Human resources is getting me stressed out. Any advice?


Can HR tell me, “I’m a mother and have kids” and compare babysitting to the same as caregiving for my grandmother with Dementia? Btw I’m a single male live with both grandparents. Work graveyard 60hrs a week.

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The firm's number one priority is productivity. I worked full time and did night and weekend shifts for bedridden vegetative constant suctioning of the trache mom. My dad had the day shifts when I'm at work. I've learned the hard way fast and quick that there's only so much my employers were going to be sympathetic to my home situation. Basically, they allowed me some lee-way in the beginning. But when it became a constant situation, I was told that I needed to keep my home life separate from my work life. If I cannot handle work efficiently, perhaps it's time for me to quit. Or find a less stressful job. Or part-time position TEMPORARILY until I got the home situation taken care off. I needed this job. So, I learned real fast to keep my home life stress away from my work life.

Sal3rd, you need to figure out HOW you're going to handle both the home front and work. To me, it's obvious that a 60hrs a week job is too much. That's fine if you're single and no one's living with you. But you have 2 elderly people. Even a regular full time job of 40hrs/week is very stressful but 60 hrs? You're slowly killing yourself with these kinds of hours and then to go home and deal with the grandparents.

Have you reached that high stress level that it's now affecting your job? HR has given you the warning (just like my boss did to me). Now it's up to you to decide what to do. Cut your work hours? Find a 'companion' to be with your grandparents during the mornings to give you some real sleep/rest. I don't know.  Read several discussion threads here and learn how others coped, get ideas, etc...
Helpful Answer (14)

Caregiving to dementia sufferer isn't the same as babysitting a small child. You can restrain a small child by putting in a playpen, etc, but with dementia you have to always be keeping an ear/eye out for them. There are a thousand other major differences, but I'm just saying that Caregiving Is Not Same As Babysitting a child, and all caregivers know this. You can tell a child what to do but you can't give direction to an unreasonable adult, etc., etc.

I don't know how you can make your HR dept more sympathetic if they're taking the position of "we all have responsibilities" and they don't understand the particular difficulties of caregiving to elderly/dementia. What's taking you in front of them, anyway? Do you need time off or are you coming in late due to caregiving?
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While there are important differences - small children do not generally weigh over 100lbs, for a start, or break their hips if they fall over, or try to drive into town and turn the wrong way up the interstate - from HR's point of view the similarities are more relevant: you cannot leave either young children or older people with dementia alone in the house. So. Is the employee going to be at work? No. Why not? Overriding family commitments. What's to be done about them? Get a sitter. Or quit.

One day that HR professional, cough-cough, will have a parent or a grandparent on her hands and on that day she may blush to remember what she said to you. Meanwhile, you can't work full-time and care alone for two grandparents, one with dementia. What options are you looking at?
Helpful Answer (9)

That response from an HR representative is ignorant, not professional at all..and can get them in big trouble..

I second the questions above from Ali, what’s the problem? Do you need a family leave of absence? (FYI it’s your employers prerogative to pay you or not and they’ve to guarantee your job for a set period, I think 12 weeks). All this is for salaried employees, not sure for hourly.

If you’ve a better relationship with your direct supervisor I’d try to solve the problem with that person instead of HR. And a general good advice is to always write down what was said, date, who, why.

You know caring for a child isn’t the same as what you’re doing, that was just a silly comparison; so I would try to get over the anger and frustration and try to focus on what you’re trying to obtain and how to go about it. Don’t waste energy on stupid words from someone that has no clue what they’re talking about!
Good luck!!
Helpful Answer (8)

Bookluvr made a good point regarding the firm's number one priority is productivity.

When I first started helping out my parents, I used up all my vacation/sick days, and zero paid days for doctor appointments, hair cuts, shopping, etc. as it hard to say "no" to my parents. My boss back then was "the Devil Wears Prada" type of personality.

Then I had to realize that some of this was my fault, and my fault alone. I had needed to set boundaries with my parents.... like telling them "sorry, I ran out of vacation/sick days to take them places". I suggested to my parents they hire a caregiver to help them out, or hire a cab. No way, never would they do that.... [sigh]. So I was stuck in the middle.

