Almost 28% of Canadians combine paid work and caregiving. The majority of caregivers experience wonderful gains by giving back to the person they are caring for and enjoy strengthened family relations. However; the strains of caregiving take their toll: A quarter of caregivers report a change in employment including turning down training opportunities, promotions, taking a loss of income or simply have to quit their jobs altogether. Almost 15% report health and sleep problems and over a third report emotional difficulties due to caregiving.
Balancing caregiving and work situations vary tremendously and no single action plan works for everyone. Here are a few strategies to lighten your load and reduce stress.
Be honest and proactive. Describe the situation to your employer before it becomes a problem and let them know that you are committed to your job. Be honest with yourself. Don’t sugarcoat the situation. It won’t help you in the long run and will cause additional stress.
Recognize the signs of stress. Listen to your body – don’t wait until the physical or emotional consequences of stress impact you negatively. Identify one way you can support yourself with stress or consider professional help if you feel overwhelmed.
Learn what support is available. Can you work flexible hours? Do you have someone who can cover for you if you need to leave the office? Does your employer know about your eldercare situation? Are you comfortable talking to your direct superior or colleagues about your eldercare situation? What policies does your company have in place to support working caregivers?
Document, Document, Document. Create a file and keep track of information about your assessment. Such documentation serves as a valuable reference when dealing with your employer, colleagues, doctors and others involved in the person you are caring for.
Make your time your own. The people we are caring for may get into the habit of calling for any little thing, or simply because they are lonely. Set limits and schedule regular times when you will call or check in. Be present and compartmentalize -“work when you work,” “give care when you are caregiving,” and “play when you play.”
Webinars & Handouts
- Guide to Financial Assistance for Caregivers – Many caregivers in Canada experience financial stress associated with providing care for someone, whether it is a person with a disability, an older adult, or a family member or friend with an illness. In fact, lack of funding and the need for financial assistance are the issues Canadian caregivers most often identify as their biggest stressors. The following download aims to help caregivers think through and identify programs and resources that might provide financial relief.
- Balancing Family Caregiving and Employment – Some additional tips. Please note: this article is from 2011.
Webinars & Handouts
Most of the listed webinars are pre-recorded and have a handout you can download. Click on the links to listen to the webinars and download a pdf of the presentation and handouts.
- Financial Facts and Tips for Caregivers
Listen to the webinar here.
Download the Handout 1: Financial Facts and Tips for Caregivers
- Work & Care: A Balancing Act video as part of Carers Canada in April 2015. You can learn more about important tips and strategies for being a caregiver in the workplace.
A few extra quick to read blogs on balancing work and caregiving.