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Balancing Caregiving and Your Career

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The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP estimate that 70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual roles. Moreover, caregivers are forced to miss an average of 6.6 days of work annually because of their caregiving responsibilities. The annual cost of lost productivity due to caregiver absenteeism amounts to more than $25 billion. Such a loss in productivity doesn’t only affect the employer, it affects career-minded employees as well.

This balancing act between providing care while working full or part time can be both stressful and exhausting. is committed to helping its working caregivers be successful at caregiving and their job. Read on to learn more about caregiving, the importance of taking care of yourself and the resources can provide to its working caregivers.

What is Caregiving?
Caregiving is the process of providing care to sick, disabled, or elderly friends and family. Although some people seek aid from paid caregivers, most receive their care from loved ones to avoid additional financial burdens.

The average caregiver is middle-aged, between 35-64 years old. However, caregiving can occur at any age. Caregiving entails a variety of demands and responsibilities, each one depending on the care situation. These expectations may include the following:

  • Being aware of the friend or family member’s condition and how best to take care of him or her
  • Having knowledge of emergency action plans for the friend or family member’s condition
  • Taking care of household errands and meal preparations
  • Running errands such as grocery shopping or picking up medicine
  • Providing transportation to medical appointments, procedures and the pharmacy
  • Helping with everyday tasks such as bathing, eating, taking medicine or physical therapy

The Effects of Caregiving
Caregiving often ends up becoming a physical, mental and financial burden for the caregiver. The demands of both caregiving and a part-time or full-time job can leave those involved exhausted. PBS News reports that the average age of caregivers is 49, which is a peak year for career achievement and financial stability. Nonetheless, about 10% of caregivers end up quitting their jobs to provide full-time care, losing substantial income.

The most common result of caregiving while balancing a job is stress. If left untreated, chronic stress can develop into the following health problems and increase the risk of hefty health care costs:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Sleeping problems
  • Heart complications
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Digestive issues

Resources for Caregivers
The demand for caregiving is expected to increase in the near future, as the aging baby boomers will soon double the population of those who require care. Here at , we want to help you manage caregiving responsibilities and your job as best we can. Take advantage of the following resources if you are struggling to balance your career with the demands of caregiving:

  • Adjusting Work Hours—Talk to your manager about shift flexibility and how to make your schedule easier to manage. This could entail switching to a part-time schedule, telecommuting, altering your hours or setting limits on mandatory overtime.
  • HR and Employee Assistance Program—Be sure to discuss your EAP options with your HR representative or other knowledgeable staff members. They will likely be able to provide detailed information on care management and company leave policies, as well as determine if your situation qualifies you for any benefits.
  • Stress Management—Talk to your manager and other co-workers about organizing stress-relieving activities at the workplace, such as a group yoga class or company walk.