Balance is the key to successfully providing quality caregiving services for an elderly parent while working fulltime. Family caregivers may feel taxed by caregiving on some days and stressed by work on others. Remember, however, that both caregiving and working offer plenty of rewards.
Caring for an aging loved one is common. In fact, about 6 out of 10 family caregivers of adults over 50 also work either fulltime or part-time. By 2025, approximately half of America’s workforce will be providing caregiving services to an older family member, like a parent.
Family members on the cusp of caring for an elderly parent should understand the responsibilities involved. Adult children may need to schedule doctor’s appointments, prepare meals and provide assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs), like bathing and grooming.
Be aware that caregiving may occur in incremental steps as Mom or Dad slows down. Family members may start with managing finances. As the parent’s physical or cognitive abilities decline, additional support at home will be needed, such as maintaining the home and providing transportation.
On the other hand, family caregivers may find themselves plunging into caregiving duties if an elderly parent suddenly falls and fractures a hip or suffers a stroke. Caregiving might decrease, however, once the injured parent recovers from the fracture or stroke.
Discuss Care Options
Working caregivers should be prepared for both scenarios. An important initial step is to start discussions with aging parents as soon as possible to determine their wishes in the event they become sick or otherwise incapacitated. Understanding their desires serves as a guide to future care.
Daily routines will require organization once caregiving responsibilities start. Working full or part-time leaves little time to plan caregiving tasks. Allot available time to create an online calendar of doctor’s appointments and the senior’s activities. Share the calendar with family members who can help.
Caregiving while working is rarely done well without outside support. A local agency on aging can provide community resources to help navigate the various, demanding aspects of caregiving. Browse the website of the Eldercare Locator as a starting point.
Utilize Flexible Scheduling
Also browse the employee handbook for policies in regard to caregiving. A workplace might offer flexible work options and family leave opportunities that may be useful. Employee assistance programs are also offered by some corporations, so be sure to see if these resources are available.
If flexible scheduling is not already available to employees, ask a supervisor if it may be an option. Caregiving is not strictly an after-work duty. In fact, the majority of caregivers find themselves adjusting work hours, asking for time off or taking extended leaves of absences.
Remote work may also be a practical option, depending on the type of work in which the caregiver is involved. Telecommuting a few days per week allows the employed caregiver the opportunity to be at home to supervise an aging parent while accomplishing the day’s work-related tasks.
While on the job, focus on work rather than caregiving. When it is necessary to research a parent’s ailment, do so after work hours. Schedule doctor’s appointments and therapies during lunch. As an employed caregiver, it is important to keep caregiving and work life separate.
Prepare a Backup Plan
Health crises happen; and when Mom or Dad suddenly falls ill, the family caregiver will need to provide direct support. Have a backup plan beforehand. Arrange for colleagues to step in when a caregiving emergency requires immediate assistance and leaving work in a hurry is crucial.
Inform the Employer
Rather than wait for a caregiving emergency to notify an employer, family caregivers are encouraged to let a boss know early on about the extra responsibilities at home. Initiate a formal discussion with either human resources or a supervisor. A sit-down talk allows both parties to be focused.
While having the conversation about caregiving responsibilities at home, consider it an opportune time to talk about schedule accommodations. If telecommuting or schedule changes are in the foreseeable future, the transitions will take time to establish. Also let a boss know that work is still a priority.
Take Advantage of FMLA
Employed caregivers also have laws on their side. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year while retaining job security. Certain qualifications have to be met in order to be eligible for FMLA.
Employees must have worked in the company for at least 12 months before taking advantage of FMLA. Eligible personnel must also work in a company with at least 50 employees, in a government agency or in an elementary school. Some states allow coverage for staff who work at smaller companies.
An employer might require the caregiver to use vacation time prior to using FMLA. Plus, the caregiver does not have to use up all the FMLA time at once. Taking smaller chunks of FMLA is beneficial when helping a parent with a short-term illness.
Employed caregivers seem to be needed at two places at once. By implementing useful tactics, like the aforementioned, family caregivers can successfully balance work life and caregiving. Family caregivers need support, too, which is why many working caregivers turn to Assisting Hands® Home Care.
Assisting Hands® Home Care senior home care services are non-medical in nature but comprehensive. Professional caregivers help seniors with all the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility and meal preparation. We also provide 24 hour home care and live-in care services in case your loved one needs constant care while at home.
Working caregivers with aging parents living in Boynton Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach and surrounding areas in North and Central Palm Beach County, Florida, are encouraged to contact Assisting Hands® Home Care for compassionate elder care. Start on the path to emotional and physical wellbeing by choosing our dependable in-home care care services.