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.

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I had to make the decision to leave my job 4 years ago when my 82 year old mother with dementia began to wander out of the house while I was at work, and fell into the street and gashed her face one day.

A number of bad coincidences then caused me a lot of trouble;
first of all, mom has hung on a lot longer than I thought she would when I made that decision.

Then funds from my Father's estate that I was expected to use to help with household expenses did not come through. (another story about selfish siblings)

And now, because I had willingly left my job and am physically capable of working, I do not qualify for unemployment, and have tried but can not find legitimate "work-at-home" employment.

The cost of hiring in-home care for mom would be more than I would make by returning to a small job in a small community.

So, I'm stuck, and the financial situation seems to get deeper and deeper each month.

I may soon be faced with making the decision to turn mom over to the state simply because I cannot afford to care for her (and Me) on her income alone, and my savings and hers are gone.

It's especially sad because i feel that we have come so far through so much and after all that, she will only end up alone and dying in a state institution.
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Tough decision - stay home and be a care giver or try to work and pay someone else...

No, most bosses do NOT understand the care of elderly. They may be frightened of the topic since they may be facing it sometime themselves. I pray for those, bosses and co-workers that do NOT understand that they will understand before they are faced with the same choices. My last boss that didn't understand was the HR Director...go figure

I ended up staying home. I'm trying to sell on eBay and sell my own jewelry designs and visor scarves on my web site - so far, not that many sales.
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I choose to retire after 31 years of working for the state, here's the problem i'm only 55, my retirement won't be what i could be if i stay til i'm 60/62 but i have a Mother and Grandmother to take care thank God for my husband.
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Hi - my name is Alice and I am new to this site. What a bittersweet day it was to find this site and to also find so many people that can relate to my situation. Reading other peoples profiles and stories was like reading my own.
irwinsu - I think most responders gave you good suggestions. I would also suggest that you have an indept talk with your boss, because he did say "with his approval", so there may be hope yet. Also, please check out the FMLA - this is the law and it does include family members. I would also check social sevices - they may have some kind of program to help you. It depends on your location. Above all - take care of you - it is so easy to get depressed and fall apart and then you are no good to anyone. I think I am always in a state of depression. lol. You 1st. Good Luck.

Cowgirl - wow - I really feel for you. What pressure. I hope some of the suggestions given here may apply to you as well. It is sad that our government does not recognize the work that family caregivers offer and would rather pay a stranger outrageous sums of money. I am experiencing the same thing right now - maybe someday this will change. I hope so. Take care of yourself.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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