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I can only speak for myself but I missed far less work time when my children were small than I do now caring for an elderly parent... I have to laugh when managers still get concerned if a prospective employee has small children. I want to yell " who cares about that??? how old are their parents & how is their health???" I'm still 10 years from retirement so thats not an option. I have 3 weeks vacation & 5 sick days. I did use 11 vacation days personally this year but the remainder of my "paid time off" has been used on my 87 year old mother's doctor's appts; hospital stays etc. There are services that can drive her to/from but she needs someone with her who can go in to the exam room with her to take notes, ask questions etc. as she doesn't remember what the dr says . She actually had 7 different drs appts in the past 2 months! . My brother & I try and split them but she's not comfortable w/ him in the room if she has to undress or lower her gown etc. plus he has the same issues missing work as I do. I really hope someone starts to raise this issue on a national level as I know I can't be alone. Wondering what others thoughts on this are...

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MISSING WORK DUE TO ELDER CARE...Well tallvine You are so lucky, as You are still able to hold down Your Career. Most of Us Carer's here on site have had to forsake Our Career's. HONESTLY IM NOT COMPLAINING, as it was necessary to do so. My thought's are once You have explained Your circumstances to Your Employer's, surely They would understand. I would agree with You tallvine, this Issue must be raised at National level, so that all Employer's will understand Your situation. There must be an awful lot of People out there in the same circumstances to You.
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Do you qualify for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)? Usually you have to be at your job for 1 year before you qualify. That is one of my problems I haven't been here a year yet and I missed 17 hours last week. That takes a big chunk out of my paycheck! None of my 3 brothers EVER miss work to do anything for mom.
And your right about the 1 pm appointment. The wait at my mom's doctors office is usually always an hour minimum in the waiting room and then a 1/2 hour in the exam room!!! Can you call the office and make the appt's? That's what I do now and I work it around my schedule and then just tell Mom when we will be going.
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I have used up all my vacation and sick time this year while mom was in the hospital and taking her to doctors appointments. I have told her doctors to make her appointments for early mornings or on my days off but mom insists that if she makes an appointment for 1:00, I will have plenty of time to get to work by 2:00. No I don't. There is always a long wait for the doctor and I still have a 30 minute drive to get to work. I told her that i will not take her to any late appointments and she would have to reschedule. As long as I have a note from the hospital my employer is very understanding about missing work.
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I'm fortunate in that I work at home now though I have an office location. My boss so far has been very supportive and allows me a lot flexibility in my working hours (i.e, start early, work late many times ahead of the appointments, which there can be many). If it weren't for that I would've burned a whole through the PTO I have left this year. My husband's job allows him the same flexibility to help my dad. My brother can't, won't do it. As long as the job gets done well they've been fine with it, but it realize this is the exception. I did talk to others and HR for options as well, but I think it mostly comes down to the type of work you do and the management.
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I'm self employed. If I don't work my contracts (which are usually 1/2 day engagements, planned months to a year or more in advance), I don't get paid, but I still have to find a sub to work that job (and risk receiving a very bad review, which negatively affects future contracts). So it really hurts to take off time for mom, but she did pass away in June. My siblings all had PTO and used not one twit of it to come visit mom....not even when she was in her final couple of weeks! !!! They all whimpered, it's too expensive. One came for a couple hours around dinner on Sat, and then promptly returned home so they could attend their home church services....I'm sure Heavenly Father was very impressed.
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I haven't worked at my new job long enough to qualify for FMLA, nor have I earned any time off yet. So, if I miss work; I miss pay! I am very angry/resentful of my brothers who have NEVER taken time off of work to do anything for my mom. It's stressful and overwhelming most times, but I know I am doing what I do with a pure heart and mom is safe and comfortable with me. To make up some of the time, I come in a little earlier or stay a little later; I also don't take my lunch break so all of that adds up. But I still loose hours and guess that's just the way it has to be!!!
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Dr. Keith. What kind of assistance would you suggest for someone with a Master's degree? I have had interviews where I am actually asked well what happens to Mom if we hire you. They are already expecting lots of time taken off to take care of Mom. How does a person answer a question like that?
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PBS on May 7, 3:00 pm eastern time, has a special "Caring for Mom and Dad". A start to raising awareness of caregiver issues.
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I hope eventually things work out for you (and I know they will). I know from personal experience and I have just completed research on working caregivers and I know things can be tough. You can't do it alone! Please try to reach out and get some type of assitance. Also, read the article I published on this site. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/balancing-career-caregiving-cant-do-it-alone-180295.htm?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20May%202,%202015
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I took a lower level job working 3.5 days a week and caring for my parents the other days. We use their pension to pay for a caregiver 3.5 days while I work (her pay is lower than mine) and the government gives us a free psw a few hours every week so I can shop for food, pick up meds, have a quick bite/coffee at a foodcourt. My parents are both disabled and dad is blind. My work vacation days are taken up with my parents' doctors appointments, stocking up non-perishables and cooking up meals to store in the freezer so we can have variety in our diet.

