'Additional informal care must be higher on the agenda for employers'
Due to the gigantic wave of aging, more and more people need help to continue living at home. A large part of that responsibility lies with their loved ones: think of children, friends and neighbors. They do this with love, even when there is already a lot on their plate. Sometimes it can help to get support with informal care. In these cases, Senior Service has been a loyal partner for more than five years De Unie. Founder Floris Vervat: 'Our services are an excellent fit for many members of De Unie. Moreover, our organizations fit together well: there is a match personally, but also in terms of views.'
Origin of Senior Service
Floris' grandfather and grandmother still lived in their own Rotterdam apartment in 2006. 'They would prefer to continue living there, but at a certain point that was no longer possible without help and family members could not visit enough. Home care only required medical necessity - there was none - voluntary organizations could not provide the right help and private support was too expensive. I thought: there has to be a solution for this. And that is exactly the idea behind Senior Service.'
Broad informal care support
Floris explains the three levels of Senior Service services: informing, supporting, caring. 'In principle, we start by advising informal caregivers. We answer questions, point out useful arrangements and provide tips for a conversation with their employer. The next step is that we do things ourselves with or for their loved one. Cooking, shopping, going for a walk. I often say: we do everything that you as a son, daughter or neighbor can do for someone. Finally, we offer real care within the Long-Term Care Act (Wlz), via a care office. This way we can be there for informal caregivers in different phases of the care process.'
Additional service from De Unie
More than five years ago, Senior Service came into contact with De Unie. 'They then wondered: what extra can we offer our members towards the end of their working lives? That is exactly the phase when many people are given informal care tasks. Well, we were able to help with that. We have agreed that as a member of De Unie receive a free membership to Senior Service, which they can use for themselves, children or parents. For De Unie a great way to provide additional support to members, and we can reach a lot of additional informal caregivers with our message. So win-win. Or win-win-win, actually: ultimately, Union members in particular benefit from our cooperation!'
More attention to informal care support: from employers…
"Did you know that 18 percent of absenteeism in the Netherlands is due to informal care?" asks Floris. It illustrates the impact of family care on working people in the Netherlands. 'Then it is striking that employers pay little attention to preventing informal care absence. We are committed to increasing awareness and prevention. By only sitting around the table with employers and healthcare organizations. But we also work together in this mission De Unie: for example, we visit VNO-NCW together for a presentation and inform the representatives about the subject, so that they can make adequate agreements at the collective labor agreement negotiating table. Ultimately, this is also in the interest of organizations. An employee who drops out costs them so much more than the preventive measures they can take.'
...and (future) informal caregivers
'But actually informal care should be more on everyone's radar, not just employers,' Floris continues. 'One of the greatest dangers is that heavy care responsibility creeps in. You start with a weekly visit, visit a little more often, travel to the doctor during working hours and before you know it, you are drowning in informal care tasks. My appeal: be vigilant. Take care of yourself and get help in time - you now know where to find it. And also remember: from a financial perspective, more is often possible than you think, for example through a scheme. Or via additional health insurance, so pay attention to that if you switch in the near future.'
Do you have questions about Senior Service? Check the member benefits page or contact our Service Center. We can be reached every working day from 8.30:17.00 AM to XNUMX:XNUMX PM via email@example.com and 0345 851 963.