Just as your aging baby-boomer employees seem to be struggling less with child care, along comes the next significant work/family conundrum: elder care. The good news is that there are now several companies that offer resource-and-referral services specifically for elder-care issues. The three companies cited here can make nationwide referrals:

· The Partnership Group (215-643-8383) offers a 24-hour hot line staffed by consultants who assess each case, make referrals to appropriate nursing-home facilities, offer advice on home-care options, and send out newsletters and audiotapes. The service costs between 80¢ and $2 per employee per month (based on the total number of employees).

· TeleCare Network (800-972-3851) provides access to more than 250 organizations that deal with a number of elder-care issues, such as coping with long-term illness, in-home and nursing-home care, and Medicaid reimbursement. Its rates range from $1 to $10 per month per employee, depending on the size of your group.

· ElderCare Help Line (800-25-ELDER) puts you in touch with community resources; provides information about government programs such as Medicaid; and also helps callers resolve insurance, legal, and financial issues. Calls to its line are toll-free; the counseling, which employees pay for with a major credit card, costs $1.65 a minute. (Companies can subsidize the calls if they like -- there's no other charge for the service.)

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