Did you know that 42 million Americans juggle the demands of caregiving and working? If you are one of these people, it’s helpful to know that you are not alone. Still, how do all of these people balance the demands of work and caregiving? Is there a proven solution to making the most of both sides? Or do you have to let one suffer?
The truth is that juggling any large roles is difficult, and you’re probably no stranger to this. Maybe you’ve had to balance work and school, or parenting and work, or divorce and parenting. Think about how you’ve made it through these instances in your life. What worked and what didn’t?
Bottom line: You are going to need some help. Everyone needs it in different areas, so think about where you’ll be lacking and how you can fill in the gaps.
Here are some effective tips for juggling two important areas in your life.
Be Honest with Your Boss
Every job is unique, but being honest and upfront with your boss and other important people is critical. You don’t need to be emotional or provide details, simply set the record straight: You are a caregiver to your loved one and you will be needed. It may be a good idea to have an HR representative with you, too, so that you can be informed of your options.
Request Flexible Hours
If you have a job where the hours are flexible, you may be able to request morning, afternoon or evening hours specifically. Also inquire about job-sharing roles. Or, you may be able to catch up on your workload by working longer hours on some days and shorter hours on others. Many jobs are set in stone, but until you inquire about your options, you won’t know what’s available for you.
Employ In-Home Help
Having an in-home caregiver or respite caregiver is very helpful, and almost necessary in some cases. While work and caregiving are very important, you also need to keep yourself happy and healthy. Give yourself the breaks you need to read, take a walk, go grocery shopping or catch up on work. Help is available, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.
Reach out for Help from Others
In addition to in-home help, you also need to request help from others, including neighbors, your spouse, older children, coworkers and friends. Make sure that certain things around the home are always taken care of, such as the garbage, the meals and so forth. Everyone needs to work together to make your jobs easier.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Everyone likes a heads-up, so fill out your calendars a few months in advance. If you need an afternoon off, tell your boss. If you know you’ll be having a crazy week, schedule a dinner out on a Friday night. By planning out your schedule, you can arrange for help in advance and keep everyone in the loop, plus help yourself feel in control.
You should never have to feel torn between caregiving and work. With the right team on your side, you can balance both accordingly.