We usually start asking that question when Mom or Dad has a medical emergency and you work full time. You spring into action, stay flexible and focus on the need at hand. Then you need to put your work aside repeatedly to deal with your parents’ urgent medical issues. It can be extraordinarily stressful for you and, I’m sure, no picnic for your employer.
That medical issue can be any one of many issues that requires additional time commitments and focus, including: broken bones (hip, shoulder, leg, arm, etc), wound care, heart, kidney, several days at a rehabilitation center, medication adjustments, memory diagnosis, diabetes complications, other complications and depression; as well as being unable to perform daily functions as a result of this avalanche of medical emergencies. Your world will turn into chaos.
Millions of Americans face similar challenges and must make the painful choice between the care of their families and the paycheck they desperately need. Some workers have it especially difficult, having inflexible work schedules or schedules that are so unpredictable that it’s all but impossible for them to plan for caregiving.
Since you may find yourself trying to take on emergency caregiving duties while remaining employed, I thought I’d offer a few tips, based on my own experience and caregiving experts’ recommendations.
Talk Candidly With Your Boss
As soon as you know you will need to take off hours and sometimes days, let your boss know. That helps when beginning to coordinate your plans and gives your employer an idea of what you are facing. Hopefully, your boss will be understanding.
Not every employer is as sympathetic, though. Experts have told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at public meetings about workplace discrimination that unlawful employment discrimination based on caregiving responsibilities has become a widespread problem.
Use the Family and Medical Leave Act if You Can
If you’re fortunate to work for a company where you can take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which can be a godsend for caregivers that qualify, take it!
Under this law, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a variety of reasons, including caring for a parent with a serious health condition. If possible, you should discuss a planned leave with your human resources department 30 days in advance. Of course, if an emergency arises, you’ll need to act more quickly.
Push Your Parent’s Doctor’s Office
No surprise that using the family leave law means dealing with mounds of government paperwork. You’ll need written certification from your parent’s physician that the condition meets the tests to let you take an unpaid leave. Otherwise, the law won’t let your manager approve it.
Some doctor’s offices are better at expediting family leave forms than others. So you may need to hound your parent’s doctor’s office — as if you’ll have the time or patience for that when your parents are in dire straits.
Ask if Your Employer Has Other Caregiving Benefits
You may be fortunate to also have a generous Parental and Serious Illness Leave policy, allowing two weeks’ paid time off to care for a family member.
Check with your manager or human resources department to see whether your employer offers caregiving benefits aside from the federal law’s unpaid family leave. For instance, there may be an Employee Assistance Program that can help you find a caregiving agency or assisted living community near your parents.
Change Your Work Hours Temporarily
Plan a strategy that will provide you as much flexibility as needed and still allow you to fulfill your work commitments. It may mean getting to work 3 or 4 hours earlier, or staying later. If your job has work that can be done while you spend time in waiting rooms, it is a big plus. Plan on computer time at night, after visiting hours is over at the hospital and the rehab center. If your employer offers flexible work schedules or telecommuting (as about one-quarter of companies do), talk with your manager about using one of these options, temporarily.
Consider Hiring Senior Care Professionals
The best place to start is with an evaluation at an assisted living facility. You can evaluate the place, and the medical professionals can meet your parent and you. This can assess your caregiving situation, provide you with a care plan, and even help assist with coordinating home and community-based services your loved one may need.
Vista Living Senior Care offers complimentary evaluations to make sure we can help and your parent or loved one can thrive. Vista Living Senior Care is a place to make friends, enjoy the meals and activities, but most importantly trust the level of care provided. At Vista Living Senior Care, you’ll see and feel the difference right away.
At Vista Living Senior Care, our team helps seniors improve the quality of their life by making our purpose built 10 resident Luxury Senior Care Homes in the Phoenix Arcadia area something special. We focus on Care, Healthier Diet and an Activity Program Focused on Smiles & Laughter.
Sit and Be FIT exercises start our days and attendance is impressive with no one showing up late.
We urge you to consider Vista Living Senior Care for your loved one, please schedule a tour and learn how we can help. We know we have something special. Let us show you.
For more information please call Vista Living Senior Care at 480-456-1919 or Visit VistaLiving.net.