Last year Cyndi Lee, a senior customer management and technology representative at Freddie Mac, a major mortgage reseller based in McLean, Va., got a call that made her feel like she'd been in "a train wreck." Her husband's grandfather had lost his home in Texas.
"He came and lived with us for a few months," Lee continues, but during that time he needed more care than she and her husband felt able to provide. Both work full time and have two young children.
Lee then realized that her employer could help.
Freddie Mac has a backup elder care benefit that Lee used to provide a bridge to a more permanent care arrangement for her husband's grandfather. Through Bright Horizons, a Watertown, Mass., company known for providing worksite child care, Freddie Mac offers employees up to 20 days of backup elder care per year at a charge of $15 a day to the employee.
The grandfather, 83 and manifesting early signs of Alzheimer's disease, received nearly three weeks of in-home nursing care before new living arrangements were made for him.
"He was receiving good care," Lee says. "And I didn't have to go through all the red tape to get this benefit." Having access to backup elder care reduced stress, enabled her to avoid missing work and saved an estimated $3,000 in care during the time she used the benefit, she reports.
A Clear and Growing Need
More workers will see sudden needs for backup elder care as the country's population ages and its employment demographics change.
More than 44 million Americans provide care for adults, generally family members, and more than half of all caregivers are employed, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), a Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit …