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A Fine Balance:Juggling Caregiving And A Full-Time Job

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My life changed so quickly. My mother suffered a minor stroke and subsequent pulmonary embolism. She was hospitalized twice and was also battling the onset of dementia. My mom has always been so independent, even to the point of joining me and my friends for the occasional happy hour (pre-COVID 19). But now she really needed my help. Her memory was failing, and while she wasn’t incapacitated, she needed help keeping track of medications, doctor’s appointments, and light housekeeping.
Of course, by the time my mom got sick, my corporate job was busier than ever. I often worked long hours, albeit at home, to keep things organized while trying to keep an eye on my mother. Any life I had outside of work and my mother seemed to be disappearing. Burnout was on the horizon.
Juggling care and full-time work is not uncommon. According to researchers, in 2014 there were an estimated 23.9 million caregivers who also had part-time jobs. So how do you find the balance between caring and a full-time job? Here are some things I’ve learned:
Juggling care and full-time work is not uncommon. According to researchers, in 2014 there were an estimated 23.9 million caregivers who also had part-time jobs. So how do you find the balance between caring and a full-time job? Here are some things I’ve learned:
Get organized. This means organizing your life in a way that allows you to be effective in both caregiving and your job. I started my morning an hour earlier than usual. That way, I was able to meditate early in the morning, have breakfast, and do my paperwork before being inundated with emails and phone calls. I also set up a calendar for my mom so she can easily keep track of her doctor appointments. The family invested in a 30-day pill box with an alarm that made it easier for my mother to know which pills to take and when.
Get help. Although my sisters lived on the opposite coast, they came out to take care of my mother. Although a full-time nurse was not necessary, we were able to have a nurse come in twice a week to check on my mother and her medication. The home nurse was covered by Medicare. This help from others was invaluable. I was able to regroup and devote time to things that required my attention at home.
take time for yourself even if you only have 30 minutes left, spend them with yourself. The “me time” can be used to relax, meditate, spend time with friends or just take a long bath. You also need to take care of your health. Get some exercise like a nice walk and eat well. If you feel sick, take the time to see a doctor. You cannot help a loved one if you are not healthy.
Talk to others who might be in the same situation. Reach out to peers who have also been caring for a sick or aging loved one. Not only are these people a source of wisdom and encouragement, but they will also make you feel like you are not alone.

Balancing caregiving and full-time work is never easy. But if you have a plan, both are possible.

Thanks to Leslie C Smith

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