The Office of Faculty Development (OFD) has launched a new website of resources for faculty caregivers. The curated resources are designed to support faculty as they navigate working from home while caring for young or elderly family members, supporting children in remote learning, outsourcing care or choosing to prioritize care.
Michelle Budig, vice provost for faculty development, developed the resources with the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment’s (OAPA) recent COVID-19 disruption survey in mind. “We know from data collected by OAPA in May 2020 that the majority (60%) of UMass Amherst faculty have children in their home,” says Budig. “Relatedly, 40% of UMass faculty report the most common challenge in working remotely is balancing family, household and work responsibilities. Most faculty -- 50% of men and 63% of women -- report that the lack of childcare and school closures negatively impact their ability to work.” According to a Catalyst study, these challenges for working caregivers echo those across the country.
Faculty caring for older parents or relatives have also encountered additional challenges during the current pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the United States. With seniors at greater risk from COVID 19, and with approximately 40% of U.S. coronavirus deaths connected to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, many families have grappled with difficult decisions about eldercare, including opting to provide caregiving from home.
Budig hopes the resources will provide some guidance and options for faculty caregivers. “While we work to improve conditions for caregivers on our campus, we hope that these resources will support individual pathways through these trying times,” she says.
Feedback and recommendations for the Caregiver Resources can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.