Are you interested in learning how to balance your resources, work, and stress levels?
What you will learn
- Understand a process for managing work-life issues when you are a caregiver
- Learn some strategies for juggling responsibilities
- Understand the issues of working and caregiving
- Have an approach for talking with your supervisor about work-life and eldercare issues
- Understand some strategies for taking care of yourself and seeking help
Topic Quick Links – Click on a topic below to go to that area of the page.
- Realities of Being a Working Caregiver
- A Model for Work-Life Balance and Caregiving
- Juggling Responsibilities
- Managing Work Requirements
- Talking with Your Supervisor
- Taking Care of Yourself
- Seeking Support
- Know Your Company Benefits and Policies
- Resources for Caregivers
Did you know nearly 60 percent of caregivers work full time and nearly 2/3 of these employees need to make adjustments in their work schedule?
Caregiving impacts both men (approximately 44%) and women (approximately 56%). It is easy to underestimate how much time caregiving requires and long-distance caregiving increases the complexity exponentially!
Work-Life balance is defined as: “…healthy work environments that value people and support personal life and family issues.”
Ref: The Alliance for Work-Life Progress, 2003
Follow these steps to help you be more in control of managing your varying work-life commitments. These are the steps of almost all quality improvement processes!
- Assess your situation
- Learn about resources
- Weigh the options
- Implement a plan
- Monitor for changes
- Adjust the plan
Ref: Elder Care: A Six-Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family, by John Paul Marosy, 2002
Working caregivers face constant demands for their attention among work, other family members and the complexities of caregiving.
Here are some strategies that can help:
- Delegate some tasks of caregiving (hired help, family, friends, religious community, etc.)
- Set priorities -focus on what is important to get done relevant to health, safety of care recipient
- Plan for emergencies
Honestly assess your job and the “climate” at work. Speak to others in your company about options that may have worked for them. Be proactive and creative and offer solutions rather than expecting your manager to come up with ideas. Make use of resources at work. Remember that you are being paid to do a job. Use lunch and break times to make phone calls or use other resources.
Determine what and how much your supervisor needs to know about your situation. If you and your supervisor are not clear about the tasks for which you are accountable, there is no clear basis for a discussion about such alternatives as part-time work, flexible hours, etc., so start by having a clear job description and deliverables. Be specific about what you need. Is flex time possible where your hours could be adjusted to come in at times other than those currently scheduled? Offer suggestions that will help you do your job but will allow you the flexibility to meet your non-work demands. Be clear about how the business needs will be met in your proposal. Ask about job sharing with another employee to cover times that you must be away. Set a timeframe to evaluate new work arrangements. Make adjustments, as needed.
Survey Highlights of People Who ‘Self-Identify’ as Family Caregivers, National Family Caregivers Association.
- 91% believe “preserving your health” is a message that should be told to all family caregivers
- 30% exercise regularly since becoming caregivers, compared with 61% who exercised before becoming caregivers
- 47% seek prompt medical attention for themselves compared to 70% who did so before becoming caregivers
It is important to take care of your own needs and your own health!
- Maintain (or establish!) good health practices
- Use your vacation time to recharge and relax as much as possible
- Enlist others to step in so you can take a break from caregiving
- Consider respite care
- Try to find a little time just for yourself every day to do something you enjoy (reading, walking, knitting, etc.)
Be sure to review our page titled: Caring for the Caregiver
Share caregiving responsibilities with your partner or spouse, siblings, and other relatives. Ask for specific help, build and maintain a network of support (both formal and informal), join a support group at work or in the community.
If you work for a company that offers benefits talk to your human resources department and know what benefits your company offers. Ask for and read related policy materials. Ask about Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits and FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) benefits which entitle eligible workers a maximum of 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave without loss of job security or health benefits. There are a variety of restrictions such as company size and the amount of time the worker has been employed.
- 2-1-1 throughout Texas. Provides information and access to health and human service information for all ages
- 1-800-252-9240 to find local Texas Area Agency on Aging
- 1-800-677-1116 – Elder Care Locator to find help throughout the U.S.
- Family Caregivers Online www.familycaregiversonline.net
- Online education, resources, links, frequently asked questions
- Benefits Check-up www.benefitscheckup.org for an online way to determine benefits for which someone qualifies.
To schedule a caregiver presentation for your church, business, library, civic group, or other location, call your local area agency on aging or send an email from www.familycaregiversonline.net
What Assistance is Available Through the Area Agency on Aging (AAA)?
- Information and referral
- Caregiver education and training
- Caregiver respite
- Caregiver support coordination
- Case management
- Transportation assistance
Services for Persons Aged 60 and Older:
- Benefits counseling
- Ombudsman – advocacy for those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Home delivered meals
- Congregate meals
- Light housekeeping
Note that services vary so check with the agency for your county.
Written by: Zanda Hilger, M. Ed., LPC, Family Caregiver Education, Area Agency on Aging
Permission is granted to duplicate any and all parts of this program to use in education programs supporting family members caring for elders.