Having a career while caring for aging parents

Caring for aging parents can be pretty time-consuming and challenging to handle. This is especially true if you are trying to juggle this responsibility alongside a career. The average American is now living longer than ever before. Still, elderly care is not quite satisfyingly regulated to provide more sustainable support and depends on the location and individual situation. This makes the families experience significant impacts concerning the care of their elderly relatives. 

As it was from the dawn of humanity, it is not unusual for adult children to be tasked with taking care of their parents. As long as possible, the seniors will continue living independently and aging in place. Support of the family comes in handy when the declining health starts to influence more everyday activities. Some parents require a level of care that can be a bit overwhelming and challenging to handle. Combining that with your job and family makes it all more complicated and stressful.

The good news is that there are many options available. With good planning, you’ll find that balancing a career and your caretaking role is much easier than you initially anticipated. 

What are the options?

Let’s take a closer look at some tips and resources that make the transition process much more manageable.

To begin with, you must take a good hard look at your financial situation. Taking care of an aging parent may represent a high cost. That discovery can be a bit overwhelming for the vast majority of children. Instead of avoiding the potentially awkward conversation surrounding finances, it is best to have a frank discussion with your parents regarding their financial status as soon as possible. Find out about the precise extents and limits of their insurance, what is covered and what is not included. This will enable you to know whether you will need to provide financial assistance to care for them properly. Not having this knowledge is likely to lead you to become very stressed out and wondering what would happen if you need to quit or change your job.

Seeking out the assistance of a qualified financial planner may also be of help. They can provide you with a heightened understanding of the economic situation with potential perks and problems. For example, if you provide over half of a parent’s food or rent, they can investigate if you can claim them as a dependent on your taxes.

As a primary family caregiver for your parents, you may qualify for state and local caregiver support resources and even financial assistance. You might need to officially register your position as a caregiver in legal terms to access these services. This legal status will allow you to access your parents’ medical records, make decisions on their behalf and handle their financial affairs. This can become important should your parents reach the state where they can no longer do all these things themselves. 

Also, depending on your profession, job position, and employer’s company policies, you might have the possibility of getting reduced work hours and free days in emergency or crisis cases. It is good to discuss this with your superiors and explain clearly your circumstances and entitled responsibilities. In this way, they will know what they can expect, and also you will know what kind of support you can get in your workplace. This will ease your burden to be more focused on your work and less stressed out and panicked when the emergency occurs.

You may believe that becoming a caregiver is a responsibility that you are destined to deal with around the clock with no breaks, but that is not true. It is acceptable to seek out the outside aide to get a break and provide the necessary help and care for your parents, especially if there are not many other family members who can share the load of duties. Failing to do so can lead to you becoming burnt out and foster a sense of resentment. Some options to consider adult daycares or an in-home caregiver. It is important to note that both have a financial commitment, but the relief provided by their assistance is invaluable. 

Adult daycares are a great option because the staff can assist in all seniors’ daily needs and because of their peers’ company. If they live alone, seniors often feel lonely and bored. That is why maintaining a social life is of great importance for seniors’ well-being. If you opt for an in-home caregiver, you can hire independent service providers or go through professional caregiving agencies. You can start with someone who will help your parents do the household chores, run errands, help with meal preparation, drive them to gatherings and appointments and make sure they take their medications. A caregiver companionship is beneficial for seniors as they tend to feel abandoned, depressed and anxious.

Some other options come with longer commitments. Depending on your parents’ financial and health situation, you can consider independent living communities, assisted living communities, or nursing homes. Each option offers different settings and amenities, so you need to evaluate your parents’ exact needs and count on possible future scenarios. If your parents have specific health issues that require specialized assistance, you will need to include this in your requirements. This provides mobility issues, memory care, different therapies, etc. Be prepared that your parents’ health status may change suddenly, and this can change the plans.

Long gone are the days of scrambling to ensure you have all of the necessary information to care for your parents properly. You can easily do the research and present different choices to your parents. It is essential to discuss all the options with them and see what their wishes are. After all, it’s about them. If your parents are not in the suitable capacity to make decisions, you would need to do it on their behalf to understand how they would like it.

Also, you can easily apply the advantages of new technologies to your caregiving process. The seniors today are much more tech-savvy than we would expect and can adjust to use different gadgets. From health trackers, home surveillance to various digital tools – you can find a solution that works best for everyone involved. You can incorporate other assistant apps into your daily routine, such as Gherry App. This app is designed with seniors, their families, and caregivers in mind and strives to provide you with features that can easily make all of your daily health and care tasks easier. You can include other family members or caregivers involved in care in your small private network. Along with health trackers and medication management, you can systematize all health information in one place and easily share it with the health care providers. You can quickly organize daily routines, plan activities and appointments, and share tasks with others. With just a click, you will be up-to-date with everyone and everything.  This will give you peace of mind while you are away, so you can concentrate on your work commitments, be more productive, and after all, be more satisfied.

In conclusion

Balancing work and caregiving for aging parents can be a daring task for anyone. Additionally, children often feel guilt when they want to pursue careers but know this affects their time and quality of care for their aging parents. The motivation to succeed in your job doesn’t make you a bad child. Luckily, you can avoid this burdening situation. With good planning and many options available today, you have to sacrifice neither your career nor caregiving. Do your research and consider all convenient options that may fill two needs with one deed – ease your caregiver duties and provide the necessary care for your parents. You should spend the time with your parents enjoying it, not stressing out. Once you find that balance, you will follow your dreams and be there for your loved ones. That is already an outstanding achievement. Your parents will be proud of you, and you will be proud of yourself.