2008 Corporate Eldercare Programs: Their Impact, Effectiveness, and Implications for Employers

This study examined the “presenteeism” levels of employees at a large healthcare company who care for aging loved ones, the extent to which they needed to make changes to their normal work schedules, their perceived levels of caregiving burden, their self-reported health, and their attitudes toward the support their employers provided. Employees who participated in the study fell into three basic categories:

(1) users of a resource and referral program,
(2) users of a geriatric care management program; and
(3) employees who used no programs for assistance.

Among the study’s most important findings — especially for the nation’s employers — is the fact that “presenteeism” improved over time for users of the Geriatric Care Management program. Essentially, this indicates that people who used the GCM program were more focused on work after using the program than they were before using it. Additionally, GCM program users were less likely than the other groups to self-report deterioration in their health over time. Based on these findings, employers who invest in eldercare support programs (especially those with large employee populations) could realize significant returns in productivity and lower healthcare expenses.

The study was designed and conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Productive Aging, Towson University, program faculty and staff, and it was funded by LifeCare. The study can be found at Open Minds and accessed by creating a free account.  (OPEN MINDS has a national on-line community for executives, policymakers, and clinical professionals responsible for the management and delivery of behavioral health and social services.)