The Growing Costs of Caregiver Burnout (And What to Do About It)

As the demands on working caregivers continue to grow amidst unrelenting pressures, their struggles have now come to the forefront. Recent studies reveal that a staggering 67% of employees now cite caregiving responsibilities as the primary driver of their stress. Over a third of caregivers have left jobs that did not provide the flexible support and understanding needed to manage their dual roles. And rates of depression among caregivers have nearly doubled general population levels, shining a light on the serious mental health toll of unchecked strains. 

Caregiving employees are struggling, and it’s having an impact on your business. Unfortunately, these challenges are likely happening under the radar, and it is easy to believe that employees are okay. Yet, a study by Willis Towers Watson shows that two-thirds of employers identified caregiving demands as the top cause of mental health concerns among their employees. Caregivers, anyone who is at least partially responsible for the health, safety, or wellbeing of a loved one, can cost their employers $3,200 – $8,000 each per year in absenteeism, health care costs, and lost productivity. Statistically, 30% of your employees are caregivers, so think about the multiplier effect of this cost to the business every year. 

Quantifying the hidden costs of caregiver stress 

Increased employee healthcare costs

Caregiving stress is taking its toll on caregivers’ mental and physical wellbeing. In the U.S., employers spend an extra $13.4 billion on health care because caregivers have less time to devote to their own mental and physical health needs, their relationships, or their careers. 

Absenteeism and presenteeism  

Caregiving employees must make a choice daily when dealing with a crisis or when a planned respite or care falls through—go to work or take care of a loved one. Extra leave and the use of paid time off are ways that many employers provide support at this tough time. Yet, even with that generous flexibility, caregiving can drain an employee’s productivity in the office. Almost half of caregiving employees arrive at work late, leave early, or take time off, and 15% take a leave of absence. In the aggregate, absenteeism costs the U.S. economy an estimated $25.2 billion in lost productivity 

Higher rates of turnover 

Six percent of workers give up their jobs because of the burdens of caregiving. SHRM research indicates that replacement costs can be as high as 50%-60%, with overall costs ranging anywhere from 90%-200%. Businesses in the U.S. are losing $1 trillion a year in voluntary turnover. And losing a valued employee is more than just replacement costs—it can be disruptive to the workplace.  A caregiving platform can help limit absenteeism and turnover by providing faster access to resources and to preventative care that can help avert crises. 

Lost productivity 

Employee productivity is a challenge that hides in plain sight, as employees don’t tend to know fully how their caregiving responsibilities impact their productivity or be open about it if they do. Caregiving has been shown to reduce employee work productivity by 18.5%. One study showed a loss of productivity in several caregiver scenarios: 

  • $5,243 annual lost productivity per caregiver of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease patient 
  • 36% loss of productivity while working with employed family caregivers of people with dementia 
  • $835, monthly lost productivity of caregivers of stroke patients, 72% attributable to presenteeism 

Comprehensive caregiver platforms, like Torchlight Parenting and Caregiving, a product of LifeSpeak Inc., are designed to overcome this unique and dire need among your employees, combining a robust digital resource and one-to-one human support. Even though your employees may be struggling in private, their caregiving responsibilities impact their work and need to be actively addressed. Investment in a caregiving platform pays dividends in terms of employee retention, increased productivity, and reduced healthcare costs. 

Let us show you how Torchlight can help your employees

Caregivers need to be supported – whether it’s a crisis or just the day-to-day demands of this unpaid job. Having a caregiver-specific platform like Torchlight Parenting and Caregiving can help reverse the trend. Contact us for a demo today