Research suggests that upwards of three million U.S citizens clock in at home. While there are pluses and minuses to having work and home at the same address, it may be a viable, even necessary situation for a caregiver of aging elders.
Every caregiver knows that the unexpected is the expected when it comes to caring for an aging parent. Besides the daily routine of medication-taking and other physical needs, there is always the potential for accidents and extra doctor visits. Being on the spot can be a blessing. It can also be stressful.
It's important if home is to be where the care happens and the money is made that others be enlisted to take over occasionally for the primary care-giver. If that person is you, then you have to have reasonable expectations of yourself. Perfect is not going to happen and much of what may have been your work norm may have to go by the wayside. That does not mean you should treat what you do as an afterthought. Have an actual office space, if for no other reason than to give yourself the psychological distance. You matter. And, what you do matters, perhaps now more than ever. Make use of home health aids, when you can, especially if a parent's physical needs are time-consuming and personal. Don't try to do it all. Have a plan for what should happen. But, be prepared to be flexible.
- Even working from home requires hours of undivided attention, so try to invest in at least part-time home care if you are able.
- A great way to set necessary boundaries is by building your own office space.
- If you are thinking of taking your previous job into a home setting, you may have to scale back on hours.
"For anyone struggling to balance family and work responsibilities, having a flexible schedule can make a huge difference."