New program supports family caregivers

By Leslie King | Emory Report | Jan. 14, 2013

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The Emory Caregiver Support Program is designed to address a need that affects a significant number of Emory employees. An info session is Jan. 17.

Emory employees who are caregivers for adult family members or foresee they will be are the beneficiaries of a new program, the Emory Caregiver Support Program.

"At some point in their lives everyone is likely to serve in the role of a caregiver," says Audrey Adelson, work-life and family programs consultant for Emory's WorkLife Resource Center.  

The program is the result of nearly two years of research and planning to support employees who are responsible for the care of an aging, sick or chronically ill adult family member.

"Managing the care of an aging, sick or chronically ill adult is done out of love and can have a huge impact on the person doing it," Adelson says.

The Emory Caregiver Support Program includes:

  • Policy changes to enhance the support of employees with adult caregiving responsibilities.
  • Increased efforts to support workplace flexibility on campus.
  • Increased resources centralized through the Emory WorkLife Resource Center.
  • Expanded workshop offerings to better meet the resource needs and health and wellness of employee caregivers and their families.
  • Increased awareness about wellness services available to employee caregivers and their families through the Faculty Staff Assistance Program.
  • Additional benefits to address the diversity of caregiving needs held by employees and their family members.
  • Enhancements to the Emory WorkLife Resource Center website at www.worklife.emory.edu.

"Emory has recognized its employee caregivers' need for support and the impact it will have if they don't," Adelson says, adding that "the working group that looked into this issue at Emory carefully reviewed the multi-faceted aspects involved with caregiving to make innovative and worthy recommendations.  Few organizations offer such support."

 An introduction to the Emory Caregiver Support Program will be held Thursday, Jan. 17 at noon in Room 101 of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.  Currently, there is a waiting list. The event will be recorded for those unable to attend and be made available on the Emory WorkLife Resource Center website under Archived Events following the workshop date. Contact Adelson at 404-727-1261 with questions.

Caregiving concerns

Assessing the caregiving needs of the Emory population found:

  • A 2010 dependent care needs assessment conducted by the Emory WorkLife Resource Center and Bright Horizons Consulting showed nearly 15 percent of the university population was currently responsible for caring for an aging, sick or special needs family member, slightly above the 12 percent national average.
  • When asked in the 2010 needs assessment survey about feeling concerned over how to balance work and adult caregiving responsibilities in the next one-to-three - years, the employee response jumped to near 60 percent. This indicates a significant number of university employees anticipated having to manage the care of an adult loved one in the near future, says Adelson. Many of these employees were also responsible for the care of school-aged children, which puts them into what is commonly referred to as the "Sandwich Generation."