A few tips: Know your best outlets. What fills you up, makes you happy, helps you express yourself? Exercise, journaling, talking to a friend, doing something that has NOTHING to do with caregiving, like going to a movie or volunteer work or using your creativity?
Also, maintain your own identity. You may be so lost in your roles as caregiver, worker, mother, wife, sister, etc. Keep up things that make you feel like you. I have often felt this way — and I actually find that work helps me maintain my own identity.
Be sure to watch your health. When you are on overload a simple cold can throw you off balance and hinder your ability to focus at work. Get plenty of the basics: sleep, good nutrition, exercise. Keep up with health screenings.
Be practical. Set realistic boundaries on what you can and cannot do. And get help: If you're feeling this way, maybe some help for YOU could ease things. You may want to provide the help for your mom, but maybe you could pay someone a bit to help you keep your house organized, clean, etc. I have a concierge who helps me so much — changed my life as a caregiver and worker!
Good luck. And remember, even short breaks like taking a walk around the corner, having a cup of tea or coffee, standing up and stretching — these things can help you refocus at work.
Comment from Dee: I own a business and I'm considering ways to better support the majority of my employees who are now caring for aging parents. What are some options I should think about?
Amy Goyer: Needs assessment: Employers may offer the free or discounted services of an individual or agency trained to assess your loved ones' situation and home environment and to make recommendations.
Geriatric care management: Some employers offer the free or discounted services of a geriatric care manager for a one-time consultation, on-call advice and support, emergency intervention or ongoing services. A geriatric care manager can assess your loved ones' needs and your family resources, help you create a caregiving plan and monitor your loved ones' care.
Backup care: Some employers offer discounted backup care for employees who have a temporary breakdown in their normal care arrangement so they can still go to work.
Help with insurance paperwork: Some employers have staff that understand insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, and will help guide employees and their families through the complicated maze of paperwork.
Discounted professional care services: Some companies provide vouchers, subsidies or discounted services for the people their employees are caring for, such as for adult day services, professional caregivers or respite services.
AARP: We're out of time. Amy, can you share with us some go-to resources all working caregivers should bookmark?
Amy Goyer: I want to make sure you all know that my new ebook, AARP's Juggling Work and Caregiving, is available FREE.
I also want to point you to my Taking Care videos on the AARP YouTube channel. Here is the link to one on working caregivers, and you'll find more videos there.
And be sure to check out the AARP Caregiving Resource Center and the Eldercare Locator, where you can also find your local Area Agency on Aging — a GREAT local resource — and other key local supports.
Happy National Family Caregivers Month, and thank a caregiver today at www.thanksproject.org. We all need some appreciation and validation of the care we are providing!
AARP: Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Amy. Everyone, download her FREE ebook. FREE! Also, if you still feel like talking, we have a caregiver online discussion group that is also free. Have a great rest of the week, everyone. Please follow us on Twitter @AARPfamily and #caresupport.
Amy Goyer: Thanks all! Take care, and let me hear from you on my blog! And be in touch with me also on Twitter @amygoyer and Facebook amygoyer1.