Visiting Angels Newington, CT Blog

Finding Balance Between Work and Caring for Your Loved One

Being your senior mom or dad’s primary caregiver brings a lot of responsibility – learn how you can get the support you need

Caregiving comes with many obligations and takes up a lot of time and energy. While it can be a full-time job in itself, many family caregivers do not have the luxury of quitting their jobs and devoting themselves entirely to caregiving.

As you know, maintaining a healthy balance just between your job and other responsibilities can be quite tough. When you add caregiving to the mix, it is almost impossible to handle all your daily tasks with success and remain healthy and happy.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, over 60 percent of people who care for loved ones and have full-time jobs experience work-related trouble and have to cut back on hours, take unpaid leave or rearrange their schedule.

As your loved one's primary caregiver, you may think that you can manage it all, but considering the amount of tasks you need to accomplish on a daily basis, it can jeopardize your physical and mental health, especially if you use all your paid and sick time off to care for your loved one, without the opportunity to actually rest.

Know Your Rights as Family Caregiver

 

Fortunately, there is a solution that can provide you with some relief. It comes in the form of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was signed into federal law in 1993. According to this act, no person can lose their job due to a medical condition or the medical condition of a member of their immediate family, including their spouse, child or parent.

The downside of this act is that you are entitled to unpaid leave, but it is still a step in the right direction. As a family caregiver, you need to understand what this act garantees, so that you could use it to your best advantage.

There are several criteria you need to meet to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, including:

  • Employment with the same company for over a year
  • Minimum of 1,250 work hours in the past year
  • Your employer has more than 50 workers
  • You or your immediate family member have a medical condition

If you qualify, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave on a yearly basis. You can use that time intermittently or you can use it all at once, whatever works best for you. Another benefit is that thanks to this Act, you also get to keep all the benefits that come with your employment, like your health insurance. You cannot get demoted or fired for taking time off to care for your loved one.

There are also other options at your disposal. For instance, some states have paid family leave programs and employers may provide disability insurance, which enables you to get some portion of your pay while acting as your loved one's caregiver.

Before taking leave, whether paid or unpaid, it is also significant to talk to your boss and explain your situation. You should be honest and as forthcoming as possible, but keep in mind that your boss does not have the right to demand that you check in at work or remain available while using FMLA time.

Another thing to consider is that you should give your employer some sort of advance notice, but as this is not always possible, you are just required to give as much warning as you can. Your boss can ask to see some medical proof of your loved one's condition, but you do not have to go into details. [Source]

Find the Support & Help You Need

Being your loved one's caregiver is a demanding job and you should not be too hard on yourself if you can't do it all alone. That is why you should use all the resources at your disposal, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, allowing yourself more flexibility when it comes to your daily schedule and having at least some time for yourself and your needs.

Visiting Angels of Newington, CT, is a leading provider of essential personal in home care services for seniors. Our office serves Hartford County, Waterbury, and Springfield, MA. To learn more about the in-home living assistance services provided by our staff of compassionate caregivers, please call our Newington office at (860) 215-2391 or contact us for more information.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.