Your phone rings. It’s the independent living facility where your mom lives. She fell and is being admitted to the hospital. She may have fractured her ankle.
Your role has now shifted from adult child to caregiver. But you still work full-time.
At first, you may be able to meet your work obligations and take care of your elderly parent. Over time, the stress from lack of sleep and not enough hours in the day will wear on you.
Before you reach that point, try these suggestions for help in caregiving:
Enlist siblings or other family members nearby. You may be the decision-maker, but you can let others help out by taking your elderly parent to doctor appointments or even checking in on them when you need to work late.
Reach out to your religious organization. Some churches/temples have retired members who are available to help during times like what you are experiencing. They can provide companionship, transportation to doctor appointments, and even prepare meals.
Contact the case manager assigned to help you. If your parent was admitted to a hospital, then a case manager is assigned to you. The role of the case manager is to minimize the length of stay your parent is in the acute care hospital. The acceptable length of stay is correlated to what the payor (e.g., Medicare) will reimburse the hospital for care. Many case managers have a list of reputable resources and understand what insurance will cover.
Check with your HR department. Your employer may have benefits to help you during this difficult time. There may be resources offered at an employee discount, or you may even be able to take a leave of absence. Larger firms tend to have these types of benefits.
Be persistent in your quest for help, especially if you need to continue working full-time. While many of us prefer to keep our private life separate from work (especially if you’re in a senior position), instances like being a caregiver take precedence over the general rule of thumb.
Becoming a caregiver can come at a time when you are very busy at work. Talk to your manager about finding additional resources to meet deadlines or even adjusting deadlines.
If you need more flexibility during the day but can make up work during the evening, then ask for that flexibility. If your job isn’t flexible, then focus on finding outside help for the caregiving role during work hours.
Becoming a caregiver can come at the most inopportune time, especially if you are still working full-time. It’s an added responsibility with large time demands. Don’t go it alone. Many people are struggling with this same obstacle. Use resources to help with the caregiving aspect. On the work end, talk with your manager about flexibility, additional resources, and adjusting deadlines. Be proactive to avoid burnout.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”