Serving as a caregiver for an elderly loved one, like a parent, is time-consuming. And when you have a job, like 60% of all family caregivers do, it’s hard to find enough hours in the day. If you’re assisting a parent with transportation, paying bills, their doctor’s appointments, cooking, cleaning, and more, burning the candle at both ends can eventually take a toll on your health and wellbeing. And at that point, separating work from caregiving becomes nearly impossible. You really like your job and don’t want to lose it, but you also love your mom or dad and want them to stay at home. What should you do, especially if their condition worsens? There are several proven ways to balance caregiving with a job. Here are a few of the better ones.
Speak with Your Employer About Your Caregiving and Work Balance
First, schedule a meeting with your supervisor or HR representative. Share honestly with them the challenges you’re facing, and that you want to continue being a valued employee. In most cases, they’ll understand and will try to assist you.
Discuss with them company policies related to caregiving found in your employee handbook, including any employee assistance programs. In addition, here are some other ways to balance work and caregiving that you can explore:
- Designate a co-worker to cover for you. Establish a backup plan where a trusted co-worker or two can step in and cover for you if needed.
- Change your work hours. If you work at a job where flex scheduling is possible, ask if you can come in during the evenings if most of your caregiving is done earlier in the day.
- Ask about telecommuting. Can you do much of your job remotely? If so, check with your employer about doing some of your tasks from your, or your loved one’s, home.
- Look into taking a leave. Find out what your company’s policy is on taking a leave of absence to assist a family member. Under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to take off up to 12 weeks every year without pay while keeping your job. There are certain requirements that must be met, so check into those first before requesting time off.
Seek Caregiving Assistance
In addition to discussing the situation with your employer, it’s wise to recruit some extra pairs of hands to help out with the caregiving. Start with your siblings by organizing a caregiving calendar with each of you sharing the workload in a given week.
You might focus on cleaning and bill paying, while a sibling chips in with transportation and meal assistance. Other resources to consider that are available in most communities include senior transportation, meal services, and adult daycare. Another option you have is hiring a professional in-home caregiver to give you a break.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s vitally important when you’re trying to balance a career with caregiving to take care of your own health and wellbeing. If you get burned out, you’ll be no good to your employer, family, or the one receiving your care. To help ensure that doesn’t happen, use these tips:
- Exercise. Exercising several times per week will keep you refreshed, reduce stress, and help you sleep. Walking, yoga, swimming, and bicycling are all great forms of exercise.
- Eat right. Make sure that your diet is well-balanced and nutritious.
- Don’t abuse alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse can be a problem for caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
- Get regular check-ups. Schedule a complete physical with your doctor at least once per year.
- Join a support group. Most communities have caregiver support groups, and they’re a great way to connect with others facing similar challenges.
- Get plenty of rest. You’ll perform better at both jobs when you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily.
- Enjoy some “me” time. Take a break by scheduling a short vacation, or doing something else you enjoy like getting a massage or dining out with a friend. If you’re married, don’t forget to have a date night with your spouse at least once a month.
Let Us Help You Balance Life, Work, and Caregiving
Trying to balance work with caregiving for an aging loved one can be time-consuming and exhausting. When you need a break, one of the reliable respite caregivers from Elder Home Care can step in and restore your peace of mind. Our caregivers are well-trained, highly qualified, and carefully selected, and deliver family-trusted in-home services like light housework, transportation, personal hygiene, meals, and companionship.
To learn more about our affordable and dependable in-home senior care solutions for families in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, including Smithtown, Huntington, and Queens areas of New York as well as in Doylestown, Jenkintown, and the surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia, please visit www.ehcus.com.