Everything you need to know about balancing your work life and caregiving responsibilities
As a caregiver, you can be overwhelmed with responsibilities. You’re not only a caregiver, you could also be a spouse or partner, parent, student, or co-worker. No matter what other roles you have in your life, it can be a not-so-easy adjustment with the extra responsibilities of a caregiver.
As the pandemic has changed the course of everyone’s work life, the transition of returning to your job can affect your time and energy with caregiving for your loved one. According to AARP, 75% of caregivers worry about juggling work and caregiving duties. However, while it’s not easy to deal with overwhelming responsibilities, you can cope through ways of finding balance within all your roles. Understanding how to balance all your work life and caregiving duties is necessary for your mental and physical health, as well as for caring for your loved one.
First, it is necessary to understand what is stressing you out. Figuring this out will help you understand what solutions you need to find to adjust. AARP states the following are key stressors in balancing work life and caregiving responsibilities:
- Responsibilities are growing– The addition of responsibilities from your job can affect your stress levels since you are used to putting your focus on caregiving duties.
- Workplace flexibility– You may be worried about your work schedule conflicting with caretaking for your loved one. 6 in 10 caretakers say that they are hourly workers and 7 in 10 say their job is considered “essential” which can make it difficult to work from home or take time off.
- Fear of exposure– Working caregivers are concerned about exposing the person they care for at home since they are no longer working remotely and will be in other environments.
Reach out to your workplace, they may offer accommodations
Workplace flexibility is critical when you are also a caretaker. Luckily, more than half of caregivers have said they received flexible schedules since the pandemic, according to AARP. Get in contact with your supervisor or HR to find out how your workplace can help your situation. Here are ways some American businesses have accommodated caregivers and see if any of these options are right for you:
- A recent survey showed that 3 out of 4 employers offer paid or unpaid leave to employees who need to take care of their elderly loved ones.
- Some companies have started to provide unlimited sick days not just for personal illness but for caregiving responsibilities as well.
- Employers can help family caregivers with information and resources for Employee Assistance programs and other organizations that can assist them with meeting their loved one’s needs.
- Job sharing is an employment arrangement where two people work part-time for a job that would be full-time for one person, this way you can have more time to be caretaking. However, this is a fairly uncommon practice.
- Employers and managers can often be understanding of the struggles of working family caregivers and offer sympathy. Showing emotional support, offering resources, and understanding time spent on personal phone calls for your caretaking duties are some of the things employers can do to assist you.
- Flexible work scheduling can help you be able to manage your time more efficiently for your other caretaking responsibilities.
How to assist yourself with balancing responsibilities
The stress of trying to manage your work life and caretaking duties can be fixed, you can take control of your situation through the following approaches:
- Keep yourself organized through coordinating and managing your time, activities, and paperwork. You can take control and manage your responsibilities by using an organization system that works for you such as computerized spreadsheets, a calendar with alerts, or a paper filing system.
- Figure out how your work schedule could be altered so that you will be able to perform your job duties with an appropriate level of productivity and effectiveness while also meeting the needs of your senior loved one.
- Find community resources and information that will help you connect with needed services. Agencies are available to help you take care of your loved one while allowing you to continue to have a career. You don’t have to do it alone, help is always there.
- Be open and honest with your bosses. Open communication can help your employer not jump to conclusions and understand your situation as well as assist you with a solution.
- Check your eligibility for programs that could give you more support and receive all the benefits to which your elderly family member is entitled. The BenefitsCheckUp site, from the National Council on Aging, can help you investigate your options.
As a caretaker, managing your other responsibilities such as your 9-5 job, can’t be easy. While it may feel like the world is against you, take a step back and realize you can take control of your situation. Take action and work towards having a balance between your responsibilities so you can take care of yourself and your loved one in the best way possible.
1 +1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.
Schedule a call today.