Working Caregivers: Managing Your Other Fulltime Job
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Working caregivers may:
- Lose time from work
- Experience lower productivity at work
- Quit their jobs to provide care
- Lose career opportunities
- Experience reduced future earnings
If you are among the one in three caregivers who works outside the home, there are some things you can do to help address the issues unique to working caregivers.
Providing care for an older loved can be a full-time job. If you're providing full-time care and working outside the home, you've most likely sacrificed leisure time and may be suffering the effects of stress. Here are some tips to help you meet the unique challenges of being a working caregiver.
Make a list of what is needed and when it's needed.
CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE TYPE OF CARE
Decide what level of care is needed for your loved one. Can care be delivered at home, such as companion care, chores or home nursing? Or would adult day care be a better option?
RESEARCH FINANCIAL OPTIONS
Check if any in-home care options are covered by your loved one's insurance policy. Investigate whether your loved one qualifies for service through Medicare or Medicaid. Decide how much you can afford to spend on outside resources, or call your local office on aging to inquire about community or county resources that may be available.
EXPLORE CARE OPTIONS
Check out community and in-home eldercare providers in your area. Online services such as www.211cleveland.org (United Way) or aging.ohio.gov Ohio Department on Aging offer searchable databases of services by type or location. Talk to friends who have been caregivers to find out where they went for help.
CONSIDER INFORMAL OR FORMAL ARRANGEMENTS
There may be chores or other tasks that can be done by friends, family, neighbors or church members. Your local senior center, schools or other organization may have programs for community volunteers. If medical or personal care, such as help toileting, is needed, you will need a person who is trained and competent. Check references carefully.
HAVE A FAMILY MEETING
This can be useful for discussing difficult medical and legal issues. It's important to include the care recipient if at all possible. Help ensure an open, supportive environment where needs, concerns and delegation of tasks can be discussed freely. If there are family dynamics at play that make it difficult, consider using a professional care manager or social worker to help the family develop a plan of care and make/monitor care arrangements.
TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYER
Many employers offer flexible work hours, family illness days or leave time to employees caring for an older adult. If there are other employees involved in caregiving, your employer might consider holding a company "caregiver fair" or series of lunchtime seminars on issues such as making home care arrangements or dealing with the stress of caregiving.