Balancing Caregiving with Work and Family

No matter how much we would like to be by the side of our loved or be able to swoop in to help whenever we’re needed, sometimes that’s just not possible. We have lives of our own, jobs to go to, and families to support. The simple truth is that we are not superhuman; we cannot be in multiple places at once. As such, we must balance our time as a caregiver, a professional at work, and having a personal life at home. Remember, there are other people besides the elderly in our lives who are counting on us.

That balancing act can sometimes prove very difficult to perform. This could lead to our work suffering or even neglecting to spend time with our families like we should. So how does one strike that balance? 

First of all, you as the caregiver have to realize that you really can’t do it all on your own, and you shouldn’t be expected to. Please know that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. If you’re finding it difficult to manage your life as a caregiver, your professional life, or your personal life at home then, please, ask for help. Call on other family members or close friends whom you trust with the situation to provide some much-needed relief and support.

When it comes to your work, let your boss know what’s going on if it’s appropriate. As much as you might prefer to keep matters private, sometimes it can just be too overwhelming. Many bosses will understand your dilemma and want to help you adjust your schedule. You could also look into telecommuting, if possible.  Another option is to adjust your hours. Sometimes, your elderly loved one’s needs have to take precedence, and you just simply cannot work the same amount you used to. Again, this would be something to discuss with your employer. If you find, that merely modifying your schedule isn’t cutting it, you might consider taking some time off. That  would allow you to attend to the matters at hand and come back to the job when you feel that you’ve gotten a better handle on the situation.

Family situations can be a bit different, but it is important to discuss the issues with each member of the family. If they are old enough, they can help take some of the burden away, but it is important that everyone knows that you are still going to make time for them. If they are helping with the care-giving situation, be sure to spend some time together outside of that responsibility. Go to that soccer game or the church bake sale. Spend time with your family so that each of you gets a break—you get time away from being a caregiver, and your loved ones get a break from not seeing you.