Working daughters caring for parents face career challenges

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In 2017, research conducted by Home Instead Inc. found that two-thirds of all caregivers are female. Half of women who are employed and also serving as caregivers for their aging parents or in-laws feel they have to choose between being a good employee or a good daughter.

One in four working women is spending an average of 13.8 hours a week as caregiver of older adults. In addition to their employment, 50 percent are financially supporting an adult child, 16 percent regularly care for grandchildren, one in four has a child under the age of 18.

On average, these women have been caregivers for six years. These challenges leave working daughters with undue stress in their lives and difficulty providing for their families.

Eight in 10 working women say caregiving has strained their ability to manage their work-life balance

Nine in 10 female caregivers were forced to take actions to accommodate being an employee and a caregiver, such as using vacation time to care for a parent, switching from full time to part time, avoiding certain responsibilities and turning down promotions.

One in four reports feeling her career growth has suffered, or that she has experienced workplace stigma due to being a caregiver.

One in four self-employed says her decision to work for herself was linked to caregiving, and self employment made caregiving easier.

Meanwhile, employers might encounter issues such as increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, loss of talent and declining morale.

The following tips can help family caregivers achieve better life balance and health.

  • Be realistic about how much you can do as a caregiver.
  • Be honest with yourself and your employer by educating them about the challenges you are facing and what your needs are.
  • Take care of yourself, thinking creatively and exploring options, get enough rest, take one day at a time, be organized.
  • Arrange for respite help through the Employee Assistance Program at your work, seek help through your church family, friends, other family members or a home care agency. Join a support group.

At DaughtersintheWorkplace.com, you can find helpful information that empowers working family caregivers to start conversations with their employers about their needs. It also includes an interactive quiz and resources to help caregivers learn about protected family leave rights that may be available to them.

Also on the site is an article titled "Caregiver Friendly Business Practices," a guideline to help employers identify mutually beneficial support strategies for their caregiving employees.

Rachel Carson is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care serving The Lowcountry since 1997.

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