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How to Balance Senior Caregiving and Work

Many family caregivers not only play an important role caring for their elderly loved ones, but also find themselves battling the demands of full or part time work.  Oftentimes, this results in senior caregivers quitting their jobs, cutting back on hours, retiring early and declining attractive promotions.  On the other side of the equation, employers are forced to deal with higher levels of absenteeism, tardiness and lower employee productivity.
Here are a few practical tips that may help you organize your time between senior caregiving and workplace responsibilities.

Talk to your employer.

Be open about your family situation and discuss the needs of your elderly loved one with your employer.  The better their understanding of your demands as a caregiver, the better able they will be to accommodate you in the workplace.

Explore your flexibility at work.  

Does your place of work offer flextime, compressed workweeks, reduced work hours, leaves of absence, an opportunity to retire gradually or work from home?  See what can be done to ease the burden between your two roles.  You’ll never know unless you ask.

Consider additional support or respite care.  

Although it is natural to feel the need to take on full responsibility as an elderly caregiver, be mindful of your limits.  If you feel your stress mounting or you know you that you simply must be at work for the next few weeks without exception, hire professional help or respite care to assist you.

Create a support group at work.  

You’re likely not alone and there are probably other employees at your place of work who are experiencing a similar situation in their own lives.  Form a support group where you can share your thoughts and offer advice freely among one another.

Check your employee benefits package.

Some employee benefits extend to dependents and may provide financial assistance for family caregiving.  Since it is less common, you and your manager may be unaware of the full range of options.  Conduct a little research to learn more about your benefits and make sure you’re getting all of what you’re entitled to.

Make a list and delegate tasks.

Write down everything that needs to be done in your senior caregiving role.  Assign tasks to other family members so you’re not shouldering the entire burden on your own.  Decide which tasks you and your family can complete, and which require the supplementary help of a professional.

Take advantage of community resources.

Know the resources available to you within your community.  During this difficult time, every bit of help is useful.


Take a Yoga class, get a massage or read a book.  Don’t let go of the pastimes that relax and de-stress you.  Stay healthy by eating right, getting enough sleep and taking a few minutes out of your day to unwind in whatever way suits you best. 
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