Capitol Correspondence - 01.19.19

Harvard Business School Finds U.S. Private Sector Has Caregiver Crisis

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ANCOR is sharing this report by the Harvard Business School (HBS) because it highlights the increasing pressures faced by caregivers due to the workplace not reflecting their needs – this is an issue that is particularly salient for people with disabilities and their families, and which is further compounded by the direct support professional workforce crisis. As written in the HBS report:

American companies are facing a caregiving crisis—they just refuse to acknowledge it. Rising health care and professional caregiving costs and changing demographics over the past few decades have put great pressure on American employees as they try to balance work and care responsibilities. Yet many employers remain largely oblivious to the growing costs of this hidden ‘care economy’— costs that hurt employers and employees alike.”

The report concludes with a call to action:

“Clearly, tackling the care crisis in America would benefit from policy interventions. However, businesses must avoid the temptation to delegate solutions to the federal or state governments. The stakes are too high for employers to await the type of broad-based mandates federal legislation is likely to yield. Smart employers will seize the opportunity to gain an advantage in the increasingly ferocious war to recruit and retain talent through a deliberate strategy to become a corporate care leader. Caring companies will pioneer innovative solutions for the needs of their workforce and create a badly needed set of new best practices. In turn, they will inspire other companies to follow in their path.

Already a coalition of 30 companies and nonprofits— called ReACT—is developing detailed expertise on care economics and mechanisms for calculating the return on care investments. In research conducted in partnership with AARP, ReACT reported that: ‘For every dollar invested in flextime, businesses can expect a return of between $1.70 and $4.34, and for every dollar invested in telecommuting, businesses can expect a return of between $2.46 and $4.45.


Companies will also do well to understand that managing the care crisis will require collaborating with and strengthening the ecosystem of care that already exists. AARP has done yeoman’s work highlighting the need for eldercare support for employees working in companies. The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) provides toolkits for a full spectrum of care issues from childcare and special care needs to chronic care needs and eldercare. Many others, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance, National Alliance for Caregiving, and the Alzheimer’s Association, are working on specific mandates to help alleviate the care needs of Americans.”