Caring for an aging parent or relative can be challenging, and for those with a full-time career it can feel as if you’re holding down two full-time jobs.
As an employed caregiver, you may lose time from work, come in late, or take unscheduled time off due to your caregiver responsibilities. Your role may be hard, even overwhelming and it can present even greater challenges if you have a full time career. This is when the use of home care services may be helpful.
Generally, home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends. More and more older people are electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, and are receiving home care services as their physical capabilities diminish. Home care not only allows a person to age comfortably at home but it can also alleviate stress for the primary caregiver.
Here are some other steps to help manage caregiver and career responsibilities.
Talk to your employer. Let your manager know your needs related to caregiving. Make it clear that you are committed to your job and want to find ways to remain productive.
Resist isolation. Find support in and out of work. Join community caregiver groups for emotional support, and seek out local resources for help. Take advantage of resources to coordinate care giving tasks within your family and support network.
Take care of yourself. As often as you can, get enough sleep. Eat sensibly and exercise. Take a break when the pressure gets too great, even if it’s just a hot bath or a short walk. Walking with a buddy can have two advantages—fostering friendship, while getting much needed exercise.
Know your rights. The Family Medical Leave Act varies by state but it is there to protect you and your job security if you should need to take time off to care for a spouse, parent or child. Consult your human resources department about what you are entitled to under the law.
Take Advantage of Benefits. Contact your Employee Assistance Program and find out what support services are available, such as counseling on reducing stress and managing your time. Many companies also offer access to eldercare referral services through an online database or live consultants.
Build a Support System. Consider asking a geriatric care manager to coordinate all aspects of your loved one’s care. Other service providers, including home health aides, homemakers and home care volunteers can shoulder some of the many responsibilities of care giving, from preparing meals to driving your loved one to appointments to providing companionship.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to go it alone. There are support services such as Liberty HomeCare & Hospice that are available to help you shoulder the responsibilities of being a primary caregiver.