It’s common for caregivers that have full-time, or even part-time jobs to feel stressed and torn between their job and caregiving. Here are some tips to help reduce that stress.
Be Up Front With Your Employer
Be honest with both your supervisor and the human resources department (if you have one) about your caregiving situation. Don’t apologize or offer excuses. Be ready to discuss any changes they may note in your availability or schedule. Be honest about the needs of your family, and discuss why you may need to not take on any additional responsibilities or even travel.
Ask about the company’s policy for caregiver support (even if you don’t need time off now, it’s good to know ahead of time). And be sure to check out your state’s Family Leave Act to see if you qualify.
Once your employer understands your situation, they’ll be much more likely to work with you. Come prepared to your meeting with suggestions that will help you….for example working from home a portion of the time, developing flex time (coming in early or staying late on days you need flexibility), or taking longer lunch hours to help your loved one with appointments or follow up on outstanding issues. Your employer may have additional options for you. They often offer resources in terms of sick days, vacation days, comp time, and in cases of crisis, your colleagues may be allowed to donate accrued time to you. It’s worth a discussion!
Ask for Support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Colleagues, friends, family, and church groups are often eager to assist — they often just don’t know how to help or what you need.
Ask someone to help you look into respite care so you have support if you need it while at work to have time for yourself. There are many community, local, and national resources to support you in this. You can start with the National Family Caregiver Association. If you need to, you may be able to utilize The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a national policy that guarantees covered employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for a seriously ill family member while ensuring job security.
Caregivers often become depressed and depleted of energy. In order to give your best, to yourself and others, you must take time daily to take care physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Following these tips will help you take care of your job, your loved one, and yourself — all of which are important.