Caring for a loved one is a full-time job, but for many, affording that care means they also need to be employed. This is a complicated juggling act and can leave the caregiver feeling overwhelmed and exhausted without the proper support. In this blog, we share some helpful tips to consider for those balancing their career and caregiving.
Determine Workplace Benefits for Caregivers
Discuss your options with your employer if you have a family member that requires you to be home to care for them. Explain your needs with your HR representative and determine what options and benefits are available to you. These can include flexible hours, work-from-home arrangements, or planning to use PTO as needed. Some employers may even offer support or counseling services that can help with your mental health while caregiving for an ill loved one. Being up-front with your employer about your situation at the beginning of the process is the best way to ensure your needs are met.
Explore FMLA Options
FMLA stands for Family Medical Leave Act and allows eligible employees 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member, although FMLA does not cover the care of in-laws. These 12 weeks of leave do not need to be used consecutively, so with careful planning, you may be able to take certain days off during the month to cover doctor’s visits, chemotherapy, or whatever care your loved one may require. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s FMLA Guide to learn more and determine your eligibility for this benefit.
Build a Caregiver Community
Support from family and friends can help caregivers feel less alone and recognize that they have a lifeline if they need extra help. Creating this support system requires caregivers to ask for help and be open about their wants and needs. Doing so keeps you from burning out on both caregiving and your job. Some simple requests can include a few weekly meals, regular social visits, or help managing household chores or errands. Connecting with a support group of other caregivers can also help lend perspective and provide emotional support from individuals in similar situations.
Despite all the planning efforts and community support, caregivers and their ill loved ones still deserve time away to rest and recharge. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, consider applying for A Week Away. Our Respites are entirely free for our families and provide time away from the daily to-do lists, doctor’s visits, or care concerns. Visit our website to learn more.