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Finding Balance Between Your Career and Caregiving

Caring for a loved one with a dementia-related disorder is an around-the-clock commitment, and many caregivers take on this role while still working full time – reporting lower productivity, lost wages, health issues and more. Due to these challenges, juggling your career and caregiving can be difficult, but there are ways to help you manage both.

Find work-life balance with these tips.

Get Organized

Keeping track of your schedule – including meetings, appointments, etc. – on a daily, weekly and even monthly basis can help you stay on top of work and caregiving commitments.

Communicate With Your Employer

While it may seem unprofessional to bring issues in your home life to work, it’s important to be open and honest with your employer. Knowing your situation, they can help you come to a solution that works for all parties involved.

  • Propose alternate working arrangements – such as flex time, compressed workweeks (e.g., working 10 hour days), working fewer hours or telecommuting
  • Check with human resources to see if you are eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Don’t Blend Roles

Keep your work and caregiving roles separate, as much as possible, to ensure you are fulfilling both commitments to the best of your abilities.

  • Schedule appointments and take calls related to your loved one during your lunch break or after hours
  • Don’t bring work home with you and don’t feel obligated to answer emails off the clock, unless it’s absolutely necessary

Ask for Help

Overextending yourself or improperly managing an increasing workload can lead to burnout. Lean on your family/friends at home and coworkers at work, whenever possible, for support.

  • Create a network of trusted family, friends and neighbors who can help with your loved one while you’re away
  • Keep your coworkers or team updated if you need assistance with projects or duties, especially if it impacts their workload

Make Your Health a Priority

You can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Stay up to date on doctor appointments, accept your limitations, and reduce stress by prioritizing time to rest and rejuvenate – mentally, physically and emotionally.

  • Get quality sleep, aiming for at least eight hours per night; eat well-balanced meals; and exercise daily
  • Do daily activities that bring you joy, peace and comfort – like taking a bubble bath or meditating

Seek Out Community Resources

Through the National Family Caregiver Support Program, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) provide support to caregivers – including respite care, counseling and support groups, education classes/training and emergency assistance.

Visit your local AAA to learn more and check out these other resources:

You can also utilize services from organizations specializing in dementia care – such as the respite care and day program offered at James L. West – nursing homes, home health aides and more to ensure your loved one’s needs are met while you’re on the job. Contact our dementia care experts today at caregiver@jameslwest.org or 817-877-1199 .