Leaders from business, health care, education and state government launched a new “Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition,” a collaboration that includes businesses from diverse industry sectors working with the state to assess and address the needs of unpaid family caregivers in Massachusetts. The group’s launch this week is marked by the release of a Massachusetts State of Care Report and Employer Toolkit, which highlight research and best practices for employers to support working family caregivers.
With more than 840,000 residents of the Commonwealth providing care to an adult over the age of 18 in the last 12 months1, it’s clear that the emotional, physical, and financial impacts associated with caregiving offer opportunities for public and private partners to think innovatively and differently about supporting our fellow caregivers. A recent study found that informal caregiving cost Massachusetts employers $982 Million in 2017. This leads to increased turnover, absenteeism, and presenteeism.
Those impacts are evident in Massachusetts, as shown in the Massachusetts State of Care Report released today. The Embracing Carers™ survey queried 420 family caregivers in Massachusetts and evidenced the significant self-care, health care, career and support needs, specifically:
- Self-Care: 68% of family caregivers surveyed in Massachusetts find it difficult to sleep on a regular basis.
- Healthcare: 58% of family caregivers surveyed in Massachusetts feel that their physical health has suffered due to their caregiving role.
- Career: 27% of family caregivers surveyed in Massachusetts feel their career has been negatively affected by their role as a caregiver (ages 26-34)
- Support: 84% of family caregivers surveyed in Massachusetts say it would be helpful if a friend, neighbor or family member was to offer them support in their caring role.
“The launch of this Coalition raises awareness about the importance of family caregivers to their families and the business community across the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, co-chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts. “The toolkit is one of the many practical efforts supported by the Governor’s Council to Address Aging to assist employers who want to support caregivers juggling their professional and caregiving responsibilities.”
“The State of Care Report provides strong evidence that caregivers in Massachusetts are stressed, which undermines the well-being of individuals, businesses and communities,” said Mark Butler, president of Cigna New England, and chair of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable’s ad hoc Business Innovation Group. “We know that caregivers often neglect their own physical and emotional needs, so we urge Massachusetts employers of all sizes to support the whole-person health of these heroes who make tremendous sacrifices every day to serve others.”
“EMD Serono is honored to be involved with this Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition. As a caregiver myself, I understand the importance of addressing the needs caregivers in the workplace and am proud that we are instituting supports at EMD Serono to address these needs via Embracing Carers™,” says Scott Williams Vice President and Head of Patient Advocacy at EMD Serono.
As part of taking that first step, the Coalition released the Massachusetts Employer Toolkit which includes resources and best practices for employers to help support their employees. The toolkit is designed to inspire employers to take small steps in supporting their workforce and includes brief employee questionnaires, state resources, and case studies, including how EMD Serono has invested in their workforce.
The Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition invites all employers in the Commonwealth to join the Coalition to acknowledge family caregiving as a critical workforce opportunity and support fellow employees with their caregiving responsibilities. To learn more about the Coalition, please visit http://www.maroundtable.com/caregiving.html.