As we approach the end of this year and look toward the next, here’s what hits home for me: 2023 was a year that changed the caregiving landscape.
It may be tempting to say that about every year, especially coming out of the harshest days of the COVID-19 pandemic — years that upended the way many of us think about care and how we balance caregiving on top of work and other life responsibilities.
But 2023 was historic: not only because it required agility and tenacity in the face of turbulent economic times, but it exposed even further the depth of the care crisis.
For 2023, one phrase comes to mind: love over logistics. Families and employees made it known that they are craving more support to care for their loved ones, and need help tackling the overwhelming logistical and administrative tasks associated with caregiving.
The need for more support
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that families are asking for more support. New data and research this year showed us the state of today’s care landscape:
- More than 37 million people are providing unpaid eldercare to a loved one, and they are spending at least four hours a day on top of their jobs doing so;
- Approximately 66% of self-reported caregivers are Millennials — a figure that’s nearly double what data showed in 2020;
- Caregiving is now the second biggest reason behind retirement for why people leave the workforce, and more than 20% of all workplace leaves of absence are related to caregiving for loved ones;
- Families are spending more than ever as they absorb caregiving responsibilities for loved ones — upwards of $7,000 USD per year on caregiving expenses. At the same time, 25% of family caregivers have less than $1,000 in savings.
These numbers paint an urgent picture. But they also provide a backdrop for a caregiving ecosystem that is making real progress and providing tangible solutions to families. And this ecosystem saw some big wins in 2023.
A monumental year for Wellthy and the category of caregiving
From the first-ever White House Executive Orders commemorating and pledging support to family caregivers, to employers celebrated and honored for the ways they support their working caregivers, the spotlight shined on caregiving this year that will have profound impact for many years to come. In so many ways, 2023 has been the year where the entire category surrounding caregiving broke open and unleashed unprecedented momentum.
We certainly felt this momentum at Wellthy. Looking back on 2023, there were some major milestones that reshaped and expanded our work to support family caregivers.
Teen Support and End of Life offerings: Wellthy’s fundamental mission and commitment is to support families with care needs across all phases of life — from ‘birth to bereavement’ as the saying goes. This year, we deepened that commitment by launching two new service lines.
“Teen Support” focuses on supporting families with world-class expertise, technology, and educational resources to help parents navigate the unique complexities of raising a teenager in today’s day and age; and “End of Life and Loss” formalizes what Wellthy’s Care Team has done for years in helping families with the financial, emotional, and administrative tasks and challenges that come with saying goodbye to a loved one. Wellthy even acquired the end-of-life planning startup Lantern to continue to build out the tools, expertise, and resources we can provide during one of the most challenging times we face as humans.
Care Planning: Our friends at Voya Financial said this better than anyone else this year: “There’s a lack of planning around caregiving. It’s a huge issue, whether it’s for ourselves, our children or aging parents."
That’s one of the reasons why we launched our Care Planning solution this year — a digital experience designed by a team of Wellthy caregiving experts that reduces the time, stress, and financial strain of future caregiving responsibilities. Rather than waiting until a crisis emerges, Care Planning empowers families to stay organized, plan ahead, and feel ready to provide the quality of care their loved ones deserve.
New heights, reach, and impact: Beyond new features and experiences, 2023 stands out as a critical year at Wellthy for not just delivering impact — but having that impact felt, seen, and heard with families, workplaces, insurance carriers and health plans, and more broadly in culture. A few wins we’re celebrating as 2023 comes to a close:
- Some of the highest NPS (net promoter score) numbers in our company’s history, as more and more families have access to Wellthy’s world-class team of Care Coordinators. This year we reached a benchmark of 2 million lives having access to Wellthy through their employer or health plan;
- National media covering the impact of Wellthy and our work to support family caregivers, such as Bloomberg, TIME Magazine, the New York Stock Exchange, The Hustle, Employee Benefit News, and Forbes — all while receiving 11 national or regional awards for excellence, including being named one of Fast Company’s “10 Most Innovative Workplace Companies,” making the Inc. 5000 for the first time, being selected as one of Deloitte’s Fast 500, and being named a “Well-Being Trailblazer of the Year” by WELCOA;
- We’re now partnering with more than 160 companies to support their working caregivers — but we’re also seeing those companies celebrated on the world stage for prioritizing their caregiving employees;
- Seeing even more investors and leaders come forward and support innovation in the digital health and caregiving space — helping Wellthy bring in an additional $25 million in investment as we work to touch the lives of as many family caregivers as possible.
