Caregiving and Working Full-Time

Working family caregiver

It's disheartening to read stories about family caregivers helping aging relatives and then paying dearly for the dedication and interest while at work.

Caring for elderly parents, relatives and friends is very stressful even if you don't work full-time. But if you add a job on top of the responsibilities, a family caregiver runs a high risk of developing health issues and conditions. Family members must keep a close eye on their health.

Family caregivers get lost in the turmoil of elder care and their health suffers the most.

Family Caregivers and Working Full-Time

Every day, I hear stories like Larry's, a family caregiver, who lost his job in late February because he had to take time off to care for his mom. Unfortunately, the company was too small and didn't extend FMLA - the Family and Medical Leave Act. Instead, they offered Larry part-time work hours in the office. But the workload exceeded 40+ hours per week.

Family Medical Leave Act and Eligibility

FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It allows the employee to receive group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Here's what FMLA allows -

  • Twelve work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for these concerns:
  • Birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • Placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of installation;
  • Care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • Serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • Twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave). Source: U.S. Department of Labor

In a recent study by the National Study of Employers, 75% of employers provide paid or unpaid time off for employees to administer elder care with no strings attached.

Working Caregivers

The study found:

  • 43% of employers provide employees with information about elder care services
  • 41% offer Dependent Care Assistant Plans for elder care
  • 7% provide access to respite care
  • 81% allow flexibility of changing working hours
  • 52% of companies (50-99 employees) give employees the required time off without losing pay, and 34% allow extended career breaks
  • 36% of more major companies (1000+) allow employees to take some time off during the workday with pay and take extended career breaks for caregiving

Tips for Working Caregivers

  • Approach your employer or HR department as early as possible to give them time to plan and react.
  • Emphasize your desire to continue work and come up with ways to solve your dilemma
  • Find out if flex work options or telecommuting is an option
  • Check with HR if the company has an Employee Assistance program which offers counseling and referral services
  • Take advantage of the flexible spending accounts which can pay for elder care services with pre-tax dollars.

Learn about In-Home Monitoring Technology

If you're working at a full-time job and caring for a loved one, there's help for you! Products and services make it easier for working family caregivers to manage elder care responsibilities.

Products offer reliable and trustworthy assistance by tracking your loved one's daily care and conditions:

  • Tracks your loved one's eating pattern.
  • Tracks their sleep behavior.
  • Records medication adherence.
  • Technology can help you know if a loved one is fulfilling these needed tasks and then lets you know immediately if they are not.
  • Hire a senior home care agency or an individual caregiver to help out when you're away at work.

Family caregivers are not nursing experts but you can find the right help and good care without sacrificing your health or job.

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