It's likely that you're at the top of your game in your career. Maybe you just re-entered onto the career path of your dreams after raising your children. Or perhaps you simply enjoy what you do. But now you are being called on to provide eldercare for your parents. What to do?
It's hard not to feel guilty when you consider career versus your parent's eldercare needs - of course they come first. But do you have to put your career on hold? How will you balance the demands both as a caregiver at home and in the work place? How will you stay sane?
If you are just beginning your journey in eldercare, you may first want to consider using some time off to situate your loved one, and your life, in the new living conditions. Take time to get to re-learn each other's lifestyles and habits, getting as comfortable as you can with the new living arrangements. If you are in the US, you may wish to take advantage of FMLA (the Family and Medical Leave Act), which allows you to take up to twelve weeks of paid and unpaid leave to care for a sick relative.
For those of us already past the initial period (or who skipped over it and went straight to daily life), try to find options and choices that will allow you to excel in your career while caregiving, such as:
- Shortened work weeks - Many companies offer 10 hour work days, 4 days a week. In today's economy, more and more companies are willing to reduce work weeks by simply removing one day of work (and pay) for the employee.
- Utilize Adult Daycare - This rapidly expanding service is available in centers and homes within your community while you work.
- Share Duties - You raised your children, now care for your parents together. Whether your support comes from a spouse, relative or close friend, find someone who can help and be relied upon when work issues arise.
- Find a caregiver you can trust - an at-home caregiver is vital while you are at work if your parent needs physical, emotional or other assistance during your absence. Just as you wouldn't settle for a less-than-average babysitter for children, do not settle for anything but the best for your parent. It's impossible to concentrate at work if you are worrying about the caregiving taking place in your home.
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