Just saw an interesting little survey done by Denise of CareGiving.com with family caregivers who also work. There are no surprises in the results, but it reinforces our own experience, at Support For Home In-Home Care.
Denise asked working family caregivers at a resource fair to select any or all of the following needs:
A way to get my family members to doctors appointments without taking time off from work.
A way to get to work on time because a family member needs my help and care in the morning.
A way to get my work done during my family members’ health care crises, including hospitalizations.
A way to plan for my future while caring for my family.
A way to manage my stress and worry related to caring and helping my family members.
All of the above.
The survey results, in order of importance, came back:
1. A way to manage my stress and worry related to caring and helping my family members.
2. A way to plan for my future while caring for my family.
3. All of the above.
At Support For Home In-Home Care, we see this over and over again. No matter how good family caregivers are, they simply cannot carry the load by themselves. Part of the issue is time. Part of the challenge is knowledge, skills and expertise. Part of the problem is the loving familial relationship is challenged and can break down under the stresses of physical, personal, on-going care and decision-making concerning the person receiving care. This all adds up to incredible stress for the family caregiver, whether they are working or not. Getting professional help really is critical, for both the family caregiver and, frankly, the care recipient.
For the working caregiver, the issues are even more complex. Many of these caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers. They cannot afford not to work, in terms of their families’ needs, but also for their own future aging – Social Security, Long-Term Care Insurance premiums, IRAs or 401Ks, medical insurance, … Obtaining at least some care from professionals is key to being able to deal with immediate needs, but also, as the survey puts it, “plan for my future…”
As I have written many times, family caregivers have the toughest job of all. Combining that with an outside job means the family caregiver really needs to reach out for help. That may mean friends, other relatives, church, social groups, … Many times it also means talking to a very reputable, high integrity, high quality home care agency.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Best wishes. Bert