to support your employees, from elder care to health insurance.

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