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By Joëlle Thiffault on

Balancing work and caregiving duties: A delicate task

Life can challenge us in various ways, and one such challenge is balancing our career with the demanding role of caregiving for a loved one. Whether it's an aging parent, someone dealing with illness, or a family member losing their independence, many people find themselves at the intersection of these significant responsibilities.

Balancing work and caregiving is undoubtedly a challenge, but it's a challenge that can be met with success. In this article, we'll explore practical tips to navigate this situation while preserving your well-being.

1. Communicate with your employer

The first step is to have an open conversation with your employer about your role as a caregiver. Be honest about the challenges you're facing. Many companies are open to providing flexibility to help employees manage caregiving responsibilities.

You might discuss options like remote work, flexible work hours, or temporary leaves when necessary. Honest communication with your employer is the foundation of a successful balance between work and caregiving.

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2. Plan ahead

Planning is crucial when managing work and caregiving. Create a care plan that includes medical appointments, treatments, and daily activities. Whenever possible, consider backup options in case you can't be available, such as other family members or home care services. A solid plan can give you a sense of control and stability.

3. Set clear boundaries

It's easy to get overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities. To prevent this, establish clear boundaries. Try to set specific hours for work and the time you devote to your loved ones. This helps maintain structure, prevents burnout, and ensures your loved one receives the care they need.

4. Seek help

You're not alone in this situation. Numerous resources are available to support family caregivers. Look for support services in your area, such as home care programs, support groups, or home health services.

Some companies offer assistance programs encompassing legal, financial, or psychological support. These programs are designed to provide additional help to employees dealing with complex situations or personal difficulties.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather an act of courage and wisdom. It can ease the burden you carry and ensure your loved one receives the best care.

5. Use provided leaves

As a family caregiver, you have access to specific leaves meant for you. According to labour standards, you can take time off work up to 10 days each year to meet your caregiving responsibilities. In case of prolonged absences, you can benefit from 15 weeks of leave within a 12-month period if your loved one experiences a severe accident and even up to 26 weeks if they have a disease requiring end-of-life care.

6. Anticipate changes in your loved one's health

Foreseeing and anticipating changes that may occur as your loved one's health evolves is crucial. Chronic illnesses and diminishing independence go through various stages, and these transitions can impact your work life, finances, and responsibilities.

To better understand and prepare for these transitions, begin by talking to your loved one's healthcare provider. They can provide you with essential information. Joining a support group is also a good idea. Members of these groups have often experienced similar situations and can offer valuable advice to help you manage the upcoming stages.

7. Be kind to yourself

It's important to remember that you're doing your best. There may be moments of frustration, sadness, or anger, but don't forget that this is a challenging situation for everyone involved. Be kind to yourself and recognize your limits.

8. Take care of yourself

Remember, you also need to take care of yourself. Taking time to rest, exercise, and eat healthily is crucial. Regular breaks are necessary to prevent burnout. If you don't look after your physical and mental health, you won't be able to provide the best support to your loved one.

Balancing work and caregiving is an act of love and devotion. It can be challenging, but with good organization, support, and self-compassion, you can find a balance that works for you. Your dedication to your loved one and your work is a testament to your strength and immeasurable love. Be proud of your ability to overcome these challenges.

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