Keeping your Job while Caregiving

Woman working

[By Brenda Avarian]

How do you make sure you’ll keep your job when you need to take time off continually to care for a loved one?

The responsibilities of caring for an elder loved one are similar to a parent caring for a child. When an emergency occurs and you are the sole caregiver what are your options?

Do you leave to care for your loved one?

Have you made prior arrangements with a helpful and willing neighbor, friend, or family member?

Do you have an employer who understands and allows you the flexibility to make up the time/work?

There is no easy answer, but it possible to arrange options with the cooperation of your employer and co-workers.

Although, the Family and Medical Leave Act grants employees twelve weeks of unpaid leave without risk of losing their jobs, can you afford three months without pay?

Instead, learn as much as you can about your loved one’s disease or illness in order to know what to expect. Talk with caregiver friends, search the Internet, and talk with your loved one’s doctor, in order to be better prepared when you need to take urgent action. You’ll be less stressed if you develop support networks to balance work and caregiving.

Then keep your employer and your support network of family, friends, church members, neighbors, and others routinely informed. Keeping your employer apprised of your at-home challenges while reminding him/her of your commitment to being a productive member of the team will help remove his/her fears about your loyalty and your continued performance. Don’t overdo the updates; just be consistent such as a monthly update if emergencies are few. You can then work together to find appropriate solutions given your job responsibilities–such as flex-time, working from home, job sharing, or even temporary leave.

There are only so many hours in a day. And you have so much energy. Have confidence that everyone shares common experiences to overcome to life’s challenges. Keep the people in your life informed and they will be available to help you when you need them.

About the Author

Brenda Avadian, MA, hosts Ask The Caregiver’s Voice at, where caregiving-related questions are answered. Brenda is an award-winning speaker who serves as a national spokesperson for family and professional caregivers and is an acclaimed author of eight books. Brenda advocates the caregiving continuum, using support groups, geriatric assessment, educational sessions, in-home care, adult day care, elder law services, clinical studies, and residential, assisted living, or nursing care. Having been a caregiver, she now brings hope and strength to caregivers around the world through knowledge, humor, and tears of joy.

Article Source: Keeping Your Job while Caregiving