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How to be a Family Care Giver While Working Full Time

Tags:  Family care, Working mothers, Work & Life balance

How many times have you had a discussion or read an article about work/life balance? How many times have you wished you could find some in your own life?   
If you are a care giver to a family member, you are not alone. The media calls you a member of the Sandwich Generation.  You are parenting your kids at the same time you are parenting your own parents.  Estimates are that at least one in every ten American workers is a care giver and half of them work full time. In addition according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 44 percent of Americans have an aging parent as well as children under the age of 21 to care for, making work/life balance seem like a pipe dream.
While caring for an ill or aging family member can take its toll, know that there are resources at your disposal. Here are six suggestions on how to be a care giver while working full time.
Talk to your boss. Keep your boss in the loop. Be honest about your needs, so it will be less traumatic if you need time off. Develop a plan on how you can work together to meet both your and the company's needs. Be realistic about your expectations, what you are able to handle and what adjustments will fit with your role in the organization.
Take care of you. Pay attention to your health. Be sure to eat properly, get enough sleep and exercise, and take a personal time to relieve stress.
Use company resources. Check with the human resources department in your company about benefits such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and flexible work schedules.
An EAP may help resolve any personal issues and provide a network of support for services you might seek. FMLA offers job protection for employees who must leave their jobs for family medical issues, such as providing care for a critically ill family member. Flexible work schedules – teleworking, job sharing and compressed work weeks – offer options so you can adjust your work schedule according to what works for you and your employer.
Use community resources.  Look for programs such as intergenerational day care, backup family care and elder-care referral services to help lighten your load.
Intergenerational day care is where aging adults and young children spend their days together in shared-site facilities. Backup family care offers temporary care for loved ones in case of an unexpected need such as out of town travel. Elder-care referral services offer a database of information on things such as housing options, adult day care, and home health agencies.
Separate business and pleasure. ""And never the twain shall meet."" The only way to be truly successful in all segments of your life is to focus on them independently of each other. Work at work, give care when that is your role and play when it's time to play. You as well as those around you will benefit in the long run and find more satisfaction in spending time with you if you give them your complete attention.
If you need to receive calls at work from the person who receives your care, set limits on the length of those calls or try to schedule regular check in times during the day. Whenever possible, involve your staff and family by delegating responsibilities both at work and at home.
Develop a support system. Be willing to rely on friends and family when you need to. No person is an island and believing that it's easier to do it yourself is foolhardy. Understand your limits, ask for help, and then thank all involved for their support.
Providing care while working full time can be taxing on you, your family and your employer. For additional assistance check out:

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