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Juggling Work and Caregiving: How to Create Balance

Are you juggling work and caregiving?  Stressed to the max? Looking for answers?  Did you know you are in the majority now?

In 2009, AARP estimated that nearly 61% of people over the age of 50 are employed and have caregiving responsibilities. (1)  In 2015, it was found that 6 in 10 caregivers are employed and this ratio will continue to rise. Not that this is new news to you or even comforting! Chances are one of your co-workers may be in the same position and you don’t even know it.

Even If you are lucky enough to have a professional in-home care provider, ensuring the health and safety of your family member, every time the phone rings, do you find yourself trying to catch your breath, avoiding the call or feel the start of a massive headache?

Are you so stressed out that you have ruled out the possibility that the call is something as simple as a co-worker is phoning to see if you would like to have lunch together?  If the answer is yes, below is an idea to help you implement more balance between your work and family responsibilities.

First, write down what type of workplace changes might help you.

For example, reducing your hours, taking early/late lunch, creating flexible hours, telecommuting on specific days, or even working part-time for a specific period of time. Some employees have found a way to “trade” a few responsibilities with their co-workers for a short period of time. Be specific about days, hours and timing of possible options. For example: an early lunch, 11:00-12:00 on Monday and Thursdays. Purpose: communication with medical personnel, financial institutions, etc.

Second, write down the possible impact of your proposed changes on your attendance, quality and quantity of your performance.  Remember, these are the areas that all employees are evaluated on. Be honest.

Third, once you have identified the impact of the changes, ask yourself the following question:

If I were the supervisor, what response would I have to the proposed changes? Write down the responses.

Fourth, edit and revise your proposal, if necessary.

Fifth, ask to meet with your supervisor for 20 minutes. Let them know that you are overseeing the care of your family member and that you are requesting some limited time alterations to your work schedule. Offer your proposal in writing.

Remember the golden rule of being an effective and efficient employee:

Upon identifying a problem, always identify possible resolutions/solutions at the same time.

1) Fact Sheet 271, October, 2012 AARP Public Policy Institute 601 E. Street, NW, Washington, DC 20049ARPCaregiving in the United States Executive Summary 2015

livHOME, Walnut Creek

Since 1976, Jan D. Somers, MSW LCSW, BCD, Certificate in Gerontology, has been working in the field of Social Work. Her experience includes working with adolescents, adults and the elderly in the following arenas:  Geriatric Care Manager,  Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Employee Assistance, Home Health and Private Practice.

In 1998, upon obtaining a degree in Gerontology from the University of Denver, she has focused her career in Geriatrics. As a consultant in Aging/Geriatric Care Manager, she has worked with caregivers, seniors, families and  healthcare professionals by providing comprehensive evaluations, resources and guidance to ensure the health, safety and well-being of seniors experiencing challenging situations.

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