Balancing your time between work, caregiving, and family is becoming more commonplace with higher life expectancies and the increase in dementia. The trick to managing this juggling act often boils down to reaching out and getting help.
As the ageing population grows, there will be an increase in younger adults having to juggle caring for their elderly parents, their career, perhaps even while raising their own family. With the number of people diagnosed with dementia expected to increase in the next decade, there’s also a higher chance that the task of caring for ageing parents or a spouse is made more challenging by the condition.
Finding yourself having to put on the dual hats of caregiver and breadwinner can be demanding and there might be days that you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you chew. It’s not easy, and that’s precisely why having a strategy is important. Here’s some useful ideas that can help you care for your loved ones while keeping up with your career.
Talk To Your Employer
Caring for a loved one will take up a significant portion of your time, which makes having a conversation with your employer about your new circumstances important. You might be worried that your employer will doubt your commitment to your role or your ability to deliver at work, but making sure that the company understands your needs early on is important. Don’t wait until an emergency to have this conversation.
You should try and schedule a meeting with HR or your manager to talk about this; this isn’t exactly water cooler talk. During the meeting, make it clear to them that work is still an important priority. It’s also a good idea to discuss if there is a flexible work schedule can be arranged for you to work remotely, or shift your hours around depending on whether you’re needed back home for your loved one’s needs, or need to accompany them for a medical appointment.
Have A Contingency Plan
Nobody wants an emergency to occur, but the possibility is always lingering around the corner. Having a backup plan is especially important when you have an urgent task or critical presentation which cannot be delayed; try to make sure you have a colleague who can step in to take over for you, or have someone you trust ready to attend to any urgent needs of your loved one at home.
Make Your Family Feel Like A Priority
With so many things to keep track of, it can be easy to neglect spending time with your family. Children who feel neglected can be a source of stress for you, while feeling like you’re missing out on the important moments can create a sense of resentment. Avoid falling into this rabbit hole by finding ways to prioritise your family too. Have an alternative care arrangement on a weekend so the family can have a day together, or even better, involve the kids in caregiving, like getting them to play cognitive training games with their grandparent. There’s many different ways to spend time together even amidst your responsibilities at work and as a caregiver.
Seek Help From Others
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re juggling caregiving, a family, and your career is that it’s okay to seek help from others. You need to give yourself regular breaks in order to maintain your physical and emotional health; getting back on top of things once you’re actually sick or burnt out is much harder. Look into getting caregiving assistance from family members, trusted friends, or getting home care professionals for the day. There are also daycare and respite care options in Singapore that you can turn to.