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Finding Balance for the Working Caregiver

a female in-home caregiver meal preps for a client

 Two-thirds of caregivers in the United Stateswork outside of the home. This creates a unique challenge for both working caregivers and their employers. Juggling caregiving and work-related responsibilities is not easy and some caregivers find it necessary to turn down job opportunities, quit their jobs, or take early retirement. Employers face the costs of replacing valuable employees. By working together, employees and employers can create a workplace environment that is productive and meets everyone’s needs.

Caregiver Stress

By developing some coping strategies, you may be able to avoid reaching the point of exhaustion and burnout. You are experiencing burnout if you become numb to your loved one’s needs and feelings and you just don’t care. Don’t let it go that far; it may be difficult or impossible to recover.

  • Remember you are not alone.
  • Find an Eldercare Specialist, a trained expert, who can help you find the services and support you need. Set a positive tone.
  • Seek out resources that can assist you during this emotionally stressful time (books, organizations, web pages, and support groups.

Caregiver Emotions

Providing care for someone you love who is no longer able to take care of him- or herself produces a wide range of emotions. It’s natural to feel sadness and grief for your loved one’s losses and for the loss of your own previous life. Over time, more emotions may surface.

You may have days when you feel:

  • Sorry for yourself
  • Gulity and impatient
  • Angry and resentful
  • Ashamed and lonely
  • Fearful of the future

 Some of these may shock you or seem “bad.” These feelings aren’t self-centered or wicked. It is a normal response to the extreme changes that providing care can bring to your life. As a caregiver, you donate a great deal of your time and energy to someone else’s needs, and often ignore your own. When difficult emotions surface, remember that you have your own needs. Let your feelings prompt youto do something for yourself. Take a break: watch the birds, read a magazine, listen to a favorite song, or just meditate.

Working and Caregiving: Finding the Balance

Prioritze your time at home and work. Keeping a calendar of activities helps to identify priorities.

Learn to delegate. Share your responsibilites with others. Do not be afraid to ask for help. 

 Help your company recognize your needs and the needs of other employed caregivers.

Keep communication channels open with your supervisor or your Human Resource Department.

Utilize your company’s available resources. Remember that businesses want and need to keep good workers. They want to provide support for their employees.

Use your vacation time and make sure the time is spent nurturing you.

Make time for you. Do what works for you. Spend time with friends, family members or participate with a group. Spend time alone. Plant a garden, go for long walks, read, take a hot aroma therapy bath. Do whatever it takes to nurture yourself. Always include things that are important to you.

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