It’s estimated that six in 10 family caregivers of adults age 50 and over also work full or part-time. Additionally, half of the workforce are prepared to care for an elder in the next 5 years.
COVID has only exacerbated the need for caregiving due to school and senior center closures, with two-thirds of U.S. caregivers being women. Already largely socialized to put their needs on the back burner, this can often lead to the reprioritization of their careers.
A recent study by AARP and S&P Global found that 60% of women who are attempting to balance work and caregiving duties are now responsible for more care than before the pandemic. Because of this, it’s unsurprising 75% of these workers/caregivers have also reported a significant increase in stress levels.
Luckily, there are ways to alleviate some of the burden.
Plan a conversation with your HR manager.
It’s important to keep your job in lock step with any pending interruptions to your work performance due to caregiver duties. Have a conversation about any flexibility in policies that may make life easier while still getting your job done well. From time off, adjusted work arrival or departure times to even working from home, having a sit down with your work team is necessary.
Separate the two.
Keeping your world of caretaking apart from your career is recommended. For instance, scheduling calls and doctor’s appointments during lunch hour, or conducting research on the weekend can help with keeping those two important aspects of your life straight.
Ask for help if needed.
Caretaking can be incredibly stressful so there’s nothing wrong with enlisting help if needed. Looking into local support services, online communities of support or asking other family members to step in can help alleviate some of the pressure.