About 60% of American family caregivers are employed. Of those who are employed, 66% have had to make some adjustments to their work life — from arriving late to work, to giving up work entirely — and 20% have had to take a leave of absence. Care-giving takes a physical, mental and emotional toll on the caregiver, so with such a large percentage of people caring for their loved ones, corporate America also has taken a hit: Businesses lose about $34 billion annually as a result of employees care-giving for family members age 50 or older and corporations also pay 8% more in health care costs, worth $13.4 billion per year, as a result of employees care-giving for elderly individuals.
Well, yes and no. Employers who want to make sure their employees are leading healthy, productive lives both in and out of the office have long encouraged annual physicals in addition to full participation in company wellness programs and regular immunizations. And an annual physical is absolutely a great way to ensure employees are being screened for easily treatable diseases and generally staying on top of their health.
When I stop and think about employee wellness, I have to step away from my day to day responsibilities and take a look from the employer perspective. I think it’s a no-brainier to install a wellness program at every company, no matter the size, demographic, location or what service or product the company provides. My belief is that no company can be successful without paying attention to the well-being of their people — and people can’t be successful without feeling good every day.
For years, Barb Kildow, 55, wanted to lose 10 to 15 pounds. But she never got motivated to eat healthier or exercise regularly even though her employer has an on-site fitness center.