Creating a work / life balance is something that most of us struggle with on a day-to-day basis. Between managing a career, tending to a family and trying to find time for ourselves, life gets busy, and most days, we plead for an extra hour or two of time to get things done.
Achieving work / life balance is especially important and challenging for the 65 million Americans caring for elderly loved ones. Without it, health, happiness, financial stability and the ability to continue offering caregiving assistance is often sacrificed.
To achieve this essential balance, family caregivers need support. Many struggle to ask for it and accept assistance when it is offered. Taking this step requires some action on the caregivers’ part. It might feel uncomfortable, but the end results are worth the effort. If you are struggling in this area, here are some actionable steps that many have found effective.
Managing Work Responsibilities
Achieving work/life balance is not possible without the support of the companies we work for. Fortunately, many corporations are realizing the importance of offering assistance. They are taking steps to help employees achieve balance. This benefits those seeking to hire and retain top talent. Job sharing, looser limitations on sick time and improved family assistance programs are some of the benefits we are seeing in more workplaces. Here are a few tips for learning more about and taking advantage of the benefits offered by your company.
Human Resources – This is the department responsible for managing benefits and ensuring employee satisfaction. Get to know a representative in this department. Ask about the benefits offered. Discuss your specific needs, and brainstorm about ways to meet them while still serving the best interests of the organization. Some of the programs worth discussing include flex-time, paid medical leave, corporate respite programs, telecommuting and EAP. It is also a good idea to become familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act. It protects your job when taking time off is necessary to meet the medical needs of a frail loved one.
Talk to Your Boss – A good boss is an ally to employees, working with them to achieve success. If balancing your personal and professional needs is difficult, schedule a sit down with a superior. Explain what you are willing and able to do for the company. Ask what you need the company to do for you. Discuss work situations including flex scheduling, job sharing or delegating some of your day-to-day tasks to others. This type of open dialogue is often appreciated by members of management and an effective way to see positive results quickly.
Get Organized – Some of the responsibility for achieving work/life balance always falls on the individual. That is why it is important to get organized. Use a calendar, create folders for emails and consolidate the number of places you need to look for the information you need to get your job done. Minimize time spent in unnecessary meetings, discover an effective way to use a checklist, and schedule breaks between meetings or tasks to allow for brain breaks. By properly scheduling your day, you reduce wasted time, work faster and more efficiently and achieve more without the need for regular overtime.
Achieving Balance at Home
Even when work is not the issue, family caregivers often have a difficult time balancing their personal lives with the needs of seniors in their care. When taking on responsibility for an aging loved one, take time for yourself. Teach others to respect your personal time too. Learn to say no when things get to be too much. Ask family members and friends to chip in and help once in awhile so you have time for a much needed break. If budget allows, hire a professional respite caregiver to assist. Assign responsibilities to others in the household that match their abilities, and hold them accountable. This not only helps you to create balance for your mental, physical and emotional health, but it gives everyone a purpose and contributes to healthy family dynamics.
Whether you are offering full-time care to an aging loved one or part-time assistance with personal care, housekeeping or financial matters, your own needs still matter. Creating work/life balance among the chaos makes you a happier human being. It helps you to feel more competent in your role as a caregiver too.
Salus Homecare San Gabriel Valley supports family caregivers as they fill this important role and help seniors to enjoy happy, healthy and productive lives at home. We recognize that caring for another person often brings new challenges and difficult changes in life. If you are seeking to restore some semblance of work/life balance, we are here to help. Call us anytime to schedule a free, no obligation consultation and learn more about our accredited home care and home health programs.
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