Balancing Work and Care

Originally posted

As school resumes and as businesses  are starting to offer the option of going into an office, I thought I would address another important topic, which is balancing work and caregiving.

I always review my previous blogs and my very first blog with allaboutestates was eleven years ago on this very topic. This is my 340th blog and this topic continues to be even more relevant today than it was then.

I have included excerpts from my original blog and have updated some information.  How has this issue changed over the last 11 years?  Let’s see.

As we age, all of us will be dealing with elder care issues, for ourselves, our families, and our clients. How we approach it and how we plan for it can make can help to make the journey as positive as possible.

Caregiver strain has been positively associated with absenteeism due to elder care problems and emotional, physical or mental fatigue.  What can the working caregiver do? Every situation is different yet there are some common factors to consider.  Be realistic about the care recipient’s care requirements as well and equally important, be realistic about how much care you can provide and what this means for you and your family.  Will the caregiving be a short term activity while mom or dad are recovering or will it be a long term commitment?

Consider things at home to make life easier such as:

  • Can other family members share in the caregiving responsibilities?
  • Can you afford to hire a paid caregiver?
  • Have you contacted your local Health and Community Care Support Services to discuss respite care?
  • Have a family meeting to discuss concerns and brain storm solutions of where assistance can be provided as to who can provide what and when.
  • Speak to the person you are providing care for; what do they want?
  • Have they seen a specialist?  Is there more information to be obtained on their condition to anticipate what might be ahead (issues of mobility, climbing stairs, cognitive decline etc).

The Ontario Caregiver Coalition put together an easy to read visual guide   which highlights how this issue has changed since the start of the pandemic.  It identifies that there is 22% more caregivers as a result of Covid-19 and that 54% more caregivers are worried about returning to work (Ontario Caregiver Organization COVID-19 Caregiver Survey, May 2020)

The government of Canada also provides some guidelines to both managers and employees.

As some of us transition from working at home to resuming going out to an office setting, please remember to consider all of your options including  flexible work arrangements, accessing your EAP wellness resources and speaking up regarding any health / caregiving concerns.

As I have continued to say “please look after yourself. Caregiving is a dyad and both parties (the caregiver and the care recipient) need to have their own needs met or both will be requiring care”.


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