Are there any caregiver-friendly employers out there?

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Have you ever been asked "so, do you work?" or been told "so, you are just a caregiver." Have you thought about trying to find work but know that it probably just is not feasible? The schedules of the people we care for are just unpredictable and needs often change on a daily basis. How can any of us work other than caring for our elders?

Caregiving is not respected even by those in our own families. If we do this we should be able to work a real job as well. Why aren't family members that do work unavailable to assist with our caring responsibilities when we need a little help?

If you are a 24/7 caregiver this is a job of 168 hours a week. I, for one, cannot realistically find outside work. Even with a day care that my mom attends 6 hours a day, it would not be possible. She gets up when she wants, gets sick when she wants, has breakfast when she wants, and has doctor appointments often times twice a month. It is not realistic for me to be able to find real employment. Everything is on mom's schedule, not mine. If she has an emergency I need to drop everything to take care of it.

Are there really any caregiver-friendly employers out there? I imagine that even the Alzheimer's Association, AARP, Assisted Living Facilities, Day Care Centers especially need to have reliable employees.

What are your thoughts?

11 Comments

Depending on what state you live in, There are adult foster care programs that actually pay you to be the caregiver of a loved one. You also get the support of a nurse and case manager all for free. The money is tax free and non-reportable but in Massachusetts it is as much as 18,000.00 a year. If you were working a taxed job that is the equivalent of 24,000.00 a year. In Massachusetts, RI, Oh, Indiana, you can call Caregiver Homes. I know they will also soon be in Tx and FL. Check with you elder service organization and inquire about adult foster care for other states.
Unless others have been through this, or are thoroughly aware of what we deal with on a daily basis as caregivers, there is little if any understanding. Even with Senior Companion programs (2-3 days @ 4hrs-10am until 14:00) in place, such as the one Mother has in Niagara Falls, there is no real way of having outside employment for the caregiver.

When given the opportunity for an interview of employment, the question that invariably always appears, 'What have you been doing for the X time?" Or questions along that line. Heaven forbid the situation is still in effort, which also bodes negatively. That is unfortunate, but understandable. That is my opinion having worked in an HR type position; though I was more understanding, even before having landed in state which I currently find myself. And for someone to say anything along the lines of "so, you are just a caregiver." is intolerable.

As for "Why aren't family members that do work unavailable to assist with our caring responsibilities when we need a little help?" There will always be excuses given as to way they can't, or won't, that, in their viewpoint, are valid. They have chosen to back away from the situation due to the person that stepped-up to the daunting challenge, not knowing the degree of sacrifice needed.

I have took my sons "If the future holds this for the ole-man, then make sure the tank on the bike is full. Strap a sleeping bag and some clothes onto it and tell me 'Head west ole-man, head west." I would rather, given the choice, to just pass-on quietly during my sleep, then have family go though this.
Q&A IN SUPPORT OF PEACE IN YOUR LIFE:

Q: Can you realistically expect to hold down an outside job and still care for Mom?
A: Probably not, and I say this based on unfortunate personal experience.

Q: So, isn't it best to focus your attention on how to make the most of existing circumstances so that you and your mother have the best possible quality of life, moment to moment?
A: Yes!

Q: Is this happiness likely to occur if you exhaust your inner strength reacting to what you think others think of you?
A: No!

Praying you soon find the satisfaction of everything being perfect just as it is, all parties blessed.
I checked into caregiver homes and the elder needs to be on Medicaid. So I guess when the time comes I'll look into it...
You didn't mention what type of job you're looking for, but I'm going to give you some advice that I wish someone had given to me in 2009.

Frustrated after a year of passing my beautifully crafted resume, I stopped looking for a job and began looking for WORK. The turning point came when I took a course called "Design and Focus," in which I had to take a close look at who I am and what I have to offer to the world. The lightbulb went on. I like to write for businesses, specifically persuasive writing, and have always loved photography, even though I had a lot to learn.

