Nonprofit Spotlight: Community Foundation of Western Nevada
The Community Foundation of Western Nevada sponsors this content
The impact caregiving has on the workforce is often overshadowed by the impact it has on personal and family life. Family caregivers play a critical role in our community. They work without pay to take care of mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, spouses, and even close friends.
These caregivers may also be hardworking employees, who work for your business during the day and take care of mom at night. The Community Foundation of Western Nevada knows supporting working caregivers not only boosts emotional wellness, it’s good business. This value is shared with our Corporate Philanthropy Partners, a local group of altruistic businesses that are concerned about the emotional wellness of their employees.
When we look carefully at working caregivers, their schedule does not fit neatly into clean blocks of time, working during the day and taking care of mom at night. They are using their lunch breaks to check in at home, deliver prescriptions and meals, or research medical options.
Paid time off is not reserved for relaxing vacations, it is used for doctors’ visits. And what happens when an employee gets a call at work and learns dad is in the emergency room? Often an employee becomes a caregiver suddenly, without warning or time to map out a plan with their employer.
Does your business have a policy for caregivers? Do have experience working with caregivers that is valuable to share? The Community Foundation would like to hear from you.
Some caregivers quit their jobs because the strain of caregiving is incompatible with working. Others find working while caregiving, while it greatly complicates time management is actually a respite. A congenial group of colleagues is welcome after intense one-on-one caregiving, and the work world provides interests outside of a caregiver’s daily home interactions. Earning income may be critical, and out-of-pocket expenses may increase significantly. The average length of time for caregiving responsibilities is 3.7 years.
Caregiving impacts employers too. 71% of Washoe County employees who identified as caregivers stated their work had been affected due to their caregiving responsibilities. Another study revealed that caregiver employees have 8% higher personal health bills due to the stress of caregiving, and these costs can go on for years. It benefits companies to think proactively about ways to accommodate and plan for caregiving in staff lives.
Caregivers struggle to balance the need to support their aging family member, to cope with emotional and financial challenges, and to be a productive employee. The good news is solutions are available. The Community Foundation recognized the need to help caregivers and launched the Caregiver Support Initiative in 2016.
We had significant support from our community and heard from 89 caregivers about what is most important to them. We learned that caregivers struggle to find resources and quality information, so we created the Washoe Caregivers Guidebook, an instructional manual on how to be a new caregiver, and WashoeCaregivers.org, a database of over 300 community resources.
More recently, we are focused on the importance of addressing the needs of employers and working caregivers. Companies we work with are interested in strategies to support their most valued employees. The Community Foundation invites you to attend a free event: “Caregivers in the Workforce: Balancing Life, Work, and Policy.” Tuesday, April 24 from 5:30pm until 7:00pm at Reno High School.
We hope you can join us for this event and are encouraging companies to send their HR staff.
A panel of national and local experts will discuss helpful actions employers can take to give caregivers the tips and tools to maintain balance on the job and in their life.
Speakers include Michael Marcus, MSW, national expert on aging and community development, Dr. Larry Weiss, Founder, CEO and President of the Center for Healthy Aging, Dr. Jane Fisher, Director of the Nevada Caregiver Support Center, and experts from AARP and Renown. The panel will address questions from the audience. All attendees will receive access to toolkits that will help provide usable information and ideas that will bring benefits to your employees, and your company.
Call the Community Foundation at 775-333-5499 to register. Visit nevadafund.org for details.
This article was written by Chris Askin, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, which sponsored this content.
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