More than 40 million Americans provide unpaid care for family members or friends age 65 and over. This can be difficult for anyone, but especially so for those who also work full time. The dual responsibilities often conflict, causing employed caregivers to miss an average of seven hours of work weekly.
According to a 2017 survey of caregivers by Caring.com, 4 in 10 caregivers spend more than 30 hours weekly on caregiving—almost a full-time job in itself. But more than a third of these caregivers work full-time or part-time as well. Of those employed, 7 in 10 said caregiving strongly affected their work, and 8 in 10 said they missed work in the past year because of caregiving duties. These duties included companionship, light housework, personal hygiene, transportation, errands, meal preparation, medical appointments and shopping.
At Country Meadows Retirement Communities (in both Pennsylvania and Maryland), we understand the needs and challenges of all caregiving families, having supported them for many years. So, we have prepared a guide just for them, “ Finding Your Way to Caring for a Loved One and You” You can order the guide here now or pick it up at any of our 11 retirement communities.
Our new guide will assist all caregivers but has been developed for the needs of working women in particular. About half of all caregivers are women who work full-time. Their devotion to at-home care, while possibly rewarding, can adversely affect their work performance and career goals. Caregiving can even affect their retirement funds and kids’ college accounts, as most pay some care-related expenses out of their own savings.
The challenges and side-effects of caregiving
Even the most loving, committed caregivers may experience periods of stress, guilt, resentment or depression. And, the challenges of meeting the daily needs of a loved one can have repercussions on their social life, family, work, finances and health.
“Finding Your Way to Caring for a Loved One and You” details the following ways that family members can manage the demands that compete for their time and attention:
- Seek outside support
- Take time for self-care
- Build a support network
- Involve siblings
- Manage the demands of employment
- Consult resources from Country Meadows and other professional organizations
More information on caregiving
November has been designated National Family Caregivers Month to shine a light on support needed by families facing challenges. In our caregivers guide are two pages of suggested resources that have helped many families in their journey: websites, blog posts, podcasts, care calendars, TEDx Talks and books. Our campuses have copies of the recommended caregiver books for you and your family to borrow if needed. Contact our team if you would like to borrow any for them for as long as you need.
In addition to our guide, we also are offering our tip sheet for families, “Caring for the Caregiver: You.” This page of 10 suggestions focuses on how family members can cope. We also have compiled information for families dealing with memory loss.
Alternatives to caregiving at home
A 2015 survey of caregivers by Caring.com showed that families whose senior parents live with them are particularly susceptible to high stress. Many families find peace of mind when their older parents live in senior living communities, mainly because those families don’t worry nearly as much about the safety or health of their loved one.
If you feel that you and your aging family member may benefit from the services of a senior community near you, we ask you to contact us to learn more about Country Meadows. We encourage you to visit any of our senior living homes where we can introduce you to the broad range of lifestyle options we could offer you or your family member. Our senior living communities feature independent living apartments, assisted living or personal care homes, memory support (dementia care) and restorative services.