February 6th, 2019 | BY: Allegra Chaney

Juggling Work and Caregiving: Advice for Finding Balance

Dear Allegra:

My mom had neck surgery just over a year ago. My sister was caring for her while trying to work at the same time which was tough. So, we moved our mom from Philadelphia to Texas to live with my husband and me. I’m retired and my husband worked out his schedule to be home half of the day.

Mom’s surgery left her with nerve damage and she was unable to lift her left arm when she first moved to Texas. We have done everything we can to make our home comfortable for her including making modifications to the bathroom.

While we are still wondering if moving her here was the right thing to do, her health has improved considerably. She is able to manage her daily personal care needs, and I cook, clean, and do the laundry. But mom spends a lot of her time indoors and doesn’t go on many outings.

In addition to caring for my mom, I also care for my two granddaughters every day while my daughter works. She is a single mom struggling to make ends meet.

My husband and I are overwhelmed at times trying to juggle everything. While my mom has the financial means to pay for in-home care, my daughter doesn’t have that option.

Do you have any suggestions to help us make this situation easier to manage? We would appreciate any advice.

Thanks,

Alice

Advice for Finding Balance

Dear Alice:

Wow! That does seem like an overwhelming schedule to try to manage. While it is a great opportunity for three generations of your family to bond, juggling work and caregiving can be difficult, so finding ways to balance it all is a must.

Caregivers who don’t take time for themselves often experience a health crisis of their own. It sounds like you and your husband could be at risk for caregiver burnout.

There are a few avenues of support I would suggest you consider:

Senior-friendly Outings

Since it sounds like you are concerned your mom is spending too much time at home, you might want to explore opportunities for her to participate in activities and events close to you. Depending on her personal situation, you could start by looking at senior centers or adult day centers. Senior centers are typically for more active adults, while adult day centers are for older adults who have some physical or cognitive challenges. The good news is that many adult day programs offer transportation from your home to the center. Getting out once or twice a week might be great for your mother—and you!

Homemaker Services

Family caregivers often say the burden of keeping up with laundry, housework, and meals is too much when combined with providing hands-on care. If you feel that way too, there are options. In-home caregivers can be employed to assist you with laundry, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. That would take a considerable burden off of you, freeing up some of your time. These caregivers are experienced at working with older adults and their families. This is a budget-friendly option for your mother to consider utilizing.

Respite Care

Another choice to consider is respite care. Aides could come to your home once in awhile to stay the day, or even overnight, allowing you and your husband to take a break. It might be one night a week or several nights over a long weekend when your daughter can be home to care for her children. Respite is designed to give caregivers a much-needed break to relax and recharge as needed.

I hope this helps you and your husband find better balance, including taking time out for yourselves.

Kind Regards,

Allegra