Two-thirds of caregivers in the United States work outside of the home. This creates a unique challenge for both working caregivers and their employers. Juggling caregiving and work-related responsibilities are not easy and some caregivers find it necessary to turn down job opportunities, quit their jobs, or take early retirement. Employers face the costs of replacing valuable employees. By working together, employees and employers can create a workplace environment that is productive and meets everyone’s needs.
Important Reminders for Caregivers
- Plan ahead to be sure you have the supplies and resources you need.
- Learn about available resources that can lend support.
- Take one day at a time.
- Develop contingency plans for emergencies and obstacles.
- Accept help – don’t take on more than you can handle.
- Make YOUR health a priority.
- Get enough rest and eat properly.
- Make time for leisure.
- Be good to yourself!
- Share your feelings with others – it’s okay to be tired and frustrated.
How to Support Caregivers
- Show your appreciation and offer to help your caregivers. Not everyone is equipped to perform hands-on care, there are other tasks you can do to support caregivers including home repairs, shopping, cooking, lawn care, and many others.
- Keep consistent contact with caregivers to offer them a chance to talk and release some of the tension and stress of the job. Many caregivers feel very socially isolated and need to hear a friendly voice to assure them that they are not alone.
- Find ways to show your gratitude for the caregiver’s sacrifice. Mention that you appreciate the mental, physical and emotional burdens that caring for a vulnerable person has laid upon their shoulders.
- Encourage the caregiver to practice self-care every day. That may be a fifteen minutes quiet meditation or a walk, whatever suits the caregiver’s preference to recharge their own mental and physical batteries.
- Inject fun and surprises into a caregiver’s day. Make a surprise visit with presents, food, and music. Be creative.
- Find qualified respite care. Respite care is often covered by insurance policies or available through local aging service providers. Respite care gives the caregiver and your loved one a chance to interact with different people and places. Caregivers need respite care to use as personal time or time to shop knowing that their loved one is in a safe place.