Juggling Work, Life and Caregiving

Are you juggling work, home, caregiving and struggling to keep all the balls in the air? If so, you are not alone. Six in 10 family caregivers of adults aged 50 and older work; and half of the workforce expects to be providing care for an elder in the next five years.

The following are five strategies to help you juggle all these responsibilities successfully. 

1. Get Organized and Be Efficient

Create a family calendar so everyone knows what’s happening, and use it to track activities and appointments. If possible, ask siblings and other family members to help and make a schedule that includes everyone. 

In addition, try to be most efficient in the use of your time. You can do this by outsourcing things where you can (cooking, cleaning, etc.), organizing household tasks efficiently, running errands in batches and relaxing your cleaning standards. 

2. Check With Your Employer

Your company may have policies on caregiving, flexible work options and family medical leave that apply to you. Check your Employee Handbook or ask your Human Resources Manager about available resources. You may also have access to an Employee Assistance Program which can be a helpful resource. You should probably talk with your manager to make him/her aware of your caregiving responsibilities – but let them know that your job is still a big priority. Most managers will want to help and support you possibly through flexible work options or other strategies. 

3. Identify Your Top Five 

Visualize the components of your life as slices of a pie (career, spiritual, family, friends, community, hobbies, travel, health, etc.). Ask yourself the following questions:

  • If I could focus on one thing and one thing only, what would that be?
  • If I could add a second thing, what would that be?
  • A third?
  • A fourth?
  • A fifth?

Now that you know your priorities, consider dropping any commitments and pursuits that didn’t make your list. Further, learn to say “no” to things that you don’t have bandwidth for or that don’t fit into your priorities.

4. Take Care of Yourself

You must take care of yourself before you can effectively take care of others. I like to encourage people to take their MEDS.

Meditate or do deep breathing to relieve stress and keep you grounded.

Exercise most days of the week.

Diet, meaning eat foods that fuel your body and avoid processed foods where you can.

Sleep seven to nine hours per night. 

5. Ask For Help

You don’t have to do it all alone. Think of ways that others can help and ask! You will find that people like to help. In addition, bolster your support system by brainstorming all the support resources that you have access to and developing a plan to leverage or expand. Recognize that juggling all of this is hard! There is no shame in seeking help from a counselor, clergy or healthcare provider.


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