Torchlight Study finds U.S. Employees Facing Multitude of Expanding Caregiving Challenges

Torchlight’s first annual report, based on the data of over one million families, analyzes what family caregiving needs and concerns are potentially contributing to $38.2 billion in lost productivity costs to U.S. businesses annually

BOSTON, MA – November 12, 2018 — Torchlight, a leader in employer sponsored family caregiving benefits, today released its first annual proprietary report, “Modern Caregiving Challenges Facing U.S. Employees,” that identifies working caregivers’ most pressing needs and concerns across the entire age spectrum and their patterns of resolution for caregiving problems. The report – based on a sample of more than 18,000 of Torchlight’s users – analyzes data gathered over nearly three years from their real-time, caregiver decision-support platform. Currently, more than one million employees across all industries in the United States have access to Torchlight through their employer sponsored benefit program.

According to a Gallup-Healthways survey, over 20 percent of employees today are providing caregiving to family members.  These employees are spending approximately 29 hours a week on caregiving duties, resulting in 70 percent reporting work-related difficulties as a result of their dual roles. The impact to U.S. businesses is a loss of $38.2 billion annually, Ceridian’s report on caregiving and the workplace found.

“Our report is the first-of-its-kind in the caregiving employee benefits market, and we were able to draw upon years of data across our covered employee population of over one million. The goal of the study was to understand the specific issues causing stress and cost for American families around caregiving. We analyzed the demographics and details surrounding loved ones’ care, as well as the employees’ preferences for how to receive assistance.  Over our six years of experience, we have realized that today’s multi-generational workforce requires an approach that isn’t one-size-fits-all, ” said Adam Goldberg, M.Ed., founder and CEO for Torchlight.

“While caregiving has traditionally been defined as care for an aging loved one or child with a diagnosis or disability, our data shows that modern caregiving encompasses a wider range of care concerns and issues for the very busy American workforce.”

The study found that employees providing caregiving struggle with a variety of eldercare and adult care issues daily, including:

  • 60 percent of elderly family members have some type of medical or cognitive issues.
  • More than 50 percent have self-care issues, such as the ability to take medications appropriately or nourish, bathe or dress themselves.
  • 36 percent of employees are long distance caregivers which adds complex travel time, expense, childcare arrangements, and other considerations to their elder care situation.
  • 57 percent of elderly family members live independently but with other caregivers.
  • 88 percent care for a loved one who is “aging in place” and who may also have issues with finances, legal decisions, safety.
  • Over 40 percent of elderly family members have financial issue due to poor estate planning, ill-advised veteran assistance information, or misinformation around reverse mortgages, Medicare, Medicaid or social security resources and rights.
  • Nearly 20 percent of users have elder care legal issues to manage, such as hiring elder law attorneys, pursuing guardianship, or managing probate for their loved ones’ estates.

Caregiving Challenges for Parents and Eldercare

The report’s data also underscores that employees struggle with a variety of diagnoses and daily issues around their children:

  • 85 percent of users report that their child does not have a diagnosis or disability; yet they still report their top parenting concerns to be attention (38.7 percent), learning (31.5 percent), and behavior (31.1 percent).
  • The top three reported diagnoses are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at 21 percent, autism spectrum disorder (15 percent) and anxiety (11 percent).
  • 66 percent of parents with children in grades 1 through 12 are concerned with supporting the success of their children especially in with complex parenting challenges like managing screen time, social media use or gaming addictions; supporting self-esteem; and providing support for kids who identify as LGBTQ+.
  • 22 percent of children are diagnosed with other highly nuanced situations which require specialized and localized expertise to provide assistance.
  • Of the children diagnosed with a specific issue, 40 percent have a formal plan for receiving services while the other 60 percent do not have a formal plan.
  • 35 percent of parents are concerned with their children’s friendships and social skills, especially in the digital age and with complexities around bullying, cyberbullying.
  • Over 25 percent of parents reported concerns with their children’s behavior, depression and anxiety, and how to solve acting in or acting out or substance abuse.

The report also reveals that working caregivers today fall into three distinct personas related to how they want assistance:

  • 78 percent prefer to have help initially, but then navigate to resolution independently.
  • 11 percent prefer full time assistance from start to finish in their caregiving journey.
  • 11 percent want to manage their caregiving process entirely on their own.

“Just as companies have embraced child-care services and paid leave to care for sick family members, increasing support for aging parents and reducing the strain of non-traditional caregiving needs of the multi-generation workforce (many of whom are managers, directors and executives) are becoming higher priorities,” said Chris Chan, Lead Innovation Imagineer at Mercer Labs.

“Ultimately, caregiving demands contribute to lost productivity costs to U.S. businesses upwards of $38.2 billion per year, and includes employee replacement, absenteeism, health issues, workday distractions, supervisory time and reductions in hours. These are just a few of today’s realities that are impacting today’s workforce. Companies are increasingly turning to innovations in family-friendly benefits design to provide caregiving support as they aim to be employers-of-choice.”

The full, detailed report can be found here:

About Torchlight

Torchlight is the only caregiver-support program for employers and health plans that provides real-time access to the strategies and solutions modern caregivers need most. With Torchlight, employers have a results-driven model for managing family caregiving — a $38.2 billion challenge in the U.S. alone — so that they can be both compassionate and competitive in the competitive labor market. Based in Boston, the company was founded by caregiving pioneer Adam Goldberg, M.Ed. For more information, contact sales (at) torchlight (dot) care, phone 844-693-3477, or visit