If you’re balancing a job and caring for a loved one, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed on some days.
First off, know you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 60 percent of caregivers over 50 are also working a fulltime job and that number is expected to rise in the next five years.
With all that’s required of managing the care of an elderly loved one—from juggling doctor’s appointments, to preparing meals—you need a plan that helps you provide care and stay sane at work.
Here are three ways to balance a job and caring for a loved one.
Research Your Options at Work
Many employers offer family leave and will make special arrangements for caregivers like flexible work hours or telecommuting. Reviewing your employee handbook and talking with your Human Resources representative is a great place to start. Also, let your boss know about your caregiver role before an emergency arises so they’re not caught off guard. Cross-training with another employee can ensure someone can cover your duties if you’re taken away from work.
Keep Work Life Separate
As much as possible, try to handle your caregiver responsibilities outside of work hours. Schedule doctor appointments for lunch and plan to tackle other duties after work. Being able to segment your time will help you shift between responsibilities without feeling like you’re being overwhelmed.
Get Familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, allows you to take up to 12 weeks off per year, every year, for the care of a family member. This is unpaid leave, but your job security remains intact. Rules vary from state to state. In California, the FMLA and the California Family Rights Act only apply to companies with more than 50 employees and those employees must be on the payroll for at least 20 weeks in the current or preceding calendar years. All public employees are covered under the CFRA regardless of employee count. The California Chamber of Commerce website has more information about the CFRA.