Why It's About Keeping Family Caregivers Employed


Why It's About Keeping Family Caregivers Employed

home-office-569153_640One of the questions family caregivers ask the most is:

Can I get paid to care for my family member?

When you add a full-time job to your career, you work 24/7. And, the urgency of your caregiving job plus the difficulty in finding and affordable at-home care can turn your career into what feels like the disposal work. It seems to make sense to get paid for your caregiving work so you can dump your day job.

Sometimes, keeping your caregiving job while cutting your career makes sense. In some situations, paying a family member to provide care provides a supplemental salary to a household. Sometimes, paying the family caregiver ensures money continues to flow into the home. Larry, who cares for his mom, lost his job because of his caregiving responsibilities. He became a Personal Care Worker in order to receive pay to care for his mom. He then added additional clients to his work load and turned caregiving into his career. (You can connect with Larry on his profile page: @kc9hdp.)

Certainly, the work of a family caregiver deserves recognition and a salary.

I worry, though, that we focus too much on reimbursing family caregivers as the only solution.

At times, paying a family caregiver becomes a short-term fix that ultimately creates a tough problem for the family caregiver when caregiving ends. When a caree dies, a family caregiver loses a family member and a paying job. Now, during a time of grieving and transition, that adult child or spouse or parent needs to find a paying job. Caregiving may have kept that family caregiver out of the workforce for years, which means that a family caregiver may arrive into a job hunt without the necessary skills and connections to find work. That's a really difficult situation to be in.

I believe it's imperative we keep family caregivers in the workforce as often as appropriate.

Employed family caregivers:

  • Keep skills up-to-date and current;

  • Pay into the Social Security and Medicare programs, which helps the individual family caregiver and these programs;

  • Save companies the cost of finding and training replacements;

  • Ensure companies continue to benefit from their knowledge and experience;

  • Funnel money into a local economy by hiring providers and services;

  • Stay connected to the outside world;

  • Avoid the challenge of trying to find work once caregiving ends.

We need reliable, dependable and affordable programs that help family caregivers keep their careers. We need adult day centers and well-trained home health aides. We need respite programs and easy access to resources and information. We need paid leave and flexible work schedules, including the ability to work from home.

Keeping family caregivers employed protects their future and keeps money funneling through our economy. An employed family caregiver also has some stability and structure during that turbulent time in their lives--that time when caregiving ends and they look to begin again.

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So true. Luckily for us we treated what we received from home health care as ' bonus money' and did not rely on it for bills etc. or else it would have been a double blow. Also it can be too difficult doing caregiving 24/7.... People NEED off time and a day care or traind home health will provide that. There needs to be some kind of nation wide program. Very few can leave a career and live off those wages even when they are available ...... So much is needed to fill this gap as people are living longer and in turn sometimes needing more services.