Every day in Bowling Green, thousands of working women face the same difficult choice: to be a good daughter or a good employee. They share that situation with millions of working women, and men, across the country.
More than 34 million Americans are caring for an aging loved one, and many are doing so while also working full time. Balancing work and caregiving can be very stressful, especially for working daughters. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, on average, working women spend almost twice as much time caring for aging loved ones as their male counterparts.
A recent survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc. found that 91 percent of female caregivers have needed to take action at work to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities. This means they turn down promotions, pause their careers or use their vacation time in order to care for their loved ones. The career sacrifices combined with the hours of caregiving increase the stress and strain on working caregivers.
A lack of support at work can negatively impact them and increase their stress. The Home Instead survey found a quarter (25%) of working daughters believed there were negative feelings at work about their situation and 23 percent found their supervisor to be unsympathetic.
This trend could continue to increase, with the number of Americans 65 and older projected to rise from 46 million to more than 98 million between 2016 and 2060.
To help these working caregivers, Home Instead Senior Care serving Bowling Green launched a free community program called Daughters in the Workplace. The program offers resources to educate caregivers about their options at work and at home. There are tips to help caregivers feel more comfortable talking with their employers and creative ideas to help balance the roles as daughter and employee, such as:
1. Be realistic about how much you can do yourself.
2. Be honest with yourself and your employer about what you need.
3. Think creatively to offer solutions that will help you and your employer.
4. Get plenty of rest so you can get more done and are increasingly confident in handling daily challenges.
5. Take one day at a time. Caring for an older adult is an unpredictable job and one that often calls for a measured approach to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
6. Arrange for help, including any care services your company might offer through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Your Area Agency on Aging (www.n4a.org) may know of community resources and you can contact your local Home Instead Senior Care® office (www.HomeInstead.com) to learn about flexible professional caregiving that could help you.
There are also elements in the Daughters in the Workplace program for employers. To help employers better understand employees’ needs as they care for aging loved ones and ways to offer important support.
To explore all the free resources available through the Daughters in the Workplace program visit www.DaughtersintheWorkplace.com.