Suddenly taking on the role of a family caregiver can be life-changing. Whether it’s for an elderly parent, or a family member with a disability, juggling new responsibilities at home can be overwhelming. Many working professionals struggle to find a balance between work and caregiving, and often quit their jobs to become full-time caregivers.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way, says Kristine Cichowski, CEO of Power To Be, a company that offers programs designed to teach families and individuals skills they need to advocate for their loved ones and themselves.
To start, Cichowski says to tell your boss or manager about your new new situation, and to ask for more easily flexibility in your work schedule. Next, keep your office organized and ready so that coworkers can take over in case of an emergency at home. “This is a good business practice for every employee, since anyone can experience an unforeseen circumstance that pulls them away from work,” says Cichowski.
Cichowski also says that keeping organized at home often helps people to better manage their professional lives. Here are her top five tips:
- Be aware of changes in behavior
“You can prevent larger issues down the road simply by being present and mindful,” Cichowski says. “Assess emerging needs. For example, maybe you’ll notice your mom is having trouble getting around the house. You can install grab bars or other home safeguards to support her before a major accident happens.”
- Keep medical information on paper
“Work with your loved one to document basic health information: conditions, medications, dosages, etc.,” she advises. “Approach this conversation delicately and respectfully, making it clear that your intent is to help them when they need you, not take over their life.”
- Keep family informed
It’s important to keep extended family updated. “Your siblings or other close relatives need to be as aware as you are of your parent’s circumstances and needs,” Cichowski says.
- Identify your support network
“Identify these people now, and foster relationships so that you have a strong network,” Cichowski suggests. “While you wouldn’t expect the same level of involvement as family members, these friends might like to take your mom to breakfast or bring her dinner now and then. Every effort helps.”
- Consider professional help
“Remember that paying someone to help can be a good alternative, too,” she adds. “Become familiar with the costs of home care and determine whether your family has sufficient resources to support your parent in this way.”
For more information on Kristine Cichowski and her caregiving services, please visit her website. http://www.powertobe.net/Caregiver-Bootcamp.