Letters to the Editor week of 7-8-10

6

Answers needed

To the Editor:

In the past few weeks, there have been letters to the editor concerning our school board, superintendent, and principals. The letters ask good questions, and I think it is time for a few good honest answers.

Mr. Cord and Mrs.Voris both state facts which need to be brought forth and taken another look at. Did our school board and superintendent move too fast with the sixth grade situation? Have the special needs students been treated unfairly?

What else is going on that the public does not know about, and would be greatly surprised with? (word is concrete replacement will be taking place). It is definitely time the taxpayers of our county have some answers.

Thank you.

Sharon Peelman

East Enterprise

Eldercare

To the Editor:

At any given time within the U.S. there are 50 million Americans engaged in caregiving duties. Of this group, 60 percent are also employed outside the home. In order to determine what services caregivers need and to determine the impact this group is making in the workplace LifeTime Resources, Inc. surveyed six organizations and companies in their five-county service area of Dearborn, Ripley, Switzerland, Ohio and Jefferson counties.

Using a survey tool tailored to the specific needs of working caregivers, we assessed:

The number of caregivers in the workplace.

Changes of work routines due to their eldercare demands; and

Organizational impacts created by unmanaged eldercare.

The survey tool was available online throughout the month of March. It was interesting to note that the results fell very close to national statistics. 35.1 percent of the respondents identified themselves as caregivers. Even though there were more women that responded to this survey, the percentage of men who self-identified as caregivers was higher than the national average of male caregivers. This should put companies and organizations that employ primarily men on notice that the burden of caregiving has shifted and that it isn’t primarily a woman’s job anymore. Of all of the respondents who did not self-identify as caregivers, 68.2 percent indicated that they believed they will become a caregiver in the near future. For companies and organizations that don’t feel they have a problem with eldercare in the workplace right now, this statistic underscores how big the problem will be in the near future.

Employees who had caregiving responsibilities made a measurable impact on the workplace. These caregivers used vacation time and lunch time for caregiving duties. Using all of their personal time-off for caregiving leaves these employees exhausted and stressed. As such, they reported utilizing health care benefits at a statistically higher rate than their non-caregiver colleagues. Caregivers can raise healthcare utilization rates 17 percent and use prescription drugs up to three times more than their non-caregiving counterparts. In this era of healthcare reform employers need to look closely at these statistics. Employees who are caregivers also spend time at work talking to their care recipients and family members about caregiving and looking for and arranging eldercare services. These activities draw their time, focus and energy away from their jobs and cuts into productivity levels for the company.

Unmanaged eldercare in the workplace is costing American businesses up to $34 billion annually in direct and indirect costs. This number is projected to increase with the boomer generation entering their older years. Respondents in this survey indicated that they would like to see eldercare services available to them through their workplace. Eldercare services would include resource and referral services, lunchtime seminars on eldercare topics, onsite support groups, lending library of caregiving/eldercare books, and other specific company services. They also stated that they would use these services if provided to them.

Eldercare is a complex issue. Companies and organizations would help their employees, strengthen their bottom line, and improve their healthcare utilization rates if they brought an eldercare program in-house. The problem isn’t going away any time soon implementing a solution would definitely be a wise investment. LifeTime Resources is available for any questions about caregiver needs, as well as, resource and referral options for care recipients. Call 800-742-5001 or visit www.lifetime-resources.org to see what LifeTime Resources has to offer.

LifeTime Resources