According to the Pew Research Center Fact Tank, “There are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the United States.” More than half of these caregivers are employed either part-time or full- time. Just look around you, someone else nearby is most likely a caregiver to an older loved one.
Working caregivers struggle to find balance between their loved ones, their work, and themselves. We find ourselves in conflict between our job responsibilities and our caregiving responsibilities. It’s a constant juggling act!
Aside from the physical and mental toll caring for an older loved one has on a caregiver, caregivers must also be aware of the serious career consequences they may face. Time lost from work due to caregiving duties can lead to increased absenteeism, low productivity and an interruption in workflow. This in turn can lead to low performance reviews, lost career opportunities and/or lost income. Even changing jobs and companies can lead to loss of tenure and seniority. It’s a rabbit hole nobody wants to go down.
As the demands of caregiving increase, many caregivers will have to modify their work schedule or even withdraw from the workplace entirely. Reducing or giving up a paycheck as well as employment related benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans can affect your future Social Security benefits and have negative consequences on your retirement. This is something you have to think about long and hard.
If you have benefits and retirement related questions, be sure to register for our next UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn, "UK Retiree Health Benefits 101" on April 25. Terri Kanatzar and Hannah Farmer, Retirement Officers with UK Human Resources Benefits will review the retirement process for employees eligible to retire from UK and will be happy to answer your questions. More info and registration is available here.
How can you juggle life and caregiving responsibilities? Talk with your supervisor and your co-workers! Keep the lines of communication open, letting them know what is going on before any situation becomes a crisis. Emphasize your intention to work and your commitment to your job. Speak with your supervisor to see if a flexible work arrangement is a viable option. Visit UK Work-Life to learn more about flex-time, telework and/or a compressed work week to help you manage both your work responsibilities as well as your caregiving ones.
Another flexible work arrangement option is Reduced Seasonal Work Hours. Please see below for information on this upcoming Work-Life Lunch & Learn.
As always, UK Elder Care is here to help you with your caregiving needs.
Terri Weber, UK Elder Care Coordinator