Jan. 8 is the deadline to nominate a local employer for the Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Award.

The annual award is given by Caregivers Matter … Conejo Cares, a partnership between Senior Concerns, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce and the cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills.

Nominees should be local employers that demonstrate leadership by accommodating and recognizing family caregivers. Recipients will be announced Jan. 30.

Senior Concerns said in a news release that working caregivers are struggling.

“Caregivers, by their own self-admission, are feeling less productive as they juggle competing concerns,” said Andrea Gallagher, president of Senior Concerns. “On one hand, they are concerned about the person they are caring for and are trying to manage their loved ones’ often-complex needs. At the same time, they are dealing with their personal stress, trying to identify resources and finding it hard to ask for help.”

The news release cited a recent public-policy study noting that more than half of the nation’s unpaid caregivers are in the workforce, and 60 percent of those work full time.

Almost 66 million people nationally report being a caregiver for someone older than 50, the news release stated. Family caregivers provide 80 percent of the long-term care services in the United States, valued at $577 billion — or more than the total cost of Medicare. Those caring for loved ones are often thrust into unexpected roles that can be demanding, costly and stressful.

Nominations will be judged on the following criteria:

Celebration: Recognizing caregivers by raising awareness for their needs within the workplace, society and the family and celebrating them for their important role in the community.

Accommodation: Supporting caregivers by offering flexible hours, extended leave, suitable accommodations, caregiver education programs and other best-practice support policies or practices.

Innovation: Demonstrating creativity and innovation in the ways caregivers are supported and recognized, through the range and delivery of workplace accommodations, education programs, means of celebration and/or offering unique services through benefits such as caregiver support referral center or education resources.

Caregiver-friendly workplaces will be recognized at a half-day program and luncheon Jan. 30 honoring family caregivers who are caring for aging loved ones. It will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Los Robles Greens, 209 S. Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. Visit https://www.seniorconcerns.org or call 497-0189 for more information or to make a reservation. Admission is free. Reservations are required.

Nomination forms can be found at https://www.seniorconcerns.org or http://www.conejochamber.org/files/1472.pdf.


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