Juggling a career and the responsibility to care for aging parents can stretch any family caregiver’s financial and emotional resources. The 2020 census found that 1 in 6 U.S. citizens are above the age of 65 and with more people in the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age each year, the stress for working adults who care for their elderly parents will increase. This makes it necessary for adult children to provide some form of home care for their elderly parents—even while working.
Adult children who are invested in their careers are likely to feel the pressures of providing for their aging loved ones while simultaneously remaining fully productive in the office. At first glance, it seems this balancing act will leave one commitment without full attention.
When job performance falters, the working adult’s finances will ultimately take a corresponding nosedive. When Mom or Dad do not receive quality home care as much as needed, their health or well-being may suffer. The big question is, how do adult children substantially care for aging parents while remaining committed to a career? The following tactics provide meaningful solutions:
1. Understand FMLA.
The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) supports eligible working adults who are caring for ailing loved ones. Passed in 1993, the FMLA provides covered employees with 12 work weeks of unpaid leave and job protection so that they may care for a family member with a health condition.
Speak to human resources personnel or a supervisor to put into effect the US Department of Labor’s legal protection. Employees who are able to create a plan that benefits both the employer and their caregiving situation are best able to take advantage of the FMLA. Discrimination against caregivers is unlawful.
2. Develop a financial plan.
Taking significant time off from work can rapidly deplete one’s finances. A once-effective budget may have to be reworked to take into account caregiving responsibilities. Plus, caring for an elderly parent might drain savings, to an extent; prepare to do with less until a financial solution is in sight.
3. Utilize the DCFSA.
Working adults with elder care expenses should look into pre-tax benefit accounts, like the Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA). A portion of the employee’s paycheck is deposited into the DCFSA tax-free. Caregivers pay less in taxes and may pay for certain eligible services using the DCFSA.
The DCFSA is designed to make it easier for employed adults to continue working while caring for an aging loved one. Examples of eligible services under the DCFSA program include elder care at home and senior day care. Enrollees save on average 30 percent in elderly care services.
Participants in the DCFSA may contribute a maximum of $2,500 per year if married and filing a separate tax return and up to $5,000 per year if married and filing a joint tax return. Claims are reimbursed only when elder care services are necessary to allow the enrollee to work.
4. Maintain contact.
Just before heading out to work or after coming home from work, make a call to Mom or Dad. Checking in frequently is essential to ensuring the well-being of aging parents. Scheduling regular calls helps elderly individuals feel connected rather than isolated and alone.
Calls can be made via FaceTime or Skype. Communications are made more meaningful by seeing the faces of loved ones. It takes just a few minutes to exchange a few words and check in with Mom or Dad. Scheduling calls gives parents an event to look forward to.
Even more gratifying for the family is when working children spend quality time with their elderly parents. Although the majority of adult children live a long distance from a parent, every in-person visit is enormously beneficial for the aging individuals.
Enjoy local nights out at festivals the senior has long anticipated. Concerts, movies, shopping, and dining are all ways to show an aging loved one that their adult children are still invested in their lives. Weekends away from work are ideal times to engage in entertainment venues with parents.
5. Investigate day health programs.
Aging parents who require some form of assistance during daytime hours (while their family caregivers are at work) may find satisfaction in adult day health programs. Designed to offer a protective environment for seniors, adult day health programs offer a wealth of beneficial stimulation.
Supervision, meals, and activities geared toward seniors keep the elderly fully engaged and safe while the adult children are at work. Day health programs make it possible for working children to focus on their careers while feeling secure that Mom or Dad is well-cared-for.
6. Inform your employer.
If you have taken on the care duties for your senior parents, it is best for you to inform your employer of your extra responsibilities. Talk to your supervisor or someone from human resources to discuss your caregiving responsibilities and what accommodations can be provided to help, including adjustments to the schedule or even the possibility of working remotely. During this discussion, make sure you establish that your work is still a priority, and that you just need some accommodation to better care for your aging parents.
7. Use flexible scheduling.
If you are the primary caregiver of your senior loved ones, it may be difficult to provide the care they need with a rigid schedule. Emergencies can happen any time and your senior parents may need help with something important between the hours of 9 and 5.
Look into the possibility of flexible scheduling with your employer. Some companies do offer employee assistance programs that include flexible work hours and family leave so you can care for your senior parents. If your employer does not officially offer flexible scheduling, ask a supervisor if this can be an option to help you better care for your loved ones. It is common for family caregivers to adjust their work hours to better accommodate those in their care.
You can also ask if working remotely is a possible option. Remote work has become more popular, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. Working from home allows you to be in the presence of your loved ones to provide supervision and assistance when needed while also getting your work done.
8. Form an emergency backup plan.
You never know when an emergency may occur with your senior parents that requires your immediate attention. Make sure you form an emergency backup plan that involves colleagues stepping in to cover your work so you can care for your loved ones. Choose colleagues who you can trust to step in at a moment’s notice and make sure to clear your plan with your employer.
9. Hire senior home care.
The majority of the elderly choose to age in place—at home. When parents live with their adult children, enlisting the services of a professional caregiver while the family member is at work is an ideal scenario. Both the senior and adult child mutually benefit.
In-home services range from simple assistance, like light housekeeping or meal preparation. Hiring skilled, licensed nursing services ensures the senior’s medical needs are taken care of. When work consumes a hefty portion of the day, hiring a part-time caregiver relieves the adult child tremendously.
If working caregivers could manage the well-being of parents while remaining dedicated to a career, they would. Fortunately, it is possible to contribute to both worlds without sacrificing any aspect of either. Assisting Hands Home Care is a senior homecare agency that enables working family members to continue their 9-5 schedule and still ensure their parents receive ample in-home help.
Assisting Hands Home Care services are comprehensive and meet the non-medical needs of the seniors in our care. Our professional caregivers are skilled in helping seniors with the activities of daily living, including bathing, meal preparation, grooming, dressing, and transportation. We provide companionship services to ease lingering feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Our specializations include Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and we offer 24-hour home care, live-in care and flexible respite care. Consult an Assisting Hands Home Care representative to start on the journey toward compassionate elder care. Our dedicated caregiving professionals serve the communities surrounding Medinah, IL | Glendale Heights, IL | Itasca, IL | Bensenville, IL | Elmhurst, IL | Villa Park, IL | Addison, IL and Lombard, IL.
Call us today at (630) 526-6522.