Fallon Health to host Lowell conference on the impact of family caregiving 

Event will include release of new statewide employer survey on impact of family caregiving

Worcester, Mass., April 30, 2018 — The state’s elder affairs secretary and a national family caregiving expert will join local health care leaders in Lowell this week to discuss family caregiving, its impacts on employers, communities and caregivers themselves, and what society can do to support those who care for their aging parents.  “The Costs of Caregiving” will take place from 7 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, May 4, at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. 

The event will include the release of a statewide survey commissioned by Fallon Health on the impact of caregiving on Massachusetts employers. The survey found an upward trend in both the impact of caregiving on employees and the use of extended family leave.  Specifically, the survey found that:

  • Thirty-two percent of large (over 100) companies placed caregiver stress in their top five Human Resources issues.
  • Thirty-six percent of all employers said the “caregiver effect” on employee performance increased over the past three years. This trend was even more pronounced (55 percent) among large companies.
  • Thirty-seven percent reported that the use of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act increased during the same period. The federal statute mandates that employers with 50 or more employees offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • On average, respondents said caregiver responsibilities began to surface for employees when they approached 50.

“As our population continues to age, we will increasingly need to rely on new care models that provide high-quality care to seniors while offering support and peace of mind to their family caregivers,” said Richard Burke, President and CEO of Fallon Health.  “With our organization’s focus on supporting seniors and their families, we are eager to convene this discussion about the future of senior care.”  Fallon Health operates several senior care programs, including Summit ElderCare® and NaviCare®, which provide all-inclusive, coordinated and patient-centered senior care designed to both engage and relieve family caregivers.

The event’s keynote address will be delivered by C. Grace Whiting, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving. It will be followed by a panel discussion among Alice Bonner, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs; Melissa Donegan, Assistant Director of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence at Elder Services of Merrimack Valley; Dr. Gerald Gleich, Medical Director of both NaviCare Clinical Services at Fallon Health and the St. Mary Health Center, as well Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; Naomi Prendergast, President and CEO of the D’Youville Life and Wellness Community; and Jennifer Shuart, Director of Behavioral Health of the Metta Health Center at the Lowell Community Health Center.

“Often, families find themselves suddenly thrust into situations in which they are no longer able to care for an aging parent, and not knowing where to turn for helpful information and resources,” said Prendergast.  “The importance of this forum is that it will help provide those families, and others who make policy decisions that affect them, with an understanding of what the impacts of caregiving are and what can and should be done to help them.”

The conference schedule is as follows:
7:00–8:00 a.m. -- Registration, networking and breakfast
8:00–9:30 a.m. -- Welcome and keynote address
10:00–11:30 a.m. -- Panel discussion

Carrie Wattu

About Fallon Health

Founded in 1977, Fallon Health is a leading health care services organization that supports the diverse and changing needs of those we serve. In addition to offering innovative health insurance solutions and a variety of Medicaid and Medicare products, we excel in creating unique health care programs and services that provide coordinated, integrated care for seniors and individuals with complex health needs. Fallon has been consistently rated among the nation’s top health plans by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.