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Eldercare Initiative kicks off National Work and Family Month
By Norma Juarbe Franceschini
From Brief, September 21, 2005
We all know a day has 24 hours. But to accomplish all your tasks, you may need a 30-hour day. A thousand scenarios stretch schedules and add stress to our daily lives--a daycare provider is unavailable, an elder-care crisis occurs, the basement floods, or a school closes unexpectedly. For many, the conflicting demands between work and family can be overwhelming.
How big is the caregiving issue? According to Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors (DARTS), a national model program, it's enormous.
- In the average workplace, 15 percent of employees are family caregivers. Where the workforce is older than average or predominately female, it may bolt to 25-50 percent.
- 80 percent of all care given to older people is done by family caregivers.
- 14.4 million Americans juggle jobs and caregiving responsibilities.
- 22.4 million households provide care to an older adult...that's one of every four households.
- What's the price tag? From $11 to $29 billion annually in employee absenteeism, tardiness, and lost productivity.
Addressing this reality is the goal of Eldercare Initiative 2006. It's an eight-month series for employees that begins October 4, the U's official launch for National Work and Family Month.
All sessions will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in 215 Donhowe, Twin Cities campus. They will be offered by ITV at other U campuses.
Be sure to register because space is limited!
* Family Caregiving Strategies: Tuesday, Oct. 4
* Financial and Legal Issues: Thursday, Nov. 17
* Critical Conversations: Thursday, Dec. 15
* Dementia and Memory Loss: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006
* Housing Decisions: Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2006
* Cooperative Caregiving: Thursday, Apr. 6, 2006
* Community Resources: Tuesday, May 16
For a complete schedule, go to the WorkLife Effectiveness Program.
See also Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors (DARTS).
The seven sessions are designed to help University employees identify critical resources for the caregiving of parents or elder family members. The DARTS Workplace Eldercare Seminars equip caregiving employees with the resources, strategies, and insights to stay balanced. All sessions will be presented on the Twin Cities campus by Lynn Cibuzar, a licensed social worker for DARTS. They will also be available on interactive television to designated coordinate campuses.
Why National Work and Family Month?In recent years, the issue of work-life balance has become a public concern on the national level. Pressures on employees to meet increasing demands at home and at work can directly impact employers. Rising absenteeism, increasing health care costs, and higher rates of employee turnover ultimately result in lower productivity, lower employee morale, and decreasing company profits. That's why the U.S. Senate voted unanimously in 2003 to declare October National Work and Family Month.
The University of Minnesota strives to create a supportive workplace where employees can successfully combine work, famiy, and community responsibilities, says President Robert Bruininks.
The U and the Office of Human Resources WorkLife Effectiveness Program will celebrate the month with a whole slate of diverse programs for faculty and staff. Workshops will cover a broad range of topics including elder care, parenting, work-life balance, job stress and burnout, career development, supervisory training, health and wellness, and owning your own home. For a complete list of the workshops and activities planned for the month, go to the WorkLife Effectiveness Program Web site.
Registration is required for some courses, and space is limited.
In addition to October's celebration, the WorkLife Effectiveness Program provides employees with services to help achieve a better integration of their work and personal responsibilities. Services available to faculty and staff include child care and elder care resource and referral, information on managing finances, and creating work-life balance. Private and confidential consultations are also available on issues such as flexible academic careers, family-oriented policies, or flexible work arrangements. In addition, on-site seminars and workshops are available to departments and work units.
Norma Juarbe Franceschini is the coordinator of the University's WorkLife Effectiveness Program.
The WorkLife Effectiveness Program is a systemwide effort to support faculty and staff in managing their work, family, and personal responsibilities. The program is designed to:
- connect faculty, staff, and students with work- and life-related programs and services available on campus and/or in the outreach community
- create resources and coordinate delivery of services to assist University employees in integrating their work and personal lives
- consult with University leadership to develop and assess worklife policies and promote changes that enhance the work environment
- develop and integrate new worklife programs to serve the University community
- promote and facilitate research on worklife issues