Sonia Goncalves 2017-12-08 23:02:31
Daughters in the workplace Mom and dad may need them but their bosses are not sympathetic. Often it comes down to a difficult choice. I nitially, it was just taking dad to a few appointments here and there as his vision declined and driving became unsafe. Then it became running small errands, and checking in daily to ensure he was taking his medication before dinner. After dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he eventually needed all his meals prepared for him, assistance with personal hygiene and someone to make sure the bills were paid and the lights stayed on. Before Carole knew it, she was spending over 20 hours a week caring for her father and helping her mother on top of her full-time job working as a financial planner. Gradually, her boss began to keep track of how often she left the office early and coworkers began questioning why her father needed so much care. One afternoon, as Carole was rushing out of the office to get dad to a doctor’s appointment, her boss gave her a choice: her father’s care or her job. For many working caregivers this scenario is all too familiar. A recent survey found that half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being “a good employee” or “being a good daughter.” On top of this, a quarter of working daughters find there is a workplace stigma associated with caring for an aging parent, and 23 per cent have found that their supervisor is unsympathetic. We often hear about the challenges of working women who are raising young children, but rarely do we discuss the challenges they face while navigating a career when caring for an aging parent. In an effort to start a conversation about how working family caregivers can be better supported. The challenges facing working caregivers are of course gender neutral and the tips provided can assist both males and females. However, with Statistics Canada research showing that women are almost twice as likely as their male counterparts to spend 20 or more hours per week on caregiving tasks, it’s important to acknowledge the stigma and challenge facing many women navigating the dual struggles of working full time and caring for an aging loved one. In doing so, we can make the workplace better for both employees and their employers—and, at the same time, help loved ones receive the care they need. Sonia Goncalves is the Director of Client and Community Services at Home Instead Senior Care (Toronto East). Read about Home Instead’s “Daughters in the Workplace” public education program at daughtersintheworkplace.ca When duty calls... 1 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. 2 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. 3 Think Creatively. Think outside the box to offer solutions that work for you, your employer and others facing their own caregiving challenges. 4 get plenty of rest. Find ways to enhance the quality of your sleep. This will help you feel empowered and handle life’s daily challenges. 5 Take one day at a time. Try not to look too far ahead. Caring for an older adult is unpredictable and requires a measured approach. 6 Educate your employer. Your employer may not understand the kinds of issues you are facing. Do what you can to explain your challenges. 7 Give back. If your employer offers flexibility and help, think about ways to pay it forward with your manager and co-workers. 8 Arrange for help. Check with your employer about any back-up emergency care services your company might offer. 9 Be organized. Honing your organizational skills could go a long way toward staying on top of your work and managing stress. 10 Find support. Find out what assistance your employer may offer through your company’s EAP (Employer Assistance Program). Join a support group in your area. Contact your local Alzheimer’s Society to learn what’s available in your area that could help. 25% of working daughters feel there is “caregiving stigma.” Source: homeinstead.ca
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