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You’re a Caregiver: How to Juggle Responsibilities at Work and at Home

Posted Monday, November 6th, 2017

Member Submitted

Submitted by: Jacklyn Isasi, Communications Director, AARP

An estimated 40 million Americans face are caring for parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities that they can live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible. The majority (60 percent) of family caregivers are working at a paying job while also caring for a loved one. These tips could help you manage your dual roles:

Learn about company policies. Talk to your human resources department or read your employee handbook to ascertain your company’s policy regarding caregivers. Find out about any benefits your company may offer, such as an employee assistance program. Some companies have programs to help caregivers find community services, counseling, respite care, legal and financial assistance, and caregiver support groups. Others offer caregiving leave and flexible work arrangements.

Know your rights. Ask your human resources department for information about the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under the FMLA, eligible workers are entitled to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave for family caregiving, without the loss of job security or health benefits.

Talk to your manager. Be upfront about your role as a caregiver and the demands that it puts on you. It is better that your manager hear from you, especially if it’s impacting your time at work. Spell out the concrete steps you can take to juggle your competing demands. This can help your manager understand the challenges you are facing. Be honest and realistic with your manager or HR representative about your options.

Inquire about flex-time. Even if no formal policies exist, you should ask your manager if he or she would consider an arrangement to help accommodate your caregiving responsibilities. You could inquire about a compressed work schedule, a part-time job or job-sharing arrangement, tele-working, or ask for flexible hours that go beyond the traditional 9-5.

Don’t abuse work time. Whenever possible, avoid taking care of caregiving chores at work. If you have to make phone calls or search the Internet for information related to your loved one’s needs, do so on your lunch break.

Take care of yourself. It may seem impossible, even selfish, to take care of yourself when you have responsibilities elsewhere. But taking care of yourself is an important factor in your own health and your ability to be a valued worker and family caregiver. From taking a few minutes to meditate, to receiving respite care, look for ways to reduce your stress and demands on your time.

Say thanks. Show your appreciation for co-workers and colleagues who pitch in and help you out with your job.

There’s an app for that. Staying organized can be the difference between managing the chaos and the chaos managing you. There are many apps that can help you stay organized, including those that help you manage caregiving duties, health care record keeping, prescription medication lists, and shared calendars.

For more information about caregiving and to access caregiver resources, visit http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/.

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