Balancing your work and the duties of caregiving is a challenging job even under the best of conditions. If you realize that you cannot integrate your work and elderly parent’s care, and alternatives to flexible working hours, part-time work or home-based work are not accessible to you, you might opt to quit your job.
Quitting your job to care for aging parents may have certain serious implications on your personal and financial well being. Family caregiving may manifest into increased financial costs leading to your financial instability. Therefore you may wish to talk about it with loved ones, trusted work colleagues or even unofficially with your manager.
What are Your Challenges as a Working Family Caregiver?
You might be one of those carers who are glad to assume this duty, but actually, don’t contemplate about the financial and emotional consequences of caring for an older parent. As per a recent survey which was undertaken by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute (2015b), 36 percent of the caregivers of older adults of more than 50 years of age accounted for mild to high levels of financial stress.
The overall pressure of working life becomes highly challenging alternating between work and your elderly parent’s care in the following ways:
Disturbance in Focusing on Job and Overall Career
Most caregivers are forced into making tough work accommodations or leave their jobs altogether due to incessant stresses, care crisis, and the total amount of effort needed to provide satisfactory care for their older parents. Almost 68% of caregivers account for making work adjustments in order to fit into their caregiving obligations.
Workplace Discrimination from Peers and Superiors
Over time, the activities like emergencies and prolonged leaves of absence may get highlighted among your peers and can lead to discrimination from their end. Such discrimination may occur regardless of whether or not you are meeting your on-the-job responsibilities. As a family caregiver, you may also encounter discrimination during the process of hiring.
Personal Financial Load
AARP research study has concluded that out of 4 family caregivers (78 percent) more than 3 report bearing out-of-pocket costs due to caregiving. Besides this, as a family caregiver your decision to reduce your work hours or quit your job, can cause a major impact on your present and future financial conditions like losing your income, Social Security, and benefits of retirement, health insurance, and career possibilities.
Emotional, Mental, and Physical Strain
As a working caregiver, your focus and energy will tend to drift between the constant demands of your career and your older parent’s needs. Multiple thoughts and tasks will forever burden your minds and heart. This extremely challenging role can cause you to suffer from a total burnout if you don’t exercise the right self-care.
What are the Feasible Options?
Despite the challenges of being a working caregiver, you can still achieve an optimum balance in this duration of your life and career through the following measures:
- Discuss with your employer about your family caregiving role.
- Analyze alternate or modified working plans.
- Acknowledge your workplace privileges as a family caregiver.
- Explore the government support options accessible to caregivers.
- Look out for casual caregiving aid from friends and family.
- Consider about good daily care facilities for adults.
- Avail respite care program benefits.
Policies and Practices that Support Working Caregivers
Policies and programs aimed to relieve the financial worries and to render social and financial assistance for family caregivers are every bit significant for both family caregivers and those receiving care.
Here are some of the policies and practices supporting working caregivers:
- Flexible Workplaces
- Family and Medical Leave Policies
- Access to Paid Family Leave
- State and Local Efforts to Extend Access to Paid Leave for Family Caregivers
If you are aware that caring for your elderly parents is probably going to be a big responsibility you will be undertaking later on in the future, it’s crucial to gear up financially, emotionally and practically for this change.