Caring for your dad is becoming more difficult. You’re exhausted and struggling to keep up with your workload. Maybe it’s impacting multiple areas of your life.
Majorities of respondents in a survey of North American working family caregivers, conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead® network, report caregiving has put a strain on multiple aspects of their lives including:
• Finances (74 percent)
• Physical and mental health (80 percent and 85 percent, respectively)
• Career (77 percent have had to make major or minor changes to their work to meet responsibilities as a caregiver)
• Ability to manage work/life balance (86 percent)
Not only do you like your job, but you need it to pay the bills. So how do you broach the subject of family caregiving without the fear that you could be jeopardizing your job?
What do you say to help your manager and co-workers understand your caregiving responsibilities without sounding like you’re whining, neglecting your work responsibilities, or burdening your co-workers? Being prepared with facts and a plan can help. Here are some conversation starters to consider in opening the door to an honest discussion at work:
“I hope you know how much I value my job. That’s why I would like to make sure that my work is covered in the event of a family emergency. I would love to learn about any services our company has that could help me. And then, it would be great to work with you to put together a plan.”
“My dad needs to spend a week in the hospital next month and I would like to be with him since I am his caregiver. I have jotted down some ideas for how I could cover my job and my work while I’m gone. Could I schedule some time to discuss this with you?”
“A flexible start time would help me so much in ensuring that my father’s needs are covered before I leave for work. I believe that would help me be more productive on the job. Can I count on the company’s understanding?”
Think about ways to make the most of the time you have with your boss.
It is important to suggest ideas that work for both your employer and you, and to provide an opportunity to test out your plan to make sure that it does, in fact, work.
Inquire if your employer offers an EAP (an employee assistance program is a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal life situations than can interfere with work) and if it does explore the services that may assist you gain some harmony in your life.
Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.