Working While Caregiving? New Caregiving Support is Here

There are 43.5 million caregivers taking care of a loved one within the United States. The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) published this number in a combined report with AARP Public Policy Institute in 2015.

NAC and AARP also found that 50% of those 43.5 million caregivers are under the age of 50. Are you one of them?

Your parents are growing older, and need help around the house. You’ve stepped up to help them, but it’s taking a toll on your working life.

Fortunately, there’s good news. Companies all across America are starting to answer the call of a caregiver’s plight.

The Sacrifice of Caregiving

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Between caring for your kids and caring for your parents, you’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices. This is on top of the full time job you already have.

Free time no longer exists. Moments of ‘me time’ now seem to be a thing of the past.

  • No time to yourself. Hobbies and ‘me time’ have fallen by the wayside. There’s always someone in the house who needs your help and attention. Some days, the only time you have to yourself is when you fall asleep at night.
  • Loss of sleep. Working during the day and caregiving at night leave little room for some much-needed rest. You use to count yourself lucky when you got eight hours of sleep a night. Nowadays, that number has dropped down to below six.
  • Forgetting to take vacations. Vacations are necessary for good health. But you don’t have time to rest and recharge. Who would take care of your parents while you’re gone? You’ve put off taking vacations for that very reason.
  • Financial hits. Taking time off from work would mean a serious dip in finances. You’ve avoided having to take time off for caregiving. The rising costs of your parents’ medical needs doesn’t help.  

Despite all these caregiving struggles, there’s good news on the horizon. And that good news comes straight from AARP. 

The AARP Report

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AARP, along with ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time Coalition) recently released a new report.

They stated that empathy and understanding for working caregivers is on the rise with employers.

Now more than ever, companies are giving caregivers the flexibility needed to care for a loved one.

  • More time off. Before, caregivers were limited to their paid time off (PTO) hours to be able to take care of a loved one. Now, companies are starting to offer PTO hours specifically for caregiving.
  • Additional resources. Employers are stepping up to help their employees out at work. Many are offering virtual (online) resources or onsite counselling for their caregiving employees.
  • Flexible working hours. Employees are no longer imposing a 9-5 workday. Instead, they’re giving the freedom of flexible working hours to employees caregiving. These flexible hours gives you more time to care for your loved one while working from home.
  • Workshops on caregiving. Some employers are offering workshops centered on topics relevant to caregiving. These workshops spread awareness about caregiving and connect caregivers to a larger community.

Now you will have the support of the office with you when you’re caring for your loved one. However, these changes could take some time to be put in place across the corporate world. 

Additional External Resources for Caregivers

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Thanks to the new report from AARP and ReACT, Americans know there will soon be a time when you won’t have to choose between your job and caregiving. 

But it will take some time for the workforce to catch up. To help support you during that time, look into these resources.

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under FMLA, employers are required by law to give caregivers 12 weeks of paid leave with guaranteed job security. You become eligible after working 12 months for your current employer. Check with your Human Resources office to see if you would qualify for FMLA.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Does your loved one have a disability protected by the ADA? A provision within the ADA protects caregivers of the person with the disability. By law, you are protected from any discrimination within the workplace.
  • AARP Caregiving Resources. Do you want to have external resources always available? Try the AARP caregiving hub. Articles and external links provide you with a flux of caregiving information.
  • An Alert1 Medical Alert. You can’t keep your eyes on your loved on 24/7. Let us do that for you. Choose from one of our five great medical alert help buttons. Our medical alerts ensure that help is just a button press away, leaving you free to enjoy extra peace of mind.

View Medical Alerts

Help is On the Way

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The good news is that help and support for caregivers at work is on the way. Companies and corporations are adopting flexible practices to support their caregiving employees.

But these changes could take some time to permeate the workplace. Continue to use resources like AARP or Alert1 for your caregiving needs. Remember, you are not alone.