I have home monitoring which means that we have 2 cameras installed in the living room and bedroom and I can see my parents on livestream on my Blackberry anywhere. I also have emergency lineline installed in case they fall. All my salary is spent on accommodation, groceries and hydro. I pray that God will be merciful and provide for me as I'm an only child with no spouse or children - or that He kills me after my parents are gone.
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Well if I weren't my mom's prime caregiver I would be getting a full time job with a company. ...it would be difficult to go a whole year with no sick or PTO time however. Most companies are really quite stingy until you've worked 5-10 yrs. At that point I would be retiring anyhow. I screwed myself by staying home with kids until they were all in school, and then by self-employment, and now by caregiving. Another 5-10 yrs before mom is gone, and I'll be looking at my own "retirement " as well as an older husband who will be home all day (ARGH) possibly needing....caregiver help. Somewhere along the way, do I EVER get to just live my own Life? Maybe high school was the best years (but I was working then too....).
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Mallory, for decades I was an "independent contractor", so I know what you mean. Lot of pluses but a lot of minuses. I was getting older and my health insurance was going through the roof because I wasn't in a group rate... when a position came available under a corporate umbrella I jumped on it to get a more reasonable rate for health insurance, plus all the other beanies. But I did miss not having my hours to myself. But not long after that my parents needed my help, so it became complicated.

I, too, if I had to do it all over again, I would have looked for a corporate position decades ago.
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I'm self-employed, so there's literally no FMLA, no sick, no PTO, no vacation, no unemployment, no continuing education paid for, no nothing except.what I myself do. The rub is my sibs erroneously believe that well, being self-employed, I can "simply rearrange" my schedule to incorporate mom's needs. .....the trouble is, there's only so many hours in a day AND only certain hours when I reasonably be "doing business." One sibling is not even employed, but frequently travels with their spouse (to lovely places) and claims they are "gone on a business trip". If I had it to do over again I would have gotten an RN degree and have been a more valuable member of society who actually makes a good salary, with benefits.
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I also work a full time job and the caregiver for my husband's dementia. I am on the FMLA intermittent leave. Financially I have to use my sick or vacation time when I have to take him to the doctors appointments. One time I forgot to contact the FMLA after I took the day off and was told we will let you go this time but if you forget to contact us next time we will drop you from the program. So needless to say with everything go on. I try to remember to call them. If I do not belong to the FMLA the days I have to take off go on my working record and after so many absences, they call Occurrences I will receive oral, than written write up's and than termination. So please look into the FMLA , so you don't lose your jobs for poor attendance. Blessings to all and stay strong and positive taking care of your loved ones..
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While doing research for my most recent book , I encountered several people that experienced this type of concern. Being out of the workforce due to care-giving responsibilities may slow you down but don't let it stop you. There are a lot of online colleges, universities and resources that are in place to help you get back into the workforce. For example you may want to take a look at www.edx.org or www,coursera.org. These two are free resources that may help you obtain the skills you need to find a path independent of any age barriers.
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I am having problems returning to the workforce as a result of the time I spent caring for my Mother, Mom is now in long-term care, however the years away from the workforce and now my age are an awful barrier. Wondering if anyone else has encountered this issue.
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On another note, I thing the elderly are going to the doctor way too much.

