One trend that older employees are dealing with is the increasing need to be a caregiver, not just of their children but of their parents aas well. They are known as the “Sandwich Generation.” According to the results of a survey by The Harford Insurance Company, over half of the respondents reported being worried about how caregiving is affecting their job, making it the number one concern of those in this role. The cost that employers lose in lost wages totals $34 billion dollars a year! Employees are arriving late to work, leaving early, or are having to take time off, all of which has adverse affects on the workplace. Additionally, these employees feel less focused while at work, due to worry and emotional tiredness. This trend will continue to increase as the workforce ages.
Having to care and worry for children as well as an elderly parent can be taxing on a person. Finding the balance between all of the dmands in life is very challenging, and can be even more so if one is the sole breadwinner or has no support system. There are resources available but they may not be very accessible, dependent on where one lives. So, what can one do when caregiving needs get in the way of their work?
1. Take time each day to de-stress, which can include taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or mediation/prayer
2. Write in a gratitude journal each day to keep focused on the daily tasks you must face; it is easy to feel lonely or unsupported but focusing on what you do have can give you the motivation and strength to keep on
3. Bundle as many tasks as you can. If you are cooking dinner, save some for lunch the next day. As you are cooking, you can do a load of laundry or dishes to maximize your time
4. Ask for help – don’t try to do it all yourself. If you have family, speak up and divide tasks that need to be done. See if you can trade or barter services, such as sitter services, cooking, or home repairs.
5. Look at outside resources, such as through your workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP), AARP, or the Department of Elder Affairs. Look to see if your employer will pay for a care manager, who is skilled in elder care needs and can coordinate resources for you.
Caregiving needs do not have to get in the way of your workplace performance but they will present challenges. Taking the steps above can help and give you more peace of mind so you can feel in control of your life and be successful in your job.