How to Balance Work and Caregiving

Balancing work and caregiving

Working and caring for an older family member is becoming more and more common. You are not alone, over 20 million Americans are balancing work and caregiving. As if one of these jobs isn’t difficult enough, sometimes figuring out how to manage both on a day-to-day basis can seem impossible!

Here are some of our suggestions to help you create a healthy balance between work and caregiving.

Step Back and Assess ‍

Caregiving is like a second job. What is your caregiver job description? What are your current responsibilities as a caregiver?

Knowing what you need to do is essential to understanding the scope of your commitment and where you can receive help. Do you need to be taking time out during the weekdays to go to doctor’s appointments? Or can you get most of your caregiving responsibilities done over the weekend?

Having a handle on your role as a caregiver will help you effectively communicate with your family and employer. Explain what responsibilities you have and work together to figure out where they can help.

Be Upfront with Your Employer‍

Talk to your employer about your role at home. Many people are nervous to talk to their employer about this because of possible negative repercussions, however, this gives your employer a better understanding of your situation and how to help you.

Employers are becoming more aware of elder caregiving and are creating support resources for their employees, like childcare benefits.

Employer support can look like:

  • Allowing you to have flexible hours, work from home part-time, or transition to a compressed work schedule
  • Offering caregiving resources to support you
  • Providing financial benefits such as supplemental dependent care

Get Help

Caregiver giving assistance to a parent
Caregiver Assistance

Remember that caregiver job description from the beginning? Go through each of your responsibilities and see if anything of these tasks can be done by others.

If one of your responsibilities is to pick up and deliver medications, see if you can have it be delivered by your local pharmacy. Look into services that can help do some of the work for you such as transportation or meal delivery services.

In-home care or adult daycare centers can also help you relieve you from your caregiving duties for a few hours of your day to allow you to get work done or run errands.

It may be worth having a family meeting to discuss the care plan and how each family member can contribute! Read tips on how to have a family meeting here.

Don’t Forget about Self-Care

When you are hustling through your week, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Everyone has needs, including you!

Think about how you will take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally. Maybe you need to take a 5-minute meditation session in the morning, schedule that lunch or coffee with a friend, or buy your favorite treat when you are grocery shopping. Treat yourself because you deserve it!

When you become a caregiver, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your career. We hope that these tips can help you balance your roles and responsibilities better. You got this.

Jason Gottschalk is the chief editor for Vibrant Aging Insider. He has a passion for working with older adults. He currently runs a nonprofit senior services company in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of a large retirement community and cofounded a technology company which developed senior support artificial intelligence, both in metro D.C.

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