Juggling Your Job and Caring for Your Elders

Are you working a full time job while also trying to care for an aging family member? If so, you are not alone. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, you are one of more than 43 million adults doing just that over the course of a year. Unfortunately, the challenges of the work place in combination with the demands of caring for a beloved family member often result in an individual sacrificing his or her own financial security.

In addition to a personal support system, the ability to successfully balance caregiving and full time job could greatly depend upon the flexibility of your company and your supervisor. The opportunity to telecommute, work non-traditional hours or participate in job sharing may allow employees the ability to more successfully juggle their professional and personal responsibilities. If alternate work situations are not available, a 2104 survey conducted on behalf of the Families and Work Institute found that approximately half of the people who ultimately left their jobs in order to provide elder care stated it was because their employers were not able to accommodate their dual responsibilities.

Many employees may be reticent to even raise the issue for fear that it could be perceived as affecting their work performance. Fortunately, several employers are beginning to recognize that it may be more costly to lose good employees who are caregivers than hire and train new staff members. In fact, companies with 50 or more employees must allow up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave for workers who are caring for a newborn or an ailing family member under the terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Above and beyond those legal requirements, “California requires employers to offer eligible employees up to six weeks of paid leave a year, at 55 percent of their wages, to care for a seriously ill family member,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

If you are in this situation and feel overwhelmed, try talking to your personnel representative as a first step but be prepared to frame your concerns in a positive manner. For example, suggest that telecommuting a few days a week would help you meet your goals and supply a reason why that would work. If that would not work for your employer or you, ask if you can work on a part-time or contractor basis but remember to find out how reducing your hours could affect your benefits.

If the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.