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Stronger caregiver support, stronger business

By Dmitri Shiry, Deloitte LLP Pittsburgh’s managing partner; committee co-chair, United Way Community Impact Strategy and Action Plan Committee for Seniors

Right here in our community, thousands of individuals are working two full-time jobs: their career and their role caring for an aging loved one. After spending several years caring for my own mother, I know first-hand the stress that can weigh on a person providing care for a parent or an older friend. Caring for a loved one is rewarding but can be tough—putting physical, emotional, and financial strains on the caregiver and the whole family.

It is important to me to help our community’s seniors, so they can live safely in their homes with dignity. Through my roles at both United Way and Deloitte, I see many people who are helping older members of our community by offering a hand to family caregivers, who are relied upon for day-to-day support.

With more and more of our working community members stepping into caregiving roles as our population ages, local businesses can support their employees and help ensure they are aware of the resources available, both in and out of the workplace.

At Deloitte, we are proud to offer 16-week paid family leave annually for our employees who are caring for loved ones, including the arrival of a new child, and a family member or parent with a serious health condition. In addition, we have worked with United Way through United for Caregivers@Work — a pilot program to help educate and support employees who are caregivers or might become one in the future.

Businesses—big or small—can support their employee caregivers in many ways. Consider the following:

  1. When possible, provide employees who are caregiving for an older adult with a more flexible schedule. Flexibility is key when a person is running a parent to the doctor’s office or picking up medication or groceries. Working from home or having convenient hours can go a long way for workplace morale and caregiving responsibilities.
  1. For those employees who are caregivers, educate them on the resources that are available to them, both within your organization and out in the community. Consider providing education to your employees who might not yet be caregivers so they understand what their coworkers might be dealing with and know that there are resources to help them in the future.
  1. Have an open door policy. Listen to your employees and understand their needs. That is one of the best ways to help ensure they are receiving the education, resources, and support they need to be the best employees they can be.

A commitment to better serving employees who are caregivers can result in a more productive workplace. As the community’s population continues to age, it may become essential to maintaining a successful business. Organizations that begin designing benefit programs to support family caregivers now may be role models and leaders among their peers.

Take the first step and join Deloitte, UPMC, and United Way by signing your company up for United for Caregivers@Work. Email Laura Hahn, United for Seniors Project Manager, at laura.hahn@unitedwayswpa.org.