Balancing Work and Caregiving
The MetLife Mature Market Institute did a study in June of 2003 in which they found that both male and female children of aging parents make changes at work in order to accommodate caregiving responsibilities. Both have modified their schedules (men 54%, women 56%). Both have come in late and/or leave early (men 78%, women 84%) and both have altered their work-related travel (men 38%, women 27%).
In another study, MetLife found that American businesses lose between $11 billion and $29 billion each year due to their employees’ need to care for loved ones 50 years of age or older.
On the average, caregivers who work outside the home spend more hours each week caring for their aging loved ones than they do at their jobs. Clearly, the combination of employment and caregiving is having a huge impact on our society. Especially as baby boomers age, they may have young children at home as well as aging parents who require care. And by the way, with a job to tend to, how do you keep focused? What resources are available to you? How can you do a good job with both your job and your family?
You may decide to cut down on your work hours in order to spend more time with your loved one. Be aware that scaling down to a part-time schedule can have a powerful impact on you. You may lose benefits or pension credits. You may not be considered for advancement opportunities at your organization.
Many employees caring for an elderly person find that they use all their free time with their loved one, using vacation time, personal days, etc. for caregiving activities like doctors’ appointments and illnesses. You may also find that you are more tired than usual, or more distracted by the demands of caregiving.
In this instance, working part-time may be a perfect compromise. You keep your employment, and all of the fulfillment and social interactions that provides, and you have more time to devote to your loved one. This is a decision only you can make, based on your individual financial situation and your relationship with your loved one.