Tips for Balancing Your Work and Caregiving Responsibilities

Tips for Balancing Your Work and Caregiving Responsibilities

There comes a period in many individuals’ lives when they realize their elderly parent, or another loved one, can’t take care of themself like they used to. After years of being provided for by your parents, you are suddenly thrust into the role of a caregiver. The prospect can be daunting at first, but following an adjustment period, it settles into a rewarding experience.

But the transition isn’t without its pitfalls. Most people do not have the luxury of quitting their job to become full-time caregivers. More likely than not, you are suddenly juggling work, personal life, and caregiving throughout the short 24 hours of the day.

It’s a massive undertaking to shoulder all these responsibilities at once. However, it can be done with these tips for balancing your work and caregiving responsibilities.

Tips for Balancing Your Work and Caregiving Responsibilities

Balancing your time

Time management has never been more crucial than it is now. Examine what you do over the course of a week and prioritize your affairs. Before taking on the role of caregiver, how much time did you spend partaking in frivolous activities? What activities can be moved around? What needs to be placed on the back burner for now?

Purchase a planner and record how much time you require for the week’s most important events– these could include doctor’s appointments, meetings, or meal preparation. Structure your days around them, and fill other responsibilities where possible.

When making your weekly schedule, don’t forget to reserve blocks for yourself where you can rest or enjoy your favorite hobbies. Despite what you may think, it is not selfish to take time for yourself. Doing so preserves your mental health, which helps ensure you are not only a quality caregiver for your loved one but a quality employee.

Making changes at work

If your family member’s needs are more advanced and require significant attention, you may have to make some changes at work. Prepare a list of talking points and schedule a meeting with your manager and/or HR professional. Express your situation and that you may need to make some changes to your schedule for some time. This could mean taking days off to accommodate your family member, or changing how you work.

Some options for balancing your work and caregiving responsibilities may include:

Flexing your work schedule

If you work in a corporate environment, you may be able to adapt the hours you work to fit your loved one’s needs. If they require you in the morning, you should consider a later start. Conversely, if they need you in the evening, you could work earlier and leave the office earlier. You may even be able to take a longer lunch to check on your loved one in the afternoon.

If you don’t work in a corporate environment, you may still be able to adapt your schedule. Talk with your coworkers about switching shifts ahead of time so that you can have solutions for your manager before they even ask.

Hybrid or remote work schedule

After the past several years, employers are more open to remote work than ever. If it’s possible with your position, ask your employer about remote or hybrid work. This allows you to be available for your elderly loved one while still getting your necessary work done.

Go down to part-time

If your loved one needs more assistance than you can feasibly offer while working full-time, you may have to discuss part-time work with your employer. Not everyone can afford this option due to the expenses of life and care. However, if you can, it is great for your mental health, as you won’t be quite as bogged down by the responsibilities of working two jobs.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If your loved one needs a great deal of support, it can be difficult to handle it all on your own even with your employer’s support. There may be times when you are stuck in a long meeting or have a deadline to meet. When that happens, don’t be afraid to ask a family member or friend for relief. A few hours of help can make a world of difference in your life.

When should I consider FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law that requires employers to offer leave for personal or familial reasons. It covers up to 12 work weeks of leave. While it is unfortunately unpaid, it allows you to keep your position and your health insurance, and it does not have to be consecutive.

If your elderly parent should not be on their own for any extended periods of time or requires a great deal of help with their daily activities, it may be time to consider FMLA. Remember: you may have to provide your employer with 30 days’ notice before this goes into effect. Be sure you speak with your Human Resources Department or an attorney if you are considering FMLA.

An at-home caregiver may be the answer for you

When you can’t afford to take time off but still need assistance with your elderly loved one, there are options. An at-home caregiver can take over when you can’t be there. If you live in Chicagoland, Home Care Powered by AUAF may be your solution. Our home care aides are available from 6 am to 10 pm, making balancing your work and caregiving responsibilities achievable.

Our staff can accommodate any non-medical activities of daily living that your loved one requires assistance with. This could mean personal care, brain games, activities, and so much more. They maintain regular training to always offer the most up-to-date care standards. With us, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is properly cared for.

If you are taking some time away from work and looking for a way to manifest income, consider our family caregiver program. Through this program, we train you to become a certified caregiver for your loved one. This facilitates your ability to receive compensation for the care you already provide.

If you have any questions about either of your programs, call us at 773-274-9262.

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