Often I have professional women who are caregivers in my office looking for assistance for a loved one they are caring for in or out of their home. It is not uncommon that when these women come to me for support that they have hit a critical situation in their lives. The concern I hear is “how do I balance being a caregiver, and yet I have to work full time”.
The number of working women age 55 and older is projected to increase by 52% between 2000 and 2010, from 6.4 million to 10.1 million.
Acceptance can be difficult
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “acceptance” and trying to really grasp its meaning. The definition of acceptance is, “a person’s agreement to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.”
Sounds easy in writing: but experience has proved it’s very difficult to accept and follow. Sometimes we are placed in difficult relationships, situations or circumstances that we do not choose to be in, especially when it comes to being a caregiver. We can choose to fight it, deny it exists and then find ourselves miserable.
Caregiving is littered with opportunities to practice the opposite of acceptance, resistance. It is normal to resist the behavior of others, the aging of your loved one, your own feelings of powerlessness, and the undeniable facts of aging and caregiving. Your greatest freedom rises from your power to intentionally choose to accept as much as possible in this caregiving journey.
Caregivers and their employers
Companies today realize the major financial impact caregivers have to their bottom line. A MetLife Study of Caregiving in the Workforce concluded the average cost per employee for those with intense caregiving responsibilities is $2,441. Companies offer many services, resources and support groups to those who are caregivers.
Companies can’t afford to lose talent and clearly understand that this trend will continue to grow over the next 30-40 years. It is ok to ask for help! Seek out the resources available to you in your company. You will be amazed at what is available and how you can accept the journey you are currently in, find the resources to balance work and family, while taking care of yourself!