It got to a point that since I had taken so much time off that headquarters eliminated my position as other employees were able to keep the ball rolling when I wasn't available. There went my salary... my matching 401(k)... vacation and sick day pay... company profit share... excellent health insurance, etc. My parents had no idea how much I had lost by asking me to drive them places. It just fell onto deaf ears [pun intended].

Sal, I think it is time to somehow convince your Grandparents that they need to hire someone to help YOU, as you could lose your job over this situation, and you cannot afford to do that. Would one of your grandparents understand that. I see from your profile that you have always lived with them. Would they be able to budget this cost?
Helpful Answer (7)

Bookluvr and Freqflyer, as I read your comments I appreciated the commonality I found with your situations, because many people cannot even phathom the degree of difficulties that caring for a loved one generates when it comes to work.

I also had a really good job, six figures plus bonus, great matching 401k, very good health benefits..the only thing I didn’t have was pension. And although they didn’t let me go, I STRUGGLED SO MUCH to keep up!! because as good as the salary was, the requirements and hours were crazy and a lot of traveling local and overseas was it’s the type of company where SEEING you there was important, no matter if you worked from home at nigh and weekends to stay efficient. Now, try that juggling a mom in bad shape physically and mentally/emotionally and extremely difficult..narcissistic.

And the worse so you can laugh, this was even when my mom was overseas! Miles away. Between nights that I didn’t know where she was because she didn’t feel like answering the phone, so I went to bed at around 3 or 4 am, because after “finding” her -calling her neighbors to ask them to please go knock on her door until she opened- then she felt like using me as the recipient of all the frustration she has and were two or more hours on the phone, just her talking ..
And forget about when she was there with me in my house, I still remember an entire night up with her because she thought she had tetanus because my dog bit her (it was an scratch) when I had an important meeting at 7am..but she refused to see a doctor or leave my house! So I couldn’t go to the meeting because in the morning my mom still felt ‘ill’ and couldn’t leave her alone..etc, etc, etc...

Companies are businesses, and our personal lives are not exactly their business! I noticed my superiors’ dislike of my situation and I realized the “same story” was boring, inexcusable and unprofessional to I had to do something; I had to choose: I quit, I moved overseas to take care of my mom; here I am living what many times feels like a Chinese torture..but at the end of the day I know I’m doing the right thing...and I feel much better knowing that no body, no organization, no boss has any reason nor right to complain!
Helpful Answer (5)

Companies are not sympathetic anymore. You can be replaced easily. I understand where ur coming from but we r talking about your future earnings. This is the time u need to pay into SS so you get a decent retirement. What u owe GMom is to be safe, clean and fed. Her Alz/Dementia is only going to worsen and she won't be able to be alone. You need to find alternatives. Call ur office of aging and see what services u recommend. Medicaid also has home services. You may want to consider an Assisted Living. If u can't afford that check out NHs and see if Medicaid will pay for it. Do it now, because Medicaid will be getting less. Ask HR if the company has information that can help. Both places I and my husband worked had programs to help people in ur position. Yes, it will be hard to place her but you can't do it all. But u can be there for her. Good Luck.
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Dear Sal,

Direct HR to this site and have them read some of the threads. That is a highly insensitive comparison. Working graveyard is tough plus caring for your grandparents. It is a lot to take on. I hope you can get some additional supports.
Helpful Answer (4)

While I sympathize with you, you will have to make a decision regarding your priorities. Although I shared caregiving responsibilities of my father with my siblings, it was still difficult. I had a responsibility to my employer: I was hired to do a job, which required me to be there. It would not have been fair to routinely distribute my share of work to my co-workers. In my later position as a nurse manager, I also had to take the difficult position of discussing with employees their absenteeism. If our nurses are absent, either others have to work overtime, or we may be short-staffed. Unfortunately, you will have to find resources for your grandparents or decide whether you can fulfill the responsibilities of the job.
Helpful Answer (4)

In no way, can ANY comparison be made to caring for a child vs. caring for an elder.
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