Ending a day of work to go home to your second job as a caretaker can be exhausting. While childcare is a talking point for nearly every politician, the importance of senior care falls short. In addition to working a full-time job, almost 25% of people between 45 and 60 take care of their aging parents daily. On top of that, more than 65 million people in America are taking care of senior parents who are chronically ill or disabled. Working and caring for elderly parents, especially those with disabilities, can affect your presence at work. It's costly to both your time and money. The type of care a working person can offer their senior parents can dwindle with their diminished capacity for work.
It's important to take a step back and look at how you're balancing working and caring for elderly parents. It may not feel like your life is big enough for all of your needs to be met, but if you put effort into creating a strategy to care for your senior parent, you'll be able to feel fulfilled in both your work and the time you've spent caring for your aging parents.
With that in mind, here are four tips for figuring out how to balance working and caring for elderly parents, so you can both enjoy your time together as well as your time apart.Learn 4 ways to help balance working and caring for elderly parents, with tips on how you can support your family! Click To Tweet
Speak With Your Employer About Your Caregiving
If something changes in your personal life, it's important to notify your employer. See if there are any forms of family leave you could take to get yourself settled with your new situation or if they can accommodate you leaving early some days or working remotely.
Most employers are flexible and have rules in place on handling family emergencies or changes in familial layouts. Being open and honest with your employer can help them understand why you may be presenting as stressed at work or why you might have to duck out early.
There are laws that prohibit your employer from letting you go if you relay to them your situation and requests, so do not be afraid to have a conversation with them. For example, the Family Medical Leave Act allows up to 12 weeks off every year without pay, but with the assurance your position will be there for you when you get back.
Find An Care Provider for the Elderly
There are many types of care providers that can provide you with additional assistance. In-home care providers can aid in your transition to caring for a senior parent while working. It's important to interview numerous agencies and helpers before making your decision.
While in-home care providers can be pricey, there are plenty of options and payment plans that can fit nearly any budget. Look into local resources in your community and ask if anyone in your circle has had a similar experience caring for a senior parent and has any references for an in-home care provider.
You should also look into post-acute care management. Post-acute care management centers can help seniors recover and rehabilitate quickly with top-tier care and services. This might be an ideal option for healing seniors after a hospital visit.
Have A Backup Plan When Working and Caring for Elderly Parents
When working and caring for elderly parents, you should have a backup plan anytime you leave them home alone or in the care of someone else.
For instance, you never know when an emergency may happen. If you're at work without a plan, you'll be left to scramble in an already stressful situation. Think about speaking with a coworker or your boss about the situation and seeing if they can take on your work for the remainder of the day should you have to make an early exit.
Stick To A Schedule
A schedule will help you and your senior parent adjust to this new living situation. Your schedule should help you avoid conflating work hours with caregiving hours. Make appointments for your aging parent after work hours. Try not to take calls relating to the care of your senior parent unless it's an emergency.
Be sure to schedule time to take care of yourself as well, have a night out with your spouse or friends, or spend some time alone. Taking time for your own self-care will only benefit your work and caregiving capabilities, as you'll be more relaxed.