Here Are The 4 Biggest Misconceptions About Employee Caregivers You Shouldn’t Believe

The UK is facing a serious caregiving crisis, with the number of caregivers in the workplace expected to significantly increase over the next few years – according to new research from Seniorcare by Lottie.

As an employer, you play an important role in helping your employees who are also caregivers – offering the right support and flexibility.

Research from Seniorcare by Lottie has found more employees than ever before are caring for an elderly loved one – whilst working full-time – leaving them at risk of mental health struggles and financial worry. Employers are also facing a crisis, with increased absenteeism at work.

Over the last 12 months, more workers turned to Google to find support for giving up employment to care for someone*:

  • 300% increase in online searches on Google for ‘giving up work to be a carer’
  • 200% increase in online searches on Google for ‘giving up work to care for someone’
  • 25% increase in online searches on Google for ‘carers in the workplace’ and ‘working carers’

Ronan Harvey-Kelly, Seniorcare Lead at Lottie, warns about the ongoing crisis facing caregiving employees:

“Employees who are juggling the additional demands of caregiving and full-time employment have turned to Google – as opposed to their employers – for support. Employees who also have caregiving duties outside of work are at a higher risk of mental health issues, including stress, burnout, and anxiety.

We’re currently facing a caregiver crisis, with many employees questioning whether they should give up work after a 300% increase in online searches. This is putting both employees and employers at risk, and it will only worsen.

According to previous research, one in seven carers in the UK is juggling work and care. Yet despite more people than ever before juggling caregiver responsibilities and employment, there’s still a huge number of misconceptions surrounding the needs of these employees and what they truly need from their employer.

We urgently need a sustainable and dedicated solution that ensures caregivers receive the care and support they need – without having to give up their job”, concludes Ronan Harvey-Kelly.

Here Ronan Harvey-Kelly, Seniorcare by Lottie Lead, Reveals the 4 Biggest Myths About Employee Caregivers That We Shouldn’t Believe

1. Caregiving isn’t talked about – so it isn’t a problem

Caregivers are often deterred from disclosing their caregiving responsibilities, which places great strain on their wellbeing at work, especially now as we face a cost-of-living crisis. More employees are resorting to using annual and sick leave, and sometimes unpaid leave – to look after their elderly relatives, as opposed to confiding in their manager.

Building a culture of support, empathy, and awareness of employees with elderly care responsibilities encourages your staff to be open and communicate about their struggles.

As a leader in your workplace, take the time to listen, understand and empathise with caregivers in your organisation. Ask questions in an open team meeting to hear how your employees feel and what support they need.

2. All caregivers are women

Previous research from the ONS has found that one in four older female workers, and one in eight older male workers, have caring responsibilities for an elderly relative. So, it isn’t a problem that only affects women – but the responsibility is more likely to fall on a woman.

Today, more and more parents are combining looking after young children with caring for older or disabled loved ones. This dual role – alongside a full-time job – can come at a cost, and caregivers are risking their mental health every day.

3. Employees are aware of the caregiver benefits available

Previous research from Carers UK found over three-quarters of working carers (77%) said that their employer was aware of their caring responsibilities, but 23% had not mentioned their caring responsibilities at work.

To help lessen the burden of caregiving’s impact on employees, you should explore and implement policies that support your team. For instance, by offering eldercare workplace support services, employers can positively impact their employees who provide care to loved ones, helping them be more effective in their professional and personal roles.

4. Caregivers in the workplace ask for what they need

In many ways, your caregiving workers have two jobs, so making their lives as easy as possible is important. However, caregiving stress is at an all-time high, so watch out for frustrated, anxious, or unproductive employees.

Knowledge is key, especially for workers who may be navigating complex issues tied to caregiving. Most importantly, you should raise awareness of any internal support you offer to caregivers, and encourage some members of your team to create an internal care committee.

Here you can share the help available: whatever it is, whether that’s through paid leave for caregiver duties, or flexible working options, make it as clear as possible for employees to find, so they don’t have to ask.

Seniorcare by Lottie can provide employers with additional support for caregivers in the workplace. Get in touch with the team today to find out how.