There are times when caring for someone with LBD can feel like a full-time job. But when the caregiver is also employed outside the home, there are competing demands on the caregiver’s time, energy and attention. Depending on the size and culture of each employer, companies may be able to offer some flexibility, benefits and support to employees who provide care for a family member with chronic medical conditions. LBD family caregiver, Veronica Woldt, a gerontologist and owner of Corporate Eldercare Solutions, offers these suggestions to working caregivers.
Start with your human resources department and ask if there is a company-sponsored employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs are often provided by larger employers to help their employees deal with personal problems that might be adversely impacting their work performance, health, and well-being. These pre-defined benefits often include short-term counseling and referral services for employees and their household members.
If an EAP is available, review the benefits package for elder care and caregiving resources. Some plans provide access to geriatric care managers, who specialize in eldercare issues. These specialists in health and human services provide assistance to families who are caring for older relatives. Geriatric care managers are trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management, such as nursing, gerontology, social work, or psychology. Some EAPs may also offer discounts for additional services beyond the benefits included in the plan.
Also talk with your human resources contact to learn whether you are entitled to benefits from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.
Depending on the corporate culture and your relationship with your supervisor, consider informing them about your caregiving role. Some companies are very family friendly and are open to making reasonable accommodations. If your job allows it, explore flexible working hours, schedule changes, or working remotely part time as ways to meet both caregiving and work responsibilities.
If for any reason you are uneasy about sharing your caregiving role and challenges with your employer, seek out emotional support and practical caregiving tips outside the work environment. Visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers for more information.
Veronica Woldt, MA is an employee eldercare strategist, gerontologist and owner of Corporate Eldercare Solutions, LLC.
Woldt and her team measure, define and manage employee eldercare work/life challenges and provide custom cost-saving solutions for both company and valued employees.