Women Caregivers Face Added Problems at Work

Half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter, according to a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network.

In addition, one quarter (25 percent) of daughters find there is a workplace stigma in being a caregiver, and 23 percent believe their supervisor is unsympathetic.

According to SHRM, working female caregivers spend on average approximately 60 percent more time caring for aging loved ones, compared to their male counterparts (9.1 hours a week vs. 5.7 hours).

Furthermore, research from Home Instead shows that women are twice as likely as men to spend more than 30 hours a week on caregiving, as many women are a part of the sandwich generation – caring for an aging parent or relative while also caring for their own children.

Caregivers: Know Your Rights!

A new website also launching today, DaughtersintheWorkplace.com, includes an interactive quiz that helps educate the adult children of aging parents about the protected family-leave rights that may be available to them.

Additionally, the website includes conversation starters and health tips for working caregivers, as well as communication tips for employers and signs caregiving employees need support.

“Unfortunately, many family caregivers often don’t even realize the benefits they are eligible to receive from their employers,” explained Drew Holzapfel, ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time) convener. “Working caregivers might not know they can use FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) for senior care, or they might not know how to access their EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Flex time may also have a stigma to these employees.”

• Home Instead Is Some Advice for Caregivers:

• Be realistic. Take time to understand how much you can do to take care of a loved one, do well at your job and stay healthy.

• Honesty is the best policy. Be honest with yourself and your employer about what you need. Create a plan that contains ways you can complete your work and still meet your loved one’s needs.

• Think Creatively. Think outside the box to offer solutions that work for you, your employer and others facing their own caregiving challenges.

• Get plenty of rest. Think about ways you can enhance the quality of your sleep. This will help you feel empowered and handle life’s daily challenges.

• Take one day at a time. Face the challenges of the day, but try not to look too far ahead. Caring for an older adult is unpredictable and requires a measured approach.

• Arrange for help including respite care. Check with your employer about any back-up emergency services your employer might offer through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Think about ways others can help you. Check with your Area Agency on Aging (www.n4a.org) for community resources or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care® office to learn how professional caregiving can help you.

• Educate your employer. Your employer may not understand the kinds of issues you are facing. Do what you can to explain the kinds of challenges you are facing.

• Look for ways to give back. If your employer offers flexibility and help, think about ways to pay it forward with your manager and co-workers. If you are able to do something extra, step up to the plate!

• Be organized. Honing your organizational skills could go a long way toward staying on top of your work and easing your anxiety. Find a free online calendar at TheBalance.

• Find support. Use your company’s EAP to find out what assistance your employer may offer. Join a support group in your area. Expand your network by looking to your faith community or friends for emotional support. You can connect with others going through the same circumstances. Make time for coffee or a move, or join friends in an exercise class at your local YMCA.

Find out more at HomeInstead.

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