Benefits for an aging workforce

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The aging population makes it ever more important to retain experienced workers, and benefits are a tried and true tool for retention. But what do older workers want, and how can you make sure you’re providing the right kinds of benefits?

“We’re seeing older workers seeking out different types of benefits, not just the traditional dental and drug plans,” Green Shield director of product development and marketing Karen Kesteris said. “They’re looking at financial planning, elder care, requests for health navigation benefits. Many are now caught in between with kids still at home and also caring for elderly parents.”

These employees need help finding resources and helping navigate the healthcare system if they or their dependents get sick. Many benefit organizations are using EAP systems to go beyond the traditional counselling and support role to helping employees find childcare, elder care and even legal and financial advice.

“It’s all about consumerism, employees need to become far more empowered,” Kesteris said. “They’ve got to be knowledgeable. Benefits are given to them by the employer, but how to use them and how to get the most out of them really depends on how well educated the employee is.”

Preventative care is vital, as it can help prevent future more serious issues. There was also going to be an increase in chronic health problems such as hypertension and high cholesterol, PDF Financial Group managing director Peter Demangos told HRM.

“This will likely cause HR Managers to develop an increased focus on drug management within their benefits program and a stronger need for strategic alternatives to mitigate rising drug costs,” Demangos said. “With potentially four generations now working within the same organization, developing a program that will please everyone will become even more challenging for HR Managers. As a result, we may expect to see more use of health care spending accounts to provide the necessary flexibility.”

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