Quitting Your Job to Care for Elderly Parents: Is it Feasible?
Balancing your work and caregiving duties is a challenging job, even under the best of conditions. If you realize that you cannot balance your work and elderly parent's care, and alternatives to flexible working hours, part-time work, or home-based work are not accessible to you, you might opt to quit your job.
If you think that, “Will there be major personal and financial implications if I had to quit my job to take care of my parent?” you are right. It may lead to increased financial costs. Discuss with loved ones, trusted work colleagues, or even unofficially with your manager to fully understand the impact of quitting a job for caring for your elderly parents.
The Costs of Quitting a Job for Caregiving
If you are quitting a job and will be caring for your elderly parents, it could mean a lower earning. In most of the states in the US, family leave is unpaid, making it difficult for many employed caregivers to ask for leave from their employers. According to NCBI, people aged above who quit the job for caregiving their elderly parents lost an average of $303,880 from their wages and other income benefits.
What Are Your Challenges As a Working Family Caregiver?
You might be one of those carers who are glad to assume this duty, but haven’t factored in the financial and emotional consequences of caring for an older parent. As per a recent survey which was undertaken by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute (2015b), 36% of the caregivers of older adults aged over 50 accounted for mild to high-stress financial levels.
The overall pressure of working life becomes highly challenging, alternating between work and your elderly parent's care in the following ways:
Disturbance in Focusing on Job and Overall Career
Most caregivers are forced into making tough work accommodations or quit their jobs due to incessant stress, care crisis, and the effort needed to provide satisfactory care for their older parents. Almost 68% of caregivers report making work adjustments to fit into their caregiving obligations.
Workplace Discrimination from Peers and Superiors
Over time, activities like emergencies and prolonged leaves of absence may get highlighted among your peers and can lead to discrimination from their end. Such discrimination may occur regardless of whether or not you are meeting your on-the-job responsibilities. Family caregivers may also encounter discrimination during the hiring process.
Personal Financial Load
AARP research study has concluded that out of 4 family caregivers (78 percent), more than 3 reports bearing out-of-pocket costs due to caregiving. Besides this, as a family caregiver, reducing your work hours or quitting your job can cause a major impact on your present and future financial conditions like losing your income, Social Security and retirement benefits, health insurance, and career possibilities.
Emotional, Mental, and Physical Strain
As a working caregiver, your focus and energy will tend to drift between the constant demands of your career and your older parent's needs. Multiple thoughts and tasks will forever burden your mind and heart, which can cause you to suffer from total burnout if you don't exercise the right self-care.
Benefits of Leaving Your Job to Care for a Family Member
If you are giving up your job and becoming a full-time caregiver for your elderly parents, you might have many benefits. You will save them from paying for in-home elderly care or adult daycare. You do not have to worry about the quality of care they are receiving from caregivers. When you care for your loved ones, it deepens your relationship with them. You may also get tax benefits and deductions on the medical expenses of your elderly parents, depending upon the state's law.
What Are the Feasible Options?
Some feasible options that you can consider to achieve a balance include:
- Discuss with your employer about your family caregiving role.
- Analyze alternate or modified working plans.
- Explore the government support options accessible to caregivers.
- Look out for casual caregiving aid from friends and family.
- Consider good daily care facilities for adults.
- Get respite care program benefits.
Policies and Practices that Support Working Caregivers
Policies and programs aimed to relieve the financial worries and to render social and financial assistance for family caregivers are every bit significant for both family caregivers and those receiving care. Some policies and practices supporting working caregivers include:
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits
People without a choice except to leave their jobs to take care of the elderly may be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. According to a recent unemployment insurance benefits study conducted for family caregivers, around 25 states have caregiver-friendly unemployment rules. These rules permit compelling family reasons as a good cause for leaving a job voluntarily.
However, the money received from state UI benefits received by caregivers who left their jobs for family reasons is very low. Additionally, each state has its own eligibility criteria’s even though some criteria apply to all states. Individuals who file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits must show that they left their job for a compelling reason irrespective of which state they belong. However, depending on the state, such individuals need to be available to return to part-time or full-time work.
- Medicaid Cash and Counseling Program
Another way to receive a certain amount of income as a caregiver is through your parent’s Medicaid. If the parent you are caring for is eligible to receive Medicaid, you might get paid for the care you provide under the Cash and Counseling program to enable you to meet all the expenses associated with the care that you provide.
Nonetheless, even if the parent you are caring for does not have Medicaid, other programs in your state might provide you with the necessary money to stay at your post as the primary caregiver.
- Getting Paid From a Parent’s Insurance or Other Benefits
You can also check if you can be paid directly from your parent’s insurance benefits. For example, if your parent is eligible for monthly in-home care benefits, your parent can directly pay you from this policy.
If you need any financial assistance for the parental caregiving at home that you are providing, some other benefits that may prove helpful include:
- Life insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- VA benefits
However, note that you should have a personal care agreement in place to guide these arrangements.
If you understand the responsibility of caring for elderly parents at home, it's crucial to gear up financially, emotionally, and practically for this change. If you are looking for an in-home caregiver, contact Newport Home Care today.