Today, almost everyone is juggling family and work responsibilities. Caregivers, some of whom support their own children as well as one or more seniors, have even more to juggle — they often need to make sacrifices. A study updated in 2012 by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving confirms this, stating that approximately 70 percent of working caregivers have trouble at work as a result of their dual caregiving roles.
What options are available for those who need to balance their work with family caregiving? In the case of Huang Lihua, her answer was to merge those two primary aspects of life. Here’s a closer look at Huang’s story and some alternate solutions for caregivers.
Huang Lihua Solves Problem of Juggling Family and Work
Huang Lihua, a 24-year-old living in China’s Chongqing municipality, was sent to live with her grandmother, Wan Zongsiu, in the countryside from the time she was two years old until she returned to her parents in the city to attend school. Huang remembers living with her grandmother as a happy time, and she is grateful that her grandmother never left her alone.
Today, according to the Daily Mail, 88-year-old Wan lives with her granddaughter. Huang owns a successful restaurant and walks to work with her grandmother each day. When her grandmother is not up to the walk, Huang carries her. At work, her grandmother often sits outside, “watch[ing] life go by,” but Huang is always there when she needs her. Huang says, “[I]t was natural to me that I should think of my grandmother who gave me so much and started me off so well in life.”
What You Can Do
Unfortunately, Huang’s solution isn’t feasible for everyone. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), however, there are several alternative options available for working caregivers:
- Adult Day Care – For part-time workers, Monday-through-Friday adult day care provides a viable option. In some cases, caregivers can arrange transportation for their seniors as well. Services vary from one center to the next.
- Flexible Work Hours – This can include a change in work hours, or a compressed work schedule allowing you to work four 10-hour days.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The FMLA applies to companies with 50 or more employees and allows up to 12 weeks of paid leave with benefits for those who need to care for family members. The act allows 26 weeks when caring for a service member.
- Paid Family Leave – Some states have enacted additional family leave provisions.
- Support Groups – Some employers organize in-house support groups for caregivers.
A white paper from the FCA encourages employers to plan for caregiving contingencies. They found that if economics were no concern, employers would like to give much more support than they already do, including more paid time off and education and support for caregivers. Further, the paper encourages more funding for community-based services for caregivers and their seniors.
If you’re a caregiver who’s struggling to maintain a career and care for your loved one, be sure to consult with the resources listed above, and talk to your family about ways in which they can help you make the best possible decisions. Armed with support and information, you’ll find it much easier to take care of everything that matters most.
Would a medical alert device help ease your caregiver role strain? Learn more about the device that’s best for you and your senior loved one.