My parents primary doctor wanted to see them every 3 months.... after doing that for the past 6 years and taking all that time off I finally decided to postpone their appointments and drag it out for a few more months.... nothing terrible happened by doing that.... in fact, nothing happened at all accept for my parents grumbling about not going to the doctor :P

Now I am now dragging out the time with other appointments for my parents. Maybe now I CAN finally make appointments for myself !!
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In a lot of instances, organizations do not want to lose valuable employees. Also, with the many advances in technology, organizations are becoming more supportive. This is something I personally experienced. I had exhausted my FMLA and my manager supported placing me on a schedule where I worked 2 days from home and 3 days in the office. In my blog post I discuss that caregivers cannot do it alone. You need the support of your HR department in addition to family members. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/balancing-career-caregiving-cant-do-it-alone-180295.htm
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I'm lucky that my company is pretty understanding about this, but my particular department is unbelievably stingy at the moment, so I'm not able to be fully up and running working remotely. I can check email and calendars, and that's about it. It's not like I need, or want, to work outside the office full time, but the flexibility would be great. And I don't want to be too much of a squeaky wheel, although that is actually the most effective approach (in corporate america, you don't ask-you don't get). I'm waiting another few months to reqeust the setup I need, and we'll see.
In the meantime, I bank my vacation time, and use probably 98% of it on mother-related stuff.
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I recently completed research in my latest book regarding "Caregiving Full-time and Working Full-time. It has become a challenge as diseases like Alzheimer's continue to impact our society. Some employers are offering the opportunity to work remotely in the technology sector. In other areas employers are offering a compressed work week (i.e. 4 - 10 hour days, 3 - 12 hour days., etc.). It is not the cure all, but for some people this is a start.
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I am getting stuck in same situation. Parents might give me $5 omce in awhile (after spending 6 hours and driving everywhere).
I am keeping track of all the hours. My employer is sympathetic having lived thru it.
As far as other people suggestions or hints that this is a need for govt to pay family members to do the care.....oh that is a BIG can of worms. Administration of that would cost astronomical. I hope my taxes do not go to pay my neneighbor to be caregiver. That is job best left to AL and NH. People should skip the big screen TV, fancy cars, vacations other than camping, and save for retirement including cares in AL or NH. There are still good LTC policies around, and newer hybrid life insurance or annuities which can be designed to cover expenses at home, AL or NH. It is every person's individual choice to avail themselves of these options, to take care of themselves.
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igloo572, you hit the nail on the head with your post. We definitely need more women in Congress, and in a lot of State and local elected offices.

Thank goodness in my area, there are a lot of retirement villages, independent facilities, assistant living facilities and nursing homes. It's the mid-size metro areas that are behind the curve with less choices. I would hate to be in my 80's and find I need to be on a waiting list with 50 people ahead of me wanting to move into a facility.
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The only way to ever get change in this is to elect to office those who will place & value what is viewed as women's work on equal footing as mens jobs. Caregiving is by & large in the US viewed as cheap or free labor done by women. Needed but devalued. Until those that draw up legislation have actually been in the day to day effort to be a caregiver happens, it will not change.

As an aside on this, last night 9/16 on Charlie Rose, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was on. One of the things she said was staggering…that when she went on the armed services committee when in Congress there were actually several women. That for the first time there was a group of women. That the men on the committee were all about how many tanks would be placed on the field; how many tons of armament would be delivered. Very focused on on hard costs of buildings and equipment. The women were asking what were the #'s on social services costs - how many PTSD cases, suicides, field hospital units & staffing, deployment costs to their families. That often this data & social costs was not being collected. But with more women in office and being put on the armed forces / defense hearing that has changed somewhat. Still horrendous problems (especially the suicide rate) but more focus & funding for social costs.

