Caregiving is more than money.
Did you know that 18% of caregivers live below the poverty line? This statistic, fortunately, is within your control. When people live beneath the poverty line, all facets of their lives are affected, from mental health to longevity.
If you can raise your billing rates, this could help offset a pay increase for your caregivers. We understand that it’s not easy to make such changes and challenges may stand in the way. But they are necessary changes that will play a significant role in attracting and retaining caregivers.
Here’s what one of the caregivers who were surveyed said about pay: “I would like for them to offer bonuses that reflect my hard work.” Caregiving is demanding and requires a lot of effort and skills from each caregiver. For those that put in the hard work and effort their pay and incentives should reflect that initiative.
We hosted a recent webinar on the Top Ten Reasons Caregivers Are Leaving; you can access the replay here. A good rule of thumb is to pay caregivers in (or above) the 75th percentile of your geographic location. Pay isn’t the primary reason caregivers leave an agency, but it is one of the top factors.
Combining the low wages and unstable nature of home care scheduling creates financial and emotional chaos for caregivers. If you can pay them livable wages and in tandem with stable scheduling, these changes can help them de-stress.
Or, if you can’t raise your wages, at least guaranteeing them a certain hourly amount each week can help them plan their finances better. For example, if a caregiver needs to call out sick, their check would be significantly shorter than usual.
There are many expenses that caregivers absorb that you might not have considered before. According to a 2013 study from the Foundation for Hospice and Home Care, caregivers for older adults in the United States drove a total of 7.88 billion miles. In context, this means that caregivers drive approximately 11 miles per shift. This could mean one shift in a day or three visits in a day if they are shorter shifts, etc.
What other costs do caregivers take on? The emotional costs. They work with clients living with a variety of conditions, some of whom may pass away in their care. Caregivers don’t always have ample access to grief management and bereavement support which may preclude them from providing exceptional care to other clients. Financial stress can also affect a caregiver’s health.
Support your caregivers by offering them financial and other support to make their employment more enjoyable and sustainable. You can start by asking them how you can help.