In the US, 56 percent of family caregivers work fulltime. Juggling caregiving duties with a career often takes an emotional toll on the family caregiver—but leaving a job can be financially stressful. Family caregivers should seriously consider whether or not to give up a career to care for elderly parents.
1. Consider Changes to Job Routines
Caregivers who work at least 15 hours per week while caring for an aging loved one report that their caregiving responsibilities significantly impact their work life. Careers are disrupted by a range of issues associated with caring for an elderly parent.
Almost three-quarters of employed caregivers report work-related challenges, such as having to rearrange work schedules, decrease work hours or request an unpaid leave of absence. Changes in employment occur in about six out of 10 caregivers who work full or part-time.
Responses to work situations include receiving warnings about attendance or job performance, arriving late or leaving early, taking time off and accepting a demotion in order to care for the aging parent. A small percentage turn down a promotion, choose early retirement or end up losing job benefits.
2. Evaluate Financial Setbacks
The career-related implications of working while caring for an older parent are clear. Even more evident are the financial consequences of leaving a job to provide caregiving services for a loved one. Female caregivers who leave the workforce early lose $324,044 and men give up $283,716.
This financial impact may be further illustrated by the fact that the 10 million family caregivers aged 50 and over in the US who give up a career to care for a parent lose $3 trillion in wages, retirement money, pensions and benefits.
3. Assess Emotional Stress
Given this insight, adult children are shouldered with answering the question of whether or not it is financially sustainable to fully or partially leave a career to care for a parent and determining whether or not they may be able to withstand the emotional demands of around-the-clock caregiving.
Of the family caregivers who believe they can sustain the dual demands of caregiving and a career; many are faced with the reality of having to make tough work accommodations in order to satisfactorily support an aging parent at home.
Employed caregivers who leave work early to respond to family emergencies or take prolonged leaves of absences can expect workplace discrimination from supervisors and peers, even despite fulfilling the workload. Interviewees who are family caregivers may also be discriminated against.
The emotional strain of having to constantly switch focus from caregiving at home to workplace responsibilities is overwhelming for caregivers who also manage a career. Without regular and proper self-care, exhaustion and other symptoms of burnout will be too much to endure.
Career-minded individuals who consider leaving the workforce early might shrink back at the thought of losing social connections and being in the workplace atmosphere. Fulltime caregiving is not for everyone. For many professionals, the daily camaraderie among fellow colleagues is important.
Re-entering the workforce at a later time will also be difficult. Candidates with outdated skills will have a harder time convincing a potential employer of their applicable skills sets. Technological expertise and knowledge may also wane in those who have taken a lengthy break from a career.
4. Decide Between Fulltime or Part-time Caregiving
While the cons of working while caregiving are apparent, family caregivers have another choice: fulltime caregiving. When adult children choose this route, they ensure that Mom or Dad receives quality care at home. Tax benefits are also in store to help pay for the senior’s medical expenses.
Adult children have yet another option: achieve balance by working and caregiving. Work schedules may be modified upon discussions with a supervisor. Government support will be available to family caregivers. Friends and family may be able to help with certain caregiving responsibilities.
Working caregivers may also receive support from other practical avenues and available opportunities. Many workplaces are flexible. Family caregivers may take advantage of government policies, like the Family and Medical Leave Act. Paid family leave is also provided by many corporations.
Family caregivers are advised to look into adult day care and local home care agencies. Respite services are provided by home care agencies, and this type of relief is essential to the caregiver’s wellbeing. Family members know the parent is supported during their few hours of personal time.
Home care is ideal for family caregivers who choose to work part-time or fulltime. The added benefit is that the working caregiver is able to fund the home care services with minimal financial stress. Balancing work life and caregiving is more readily accomplished with the help from home care agencies.
When your career demands your time, take comfort in knowing that a dependable home care agency, like Assisting Hands Home Care, will compassionately support your aging parent at home. Our caregivers are bonded, licensed and insured so that peace of mind is available to families.
Even if you elect to give up a career to provide continual support to an older parent, Assisting Hands Home Care respite care will be invaluable. Family caregivers require frequent breaks from the rigors of around-the-clock caregiving, and our respite caregivers will step in for short durations.
Assisting Hands Home Care services are comprehensive and non-medical in nature. Essential elder care services include assistance with grooming, bathing, mobility and toileting. Our professional caregivers prepare nutritious meals, provide transportation to doctor’s offices or senior centers and are excellent companions.
If your parent suffers from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, our memory care providers will provide skilled support. Our home care agency also offers dementia home care, post-surgical care, hospice care, overnight care, live-in care and 24-hour home care. We are flexible in our senior care services.
Working families as well as those who have chosen to be full-time caregivers turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for our wide range of dependable home care services. We serve seniors living in the communities of Deerfield, Mundelein and Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Call us at (847) 595-1222 for an immediate consult.