Elder Care Pays Off For Everyone

When Linda Blossom leaves her office at Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, another job begins. She takes care of her 74-year old mother, who has been battling breast cancer for years, CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports.

"She acted a little stressed for a while and then all of a sudden, I didn't see the stress anymore," says her mother, Gladys Tulloch.

What changed? Blossom started attending monthly support group meetings at her office, where, on company time, she and other workers can vent and share tips about caring for mom and dad.

Blossom says it's made a "huge, huge" difference. "I've told people, it's all about people helping people," she says.

Mary Ann O'Connor, director of benefits for Freddie Mac, says it also protects the company's bottom line.


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  • "By offering something like this, it definitely helps Freddie Mac because they're coming to work and they're being productive and they can focus on the job at hand," O'Connor says.

    That's important, because companies lose a staggering $33 billion a year when employees miss work or quit to care for their loved ones. As the workforce ages and people live longer, those numbers are only going to go up.

    Johnny Taylor, who tracks workplace trends, says corporations that once were pressured to provide better child care are now going to have to provide better elder care.

    "Employees will begin to demand it because it will be such a strain on them personally and financially to provide for their elder parents and their grandparents and the like and they'll call for it," Taylor says. "It'll become a part of the new benefits package."

    Corporate America has a long way to go. According to a survey conducted by Taylor's group, Society for Human Resources Management, for CBS News, only about one in four companies offers any elder care benefits.

    McGraw-Hill allows workers to add mom or dad to their health plan. Prudential Financial offers legal help to prepare living wills for elderly parents. Blossom's company, Freddie Mac, provides emergency elder home care for which employees pay just $15 a day.

    What businesses get in return, according to Blossom, is not only greater productivity, but loyalty.

    "If they didn't understand it here, I wouldn't be here," she says.

    For this mother and daughter, that understanding means everything.

    "It's been a real blessing," Tulloch says. "I'm really very blessed."