I'm now a self-employed ghostwriter/copyeditor for businesses, an event photographer and sales coordinator for chamber directories. For the most part, this work can be be done sitting at my computer and phone, close to Mom. I get a sitter when I have to be away from home.

You're already your own "boss" as a caregiver, so diversify what you can do from your "store." If you need new skills, go online. I had to beef up my skills in blogging, photography and post-production. (I'm taking classes online with Lynda.com.)

I can't do everything I'd like to do at a time in my life when I should be flying, untethered. But, looking back, life has always had its restraints. Even when this tether is untied, I'm sure I'll continue what I'm doing now.

Maybe my story will inspire you, or another caregiver, to move into the realm of possibilities.



While looking into receiving benefits from the Caregiver Homes in Ohio, I discovered that you have to be on Medicaid in order to qualify. My mother has too much income for Medicaid but not enough to afford paying me as her 24-hour-a-day caregiver. She is a widow living on a modest pension. There is just no assistance anywhere for middle class people. You either have to be on Medicaid to quality for financial aid or wealthy enough to pay for it on your own. The middle class is truly a forgotten segment of the American population.
judylbo-
How right you are, my mom's income would be just over Medicaid regs, but she has substantial investments, which had been completely controlled by sis of little assistance. But, due to her conflict of interest position, more concerned about what is left for her, we now have conservator and guardian, though court order has not yet been signed. Hope it starts to move along quickly now, it's been more than two years.
DebMath-
Thanks for the input, and I do have moments where I feel motivated to do something, but they are few and far between. Yes, persuasive writing on government policy, would be right up my alley, either environmental policy or I have come to find that my passion is health care policy specifically, related to Alzheimer's and caregiving. Have started to think about a blog, but like I said the motivation just somehow gets lost most of the time. Depression? maybe, though most of the time I do not think that is an issue. Just in a funk today.

My undergrad is in Geography which took me to land and transportation planning for most of my career. I was laid off nearly five years ago now, the economy was not very friendly to land development! So, I went back to school, finished a Master's in Public Administration, Environmental Policy concentration in May of 2012 hoping to make myself more marketable. Oh well... I also have a Master's certificate in Geographic Information Systems that I completed three years ago. Just does not seem possible.

And as LifeRyder stated, how do you account for the time you have not been working. That is the toughest. I am trying to figure out a way to put a positive slant on it to use for my LinkedIn profile that will not scare potential employment or projects away. Caregiving for 2.5 years nearly? What did you gain from that? What will happen to your mom now? How do you expect to provide for her while working for us? I have been asked all of those questions in the four or five interviews I have had in the past two years.

I have upgraded my skill set, not stale by any means, just worn out.
I still remember fretting as to whether anyone would ever hire me after I'd stayed home with, and eventually homeschooled, my children, gladimhere. If anything, I discovered I didn't WANT to work for anyone who thought taking care of someone was a waste of good time and talent.

Once I rejoined the workforce, I quickly soared to top positions.

Personally, I wouldn't hire anyone who thinks caregiving is only for thumb-twiddlers. Just as parents of small children, we're required to be creative, patient and intuitive in difficult situations. We're intuitive, time managers, systems analysts, psychologists, cooks and nurses. These are all valuable, transferable skills to the workplace. Put it on LinkedIn. The person or company who hires you will LOVE you for what you bring to the world.

I had coffee with a gentleman who said, "Deborah, declare yourself. You ARE a writer." I did and the work keeps coming my way! I've also declared myself to be a photographer. Because I've done that, I take myself seriously. I set up a DBA. I created a website. I printed business cards. I now shake prospective clients' hands and tell them what I can do for them. So, declare yourself to be a persuasive government policy writer. If you can do the work to specifications and get it done on time, they won't care if you're a caregiver of a child or a senior citizen.
DebMath great response. I work from home, mom has lived with me for over 8years, I am in the Oil and Gas field curing title, also have paralegal training. I think there are many positions out there it is finding you niche. I also set up a DBA and created a website while living in a small town, and opened a concierge service (mainly helping elderly).

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