A look ahead to 2024 and beyond
So much of what we’ve accomplished and what’s played out in 2023 is setting the stage and building the foundation for a 2024 that will truly change the game for caregivers. We’re bullish on this: while the broader market and economic climate may be unpredictable, what remains a certainty is that caregiving concierge support returns the biggest bang for the benefit buck.
What’s top of mind for us at Wellthy as we look to 2024 and beyond?
- The ROI of caregiving benefits will become even more in-focus — not just for big or jumbo-sized employers, but for smaller-to-mid-sized employers as well. Did you know that five of the top 10 “Greatest Places to Work in the World” — the annual list from Fortune and Great Places to Work — all partner with Wellthy to support their caregiving employees? That’s something we’re so proud of at Wellthy. Beyond these big employers, however, there’s also an incredible network of smaller-to-mid-sized teams that are driving innovation and making caregiving concierge services part of their benefits plans. We’re going to see this wave continue, and that’s particularly special because (as is often the case in business) truly groundbreaking innovation starts at a smaller level and bubbles up to transform the entire sector.
- Disruption won’t be something to fear, but something to be embraced. Companies perform their best not when they run away from change and disruption, but when they embrace it and lean into accelerating change.’ This is a philosophy we bring forward each and every day at Wellthy, as we crave new ways of working, additional offerings, and expanded breadth and depth of our work to help families. Whether that’s responding to the massive number of families who say they aren’t getting the support they need to balance work on top of childcare, or responding to employees who say they are craving more care infrastructure.
- The future of elevating the leave of absence experience for millions of employees is care concierge. Generational transitions in today’s workforce are making leaves of absence more common than ever. Millennials and Gen Z are balancing jobs while caring for kids, themselves, and aging loved ones; Gen X are navigating careers and juggling care for teens and aging parents, all while entering their 50s and 60s; and Baby Boomers are staying in the workforce longer as life expectancies increase, and as financial, health, and social factors impact their lives. As rising numbers of people experience complex care, many employees find themselves in a situation where they may need to take a leave of absence. And as we look to expand the definition and scope of our own care concierge, we see Wellthy as a critical tool in giving employees the copilot they need before, during, and after a leave.
- Health plans are increasingly seeing the value and importance in supporting both care recipients and caregivers. Caregivers aren’t just the frontlines of care; they’re the bedrock of care support within every household and family. And they deserve to have a seat at the table within care delivery. This is something health carriers are seeing in major ways, opening up the doors for solutions like Wellthy to make a massive difference in the lives of families when it comes to dementia caregiver support, companion care to support the family circle, and sourcing in-home support services that can keep families healthier, improve the quality of care and satisfaction of plan members, and keep costs down.
We obviously have so much more room to create and build a category for caregiving — one that disrupts healthcare as we know it, and one that reshapes the very definition of what it means to be a caregiver.
But if 2023 was any indication, the promise of 2024 shows a real roadmap for what it will take to meet the diverse needs of families, and provide them with the care infrastructure they need to thrive.
Our guiding lights here at Wellthy are expansion, excellence, and inclusion. These are principles we use internally to ground and center teams on the most important work they can do toward achieving our mission. But they are also anchors that, externally, underscore the agility, responsiveness, creativity, and spirit needed to not just approach big problems like today’s care crisis — but to tackle them and solve them for millions of families around the world.
Here’s to a 2024 where we make immeasurable progress toward that vision.