Caring for Elderly Parents – Juggling Work and Caregiving
You wake up Mom and Dad and help them out of bed. You help them brush their teeth and get dressed. You give them their medication. You bring Mom her morning coffee and clean her glasses. You get Dad settled and give him his newspaper. You fix breakfast, clean up the kitchen, and check the appointment calendar. You have to reschedule Mom’s doctor appointment because it conflicts with your paying job. You reassure Dad that everything is okay and he doesn’t need to be doing anything. You get a meal ready in the crockpot for dinner. Interspersed with all this, you are checking emails, posting on Facebook, preparing for the conference call you have later, and planning out what you need to do for the day. Just a typical day in the life of a caregiver – juggling work and caregiving.
Working caregivers are everywhere. You must keep or find work that meets the constantly changing needs of those you are caring for. You never know when a crisis is around the corner. Here are some tips to help juggle work and caregiving:
Tell your boss. Letting your employer know about your caregiver role can be a good idea because it helps him/her understand the challenges you’re facing and that you want to be a valued employee. Be honest and realistic about your options.
Change your work hours. Sometimes those you’re caring for need more help in the mornings so you may be able to work in the afternoons and evenings. Or, your loved ones may have appointments all afternoon, then you can work in the mornings. You may also ask for flexible hours. Some employers may not care if you have a fixed schedule as long as you work a specified number of hours per day or week. If you can’t work full-time but want to keep your job, you may consider working part-time. With some of these options, though, you may need to adjust your budget if your income will be reduced.
Consider telecommuting. Telecommuting is an option that allows you to work from home. Some employers offer full-time telecommuting while others offer part-time or short-term telecommuting. It can allow you to care for your loved one or take him/her to the doctor and then get right to work, rather than wasting time traveling.
Consider taking leave. Find out what your employer’s policies are on taking leave. Some jobs offer time off specifically for caregiving. Many caregivers use their vacation time for caregiving. Some employers allow caregivers to use sick time to care for family members.
Medicaid waiver. Your loved one may qualify for the Medicaid waiver. Medicaid waivers can offer support and services to elderly ones who want to live at home instead of a nursing home.
Juggling your paid job and caregiving will probably always have its moments of anxiety and stress. It can be overwhelming doing both jobs. If you have made the choice to care for your loved ones, then you may have to adapt your work and career goals to provide the best care for your loved ones.