By Gregory Johnson, Senior Advisor for Family Caregiving; Office of the CEO
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor and reflect on the often forgotten or silent patients: caregivers. Research shows that the burdens of being an unpaid family caregiver increase the risk for physical and emotional problems. That’s why EmblemHealth has a long tradition of service for these individuals who play a vital role in health care, but whose needs are largely ignored by the health care system.
In the U.S. alone, there are more than 65.7 million family caregivers, amounting to nearly one in every three Americans. While caregivers are often relatives, they may also be friends, neighbors, support group members or life partners. Recently, new studies suggest that the value of the care for the aging provided by family caregivers translates to an annual contribution of $522 billion dollars and more than 30 billion hours a year. Frankly, without family caregivers we would not have a functioning health care system.
EmblemHealth is the founder of the New York City Partnership for Family Caregiving Corps (NYCP4FC Corps), a group that provides a platform for synergy between government, nonprofit organizations and business in response to the growing number of employees who are family caregivers. Family caregiving directly affects corporate earnings and it is a challenge for employers, affecting productivity, retention and a company’s bottom line — but there is help.
NYCP4FC’s Corporate Leadership Council serves as an informal vehicle for interested and committed corporate partners. It was created to bring positive action and solutions for family caregivers in the corporate workplace. The group’s goal is to develop a set of guiding principles to help corporations build a culture that is sensitive to family caregiving issues experienced by employees. The council is working to increase the importance of being classified as a Responsible Family Caregiver Friendly Corporation amongst leading members of the business community.
EmblemHealth is committed to helping family caregivers access the information and support they need. What makes this caregiver program unique is that it serves plan members and non-members alike. As life expectancies rise and medical treatments advance, more and more of us will participate in the family caregiving process, a trend that could see expansion of both the program’s curriculum and outreach area. EmblemHealth remains committed to supporting caregivers in our community and to the growth of the Care for the Family Caregiver initiative.
As always to all family caregivers, thank you.
To learn more about EmblemHealth’s Care for the Family Caregiver initiative, please visit: