How Do You Manage Caregiving and Your Career?

The New York Times published an article this afternoon with tips on how to manage work while you’re caregiving. (You can read the article here.)

The tips mentioned in the article include:

  • using the Family and Medical Leave Act in order to create plans, manage emergencies, transition your caree into another care setting;
  • checking with your HR Department to learn about resources available to you which can help, including an Employee Assistance Program or Work/Life benefit;
  • talking with your boss about a plan to mange your work load and your caregiving responsibilities;
  • carving out time for your own hobbies and interests;
  • keeping focused on the present and letting go of the “what was.”

I’d love to know what tips you would add. How do you manage work and caregiving? Do you have tips about how to work effectively with co-workers when you’re also swamped with caregiving? How do you manage an unsupportive boss? Do you worry about whether or not to quit your job? Or, do you keep you job out of financial necessity or because it provides a respite from caregiving?

Please share your experiences and thoughts in our comments section, below.

Resources

  • You’ll find tips on how to manage caregiving and your career (including your small business) here.
  • A back-up plan is a necessity in caregiving, regardless of whether or not you work. You’ll find articles which can help you create back-up plans here.
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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

2 thoughts on “How Do You Manage Caregiving and Your Career?

  1. Trish

    Denise, As a caregiver who is both an employee and a manager, I’d like to think I have a bit of a unique perspective. I have several employees who have been a caregiver to a family member. I am very supportive of my employees when they have these situations and work with them so they know how important they are to our firm but also so they don’t stress about not being at work while handling caregiving duties. It sometimes involves me running a little interference between the partners (my bosses) and the staff member.

    I feel a bit lucky in that my position can be somewhat flexible (I can bring work home if I have to miss a few hours for Robert’s dr appt or a day to move him). As you suggested, I keep the partners who “need to know” in the know about my situation. They have been very supportive.

    The problem I’ve run across is in being able to take sick time to care for my brother. The definition of “family” for FMLA (which we follow for our sick time rules) is up & down (parents and children). I’ve had to take vacation days to handle Robert situations. So while I have maxed out my sick time accrual (because I don’t take sick time) I have exhausted my vacation time (and not from traveling!). :-) I actually was able to work something out with my employer so that will now change but it took a lot of effort to do so and was only changed because I have been with them for so darn long.

    Sorry to go on for so long. This is an important topic which affects so many people.

    Reply
  2. Kathleen P.

    In 2008, my employer of 10 years laid me off. Since then I’ve been working hard to build my income back up by cobbling together a combination of part-time work and self-employment. As of 2011, my income is one-third of what it was 4 years ago. This situation is the result of post-layoff injuries as well as serious health issues for my mother, father (who passed away in 2009), my aunt, and myself. Now I’m a caregiver.

    I keep my low-paying part-time job at a non-profit because it 1) provides flexible hours and 2) is within walking distance of my home. That means I have more time to tend to my mom (85) and her sister (82), each of whom lives in her own home. I can also adjust my days in the office so that I can do my freelance work at home (or at my mom’s—or the doctor’s office, or the hospital…). I don’t receive any benefits. I’m lucky that I can get health insurance from my partner’s job.

    I don’t think I’ll ever have another corporate job; I can’t see them being supportive of my caregiving needs. FMLA only goes so far anyway. It’s hard to keep your mind on your work when you know that your carees need your attention too. So I’m always on the lookout for other part-time or ad hoc employment opportunities. Thankfully, my mother has recently agreed to pay me for part-time caregiving. This will greatly reduce the conflict I’ve been experiencing between wanting to care for my relatives and the necessity to make enough money to live on. I’m lucky my mother can afford it.

    Reply

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