Quitting Your Job to Care for Elderly Parents: Is it Feasible?
Balancing your work and the duties of caregiving 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.
Quitting your job to care for aging parents may have certain serious implications on your personal and financial well-being. Family caregiving may lead to increased financial costs. You may wish to talk with loved ones, trusted work colleagues, or even unofficially with your manager to discuss the cost of quitting a job for caring 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 aging 50 or older, 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 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 percent of the caregivers of older adults of more than 50 years of age accounted for mild to high levels of financial stress.
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 leave their jobs altogether due to incessant stress, care crisis, and the total amount of effort needed to provide satisfactory care for their older parents. Almost 68% of caregivers account for making work adjustments in order 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. As a family caregiver, you may also encounter discrimination during the process of hiring.
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, your decision to reduce your work hours or quit your job, can cause a major impact on your present and future financial conditions like losing your income, Social Security, and benefits of retirement, 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 minds and heart. This extremely challenging role can cause you to suffer from a 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?
Here are a few of the feasible options that you can consider to achieve a balance:
- 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.
Here are some of the policies and practices supporting working caregivers:
- Flexible Workplaces
- Family and Medical Leave Policies
- Access to Paid Family Leave
- State and Local Efforts to Extend Access to Paid Leave for Family Caregivers
If you are aware that caring for your elderly parents is probably going to be a big responsibility you will be undertaking, it's crucial to gear up financially, emotionally and practically for this change.