Has anyone had to choose between work and caring for a loved one?

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I am having a really hard time dealing with work and caring for my mother. I thought that I had a good relationship with my boss, but he just told me that unless I get pre-approval from him I can't work from home anymore. The only reason I worked from home was if my mom was having a bad day and needed a little more supervision, so I couldn't exactly plan ahead for it. My boss told me there had been complaints from other staff because I can do my job from home but they can't so it wasn't "fair". I am only 43 and can't really begin to think about retiring for another 12 years. I do get sick time and vacation time which I have been using for time off when my mom needs me. I am just wondering what other experiences folks out there have had and if anyone can give me any advise or just share their story.

Answers 1 to 10 of 14
I've had to do a complete career change. I did love my old job, but, I needed a job where I could work partly from home & also be local(not on the road).
I've also hired a part-time person, but, looking to hire a pt live-in & also have a pt back-up person. This gives my Mom her independence & me a safety net so I can do my job. I'm not comfortable w/using one person, as it seems these days someone promise's something & then something may come up that is out of one's control & it affects one's whole world. I've also checked into daycare(these are both seperate facilities & ones w/in a sr ctr). The current sr ctr is fine w/me leaving her there for 1/2 day & they will be there for her, but, I will only allow this once she is ok w/being there w/out me. Lot's of research! Hope this helps & good luck!
I have been on both sides of the coin. When I was younger, I got tired of pinch-hitting for colleagues that had family issues and had to take time off or do distance work. I can also see where your boss is trying to be fair to all...everyone has "things" to deal with in their lives.
Now that I'm a caregiver, I certainly have gained more empathy for those of us who really do not have any alternative. We mold our lives in a hundred ways to make sure our loved ones are cared for.
Is it possible for you to "job share" at your job or take another position where your absences would not cause as much disruption? I also noticed that, depending on where I lived, telecommuting was viewed in different ways. On the west coast almost everyone telecommutes as part of their jobs. On the east coast it is a little more traditional.
Do you have the kind of career where you could find a job working online (ie: computer type work, web develpment?) If you have a degree, you could teach online.
Also, can you hire in-home help while you are at work or at least during emergencies? This works for many people.
It would be a shame to give up or have trouble at a job you like. good luck
Hi Lilliput,
Actually the position I currently have doesn't require anyone to fill in for me -- I'm pretty much the only person who does what I do and most of my duties require me to work online at my desk. In fact, when I am at the office I rarely even interact with any other staff! I was a little confused as to why my boss seemed to think it was a valid complaint that it wasn't fair to others. I understand your point about having to have others fill in for me but that isn't really my situation (I remember feeling the same way when I was younger!) Thanks for you suggestions, though -- I appreciate your input.
...don't know why the others would be so upset if you rarely interact with them, you do your job online, and you are keeping up with your work....hmmmm...they may just want to do the same and the boss is afraid of a "mutiny."
I wonder if you have a family leave benefit...do you have an HR dept.? I know that there is family leave if you have a baby...why not when you need to take care of a parent??
Wow, it's not like you are going off the to Bahamas....you are caring for a family member...I wonder if it were a child, if your colleagues would be more sympathetic.
Can you guys afford in-home care while you are at work? That way, you would only have to leave for "emergencies." (and I can't imagine that the others in the office don't have the occasional emergency.)
No one knows what this is like unless they have had first hand experience.
Top Answer
Having looked at your profile and other questions you've posted, I wonder if your mother's health has not reached a point where it is over you and your husband's heads to deal with and it might be time to consider a nursing home that is equipped to help elderly people in her condition. Does your mother have any 'means'? Does she have a long term care policy? Do you and your husband make enough to support her in a nursing home? Was your dad a vet? I think there are benefits for elderly widows of vets when it comes to going to a nursing home. Do you and your husband make enough money to have a home care agency provide someone during the day? Have you and your husband talked about these types of questions and what is going on with your job? What is his, if any, input on all of this? I get the impression that all of this in falling on just you. Ya'll need to be a team and work together or something or someone is going to fall apart in the long run.
Telecommuting is gaining ground nationally as a cost-saving, productivity-enhancing strategy. I wish I could remember where I saw a collection of articles on the topic, sounds like your company needs to be brought up to date. I too, do most of my work online, was doing quite a bit of work at home before transitioning to a home office in 2007 (the company's idea, to save of leasing office space).
Have you looked into FMLA as well? That allows 12 weeks of leave a year, can be taken singly or in multiple days. Many people avoid it because it is leave without pay. Also depends on the company size, I believe. www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm

And cmagnum is right, if one or both of your parents are veterans, the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit would pay 1000-1900/mo for medical care of a vet's spouse or the vet. Of course the application process is painfully slow but there's a growing number of organizations that could help walk you through.
I suggest to ask your manager or HR Representative to look at getting an FMLA approved. (Family Medical Leave Absence). You don't get paid, but it helps to get the time off you need along with not worrying about taking time off and having it go against you.
I have stopped looking for a better job than I currently have because of Caregiver responsibilites for my mom. I cover 2 days a week, and I currently have a part-time job. My boss is understandable and has allowed me to be flexible, but I feel extreme guilt when work piles up and my co-workers do not pitch in. I cannot bring any of my work home. I have a son in high school who would like to go to a good college, but for that, I would definately need a much better paying full-time job, and sometimes I resent not being able to consider one. My large family does a great job of all helping with mom, but only 2 of us can do the week days, and I don't want to stick my brother with 5 days, since he also does 2 overnights. I feel comforted that I'm not alone, and look forward to reading more posts on this subject.
Dear firstof12,
I am 53, lost my job over 1 yr and 1/2 ago. My mom became ill and she has needed alot of care. I am the closest sibling, so its been on me. I let my boss know the situation of how it was getting so hard for me to concentrate and work with having to take care of my mom. 3 days later after I told him, I was fired from my job on 12-24-2009. I was told it was due to poor job performance. I told the unemployment exactly as it went down for me, and then I was approved. Getting fired on X-mas eve and my mom just got discharged out of the hospital to home that same day. Tears flowed down my face from the loss of my job and the shape that my mom was still in. I had to lift her up and move her physically across the room to chairs, to bed, to the toilet. My world seemed like it was falling apart. I been caregiving for mom for 4 yrs now. she is 88yrs old and now has had a fall and in a nursing home. it is horrible there and she has only been there 2 days. I am spending all my time now driving back and forth and getting things comfortable for her. but I know this is not good for her. She needs me more now. I am not gonna let her sit there and die with these uncaring people. My unemployment only has 13 weeks left, I am not sure how many more extensions I can do. Haven't had time to look at stuff for my self. just going through alot of sleepless nights. behind with bills, and barely making it. I am sorry I am of no help on this. The state doesn't want to pay family to take care of family, but they will pay strangers to come in and do it for you at a hefty price. I do not understand out system at all, and if anybody else has answers out there, I am constantly looking for help also.
I'm a nurse of 34 years and am woking 34 hours a week with elderly and then come home to assist my mom with my dad with end stage dementia. I believe the decision is very personal and financial. I recently took 3 weeks fmla time and just returned to work. My dad is 83 and I will choose to care for him first. Personally, I cannot rationalize caring for 30 patients in a nursing home and not caring for my dad first. Very difficult decision. My prayers are with you.

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