In a way, this is similar to how the US approaches dealing with aging. The focus is about building & staffing NH & AL. The $ is made in having elders in facilities not in living with family. Medicaid is designed to pay for NH first & foremost. Not for paying family caregivers or for family to be able to hire caregivers. My mom's cost between Medicaid NH r&b & Medicare hospice is about 14K mo. $ 168,000.00 a year. And mom's medical demands are pretty minimal as she has no chronic diseases like diabetes or cancer. She is just very elderly with a terminal disease (in her case probably Lewy Body Dementia) and totally bedfast due to hip shatter. She is now going into her 15th month on hospice. Probably has spent more on health costs this last year than total for her entire prior 90+ lifetime. I shudder to think of what the costs are going to be when the oncoming tsumani of baby boomers start hitting needing the NH's and will qualify for Medicaid. There just has got to be a better way which means a sea change in what aging is to be in the US.
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I am lucky I only work 3 days a week,, 12 hour days.. but still.. I make apts when I am off, and try to do more than one a day if I can, or we all have apts at the same time (dentist, eye specialist) I also TRY to get mom to let the CG take them to routine things.. but you know that .47 a mile is deal breaker..LOL. I use my FMLA a day at a time, have so far only used about 5 days a year.. mainly when the snow is bad and I worry about the power going off as we are very rural. I did get stuck at a snow emergency at work last winter for 3 days, but hubs handled the parents just fine! Mom is even OK with dad if the CG can;t come due to weather as hubs only works about 8 miles from home. I also have about 350 hours of paid leave.. because since the folks moved in.. we can;t leave ... I save it up in case I need it.. do the best you can and apply for FMLA
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I never used my FMLA for time off for my parents, thank goodness I didn't because during one year I was diagnosed with cancer was lucky I had all my FMLA days as I had to be out of work for couple of months... my company had insurance tied to FMLA, like Aflac, so I was paid some salary.

When it came to caring for my parents, I used my vacation days and sick days, and days without pay. Eventually headquarters decided since other employees were doing my work while I was out, my position was no longer needed :(

Now I am with a company that is way more understanding.
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FMLA can de taken at once or intermittently , so you can take a day off as needed for appointments. I believe the max is 13 weeks, and it is unpaid. It is however protected - chances of being fired while on FMLA from a respectable firm are very slight. Small employers I believe are exempt from having to honor FMLA.

Some jobs are more flexible than others as are some high earning careers.
The truth is no employer - small or large corporation- will sacrifice their long term productivity to enable someone to have a second job, and caregiving is a demanding job.

I encourage caregivers to remain in the workforce, but I guess it is similiar to the decision to raise children or return to work. If you are going to make the nearly the same as you are going to pay, you may lean towards doing it yourself for the personal satisfaction. I do not know many DRmoms who decided to raise children instead of having a practice....they did both.
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But, I feel like, those of you that are cutting down on work are also, cutting down on your social security. Who is going to take care of you?
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bookluvr - I'm lucky like you. I work part-time as a secretary for a small church and they let me cut my work week down to only two days a week so I could be MIL's caregiver the rest of the week. I can call and let them know there's an emergency and I won't be able to be in, and they are very understanding. I have 8 days of vacation and unfortunately, they were all spent in the hospital this year during her several different admits.
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I have a low income job. Not low enough to qualify for federal programs at all, but not high enough to be called middle income. My siblings found jobs with high income and great retirement. I have a job at a small business which is only me and my 2 bosses. Because it's small, I can last minute call my boss at home at 8:00am (I open the shop at 8:30am) and say, "My dad finally agrees to go to the ER. I've been trying to get him to go since 4 weeks ago. I'm going to call 911 as soon as we hang up. I can't come to work." And my boss says okay, just update them. And that is why I've been working at this job for 20 years for such low income. I can call in last minute that I can't come. And we will figure out how I can make up my hours. He much prefers that I make it up than to pay me less on my paycheck. Now that sis is living with us, I no longer make those calls to the boss. Sis now goes with dad to the clinic. But I still have to go if it's the ER. No, I don't have POA.
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I laughed drily as I read about your recommendations to prospective employers that they ask their hirees about their elderly parents. SO TRUE! I was hardly ever out with sick children all those years ago. I have spent MUCH more time out with my elderly mother and step-dad, exhausted FMLA two years in a row, and used personal time, which I resented. I hate to sound like a selfish prig, but I work SO HARD, and then to have to 'waste' it for him especially when he isn't even my dad! Just stinks........I try to switch days, go back to work later, etc., but that makes me feel resentful, too.
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