Being a caregiver is a balancing act. It can be especially challenging if you work, whether it’s inside or outside of the home. Having your concentration broken and having to put your work aside as you tend to your caretaker responsibilities can make getting your work completed quite difficult to do. Some days you may feel like you have more on your plate than you can handle. Fortunately, there are ways to find the balance you’re looking for. Here are five ways to effectively balance work and caregiving.
1. Discuss Your Caregiving Role With Your Employer
You’ll find it beneficial to have an open and direct conversation with your supervisor. Creating an open dialogue about your needs may shed light on some available resources you weren’t aware of. You may need to compromise and find what will work best for you, your employer, and your family. Be open-minded when discussing this sensitive subject with your employer.
Before you have your conversation with your supervisor, prepare some notes and research on the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which offers you 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Discuss with your employer how this would affect your job security and be open to what your employer offers. Be sure to inquire about your benefits, specifically your health insurance coverage while on leave, especially if your hours change.
2. Be Proactive With Your Work Schedule
As much as you can, plan ahead with your work and personal schedule. Some things you can do are:
- Work from home as much as possible, so you’re able to be home when you’re needed. An increasing number of employers are now letting their employees work remotely.
- Switch some of your hours with a colleague to be home during the times of day when you’re most needed.
- Try and schedule your loved one’s appointments around times that work best for you, such as during your lunch hour, or early evening or morning.
- Create contingency plans for when you need to be away from the office.
3. Ask For Help When You Need It
It’s impossible to do everything on your own, as hard as it can be to admit it. To prevent caregiver burnout, ask for help when you need it. Family members and friends will very likely be more than happy to assist when asked. Be sure to be specific with what type of help you need, like meal preparation or taking your aging parent to doctor’s appointments.
4. Manage Work/Life Balance and Flexible Work Options
If you’re allowed to work from home, you need to know how to balance your work and be a family caregiver. Here are some quick tips on working remotely and caring for your aging parent:
- Have a designated workspace in the home and leave your work there
- Let your colleagues know about your role as a family caregiver
- Take a break when you are stressed
- Have a specific start and end to your workday to prevent work-creep
- Prevent burnout by taking breaks during the day
- Have the technology and resources you need to successfully work from home (your employer can help you with this)
5. Know Your Limits
As a family caregiver, setting physical and emotional boundaries is essential. It will help you manage expectations with others, balance your tasks, and help you focus on self-care. It’s important to:
- Define your physical boundaries, which is the personal space you need to separate your personal and work needs and caregiving responsibilities. Have a space in the home you can go to that is uniquely yours, which will allow you to get away and re-charge or get work done.
- Have emotional boundaries that focus on your own understanding of your needs and wants for yourself and from others. This will help you manage your communication and interactions with others.
- Share these boundaries with co-workers, friends, and family as needed.
Follow these tips to help you balance your many responsibilities. The effort you give them will help you immeasurably each and every day.
Need More Help Maintaining A Balance?
At Home Instead, we can help you balance your work life and caregiving responsibilities. Our mission is to lift the spirits of those we serve by offering them dependable and affordable home care options. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Northern Milwaukee, or the surrounding areas today, please visit us at www.milwaukeehomecare.com.