Finding Long-Term Assistance for the Working Caregiver
Exploring available resources helps navigate long-term care planning
(Editor's note: This content is provided by Oasis Senior Advisors, a Next Avenue sponsor.)
Working caregivers experience many challenges while trying to maintain a healthy balance between work and life. They manage two full-time jobs: taking care of a loved one while also working full-time and attending to their own daily family lives. Many still worry about how they will continue to manage all of their work and personal responsibilities. Much of the caregiving challenge lies in understanding diseases like dementia as well as in the unknown and the unexpected. When a long-term plan is in place and you find a team that supports your caregiving responsibilities, life can be much less stressful.
Caregiving Hours Per Week
Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care. Nearly one in four caregivers spends 41 hours or more per week providing care, according to a 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.
Managing Caregiving While Working
Many working caregivers are put in challenging positions with having to rearrange work schedules, decrease work hours and take unpaid leave to keep up with caregiver needs. Unfortunately some even have to leave their current jobs to find a company that offers caregiving resources as a part of their benefits package.
Impact on Working Caregivers
The impact of caregiving on most working adults is substantial. By setting a goal to achieve a balance between caregiving, work and personal life, you can establish a happier, longer term solution. Knowing that many of the practical concerns have been set in advance can be a big relief. Caregivers tend to be natural helpers and are sometimes at risk for overextending their physical, mental or financial health. Seeking guidance before a care crisis happens can help diffuse the situation and provide immediate solutions for your family. At some point it might be time to evaluate if you might need a long-term solution for senior housing.
According to a 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 70 percent of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual roles. Many caregivers feel they have no choice about taking on caregiving responsibilities (49 percent). This sense of obligation is even higher in caregivers that provide 21 or more hours of care per week (59 percent) and live-in caregivers (64 percent). Sixty percent of caregivers in 2015 were employed at one point while also caregiving.
"I don't know how my mom managed being a working caregiver. She was in the middle of raising four teenagers, and my stepdad was out of town working," said Tracy S. "We came together as a family to help, but most of the responsibility was on her. In hindsight, I wish there would have been a better, more educated support system for her."
Seek Professional Guidance
Oasis Senior Advisors can help find alternative solutions for caregivers when it's the right time for senior housing. We personalize the caregiving journey and make the transition process easier by finding the right community and care. Our advisors understand how to guide you through a wide variety of personal situations and give you a real-world road map. We work with assisted living, independent living, memory care, skilled nursing homes, dementia and Alzheimer's care. One of the benefits in utilizing the services of Oasis Senior Advisors is that our assistance is always free.
Employer Assistance for the Working Caregiver
A service such as Oasis Senior Advisors is beneficial for the older adult and the caregiver, but is further expanded when employers become part of the support system. Just as employers provide consultations on health or mental wellness, companies like AARP and Cleveland Clinic are adding caregiving aid to their compensation package. Providing even more potential assistance would be for employers to supply a free personalized caregiving plan like Oasis Senior Advisors. With more employees requesting this benefit, the more likely companies will be to offer it as a part of their plan.
Best Practices for Equal Employment for the Working Caregiver
A 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being survey suggests that employers should provide the following:
• An employee assistance plan to promote discussions about emotional distress experienced by the working caregiver
• Access to health counselors or "ask a nurse" for information on the care receiver's condition
• Access to counselors or others to make referrals and give advice about assisted living or nursing homes
Utilizing Available Resources
Unlike major life events that are easily navigated, having the responsibility of caregiving while working brings a unique set of circumstances. You need to make decisions on behalf of a loved one, many of which need to be made in advance. Seeking a reputable and professional organization can provide resources that you otherwise may not have been offered. Whether you need memory care or are looking for a more independent living solution, Oasis Senior Advisors can assist. Our services are completely free for older adults and their families. Your advisor selects matches based on your unique needs. We make sure all of your questions are answered. You will receive relevant information that we genuinely believe will be of value. To find out more, visit www.oasissenioradvisors.com or call 800-319-2319.