Research Paper # 3
Work & Family
Instructor: C. Lacey
How it affects Our Work and Family Life
The role reversal of caring for an elderly parent or grand-parent is becoming a multi-generational, time-consuming, and expensive venture. I worry whether my future employer will be supportive of my taking time off to care for my elderly parents? In addition, I also wonder if I will be able to afford to take time off work without pay. Almost everyone’s response to ageing is denial: “it isn’t going to happen to me or my loved ones and we have plenty of time to plan for the future.” We refuse to think or talk about it, the sad thing is it is inevitable we need to have discussions in order to be better prepared for when the time comes. Charlene Solomon wrote an article that says, “Within the next five years, 37 % of U.S. workers will be more concerned about caring for an elderly relative then a child.” She also stated that workers with young children are often late or need to take time off, but workers with elder care obligations miss entire days because their situations are much more complex, stressful, and usually more crisis-motivated. (Solomon, 58) “The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP report that nearly one in every four households nationally, is involved in caregiving for someone age 50 or older, that number could reach 39 million by 2007.” (Harold Dispatch) Also, public and private agencies have sought to lower cost by shifting the burden of elder care to families. As a result, approximately 80 percent of elder care is now provided by family members, mostly women. (Solomon) Even though one family member usually does the majority of the care, enlisting other family members help will greatly reduce their stress. Eldercare for Dummies suggests that the main caregiver have a chore jar; such as raking the lawn, providing meals, running errands, etc… delegating the work load throughout, so that siblings and others willing to lend a hand can help. By enlisting some of these ideas, you are able to plan your options now and definitely reduce the level of stress later when faced with life choices, especially if your loved one is dealing with dementia.
As a parent myself one concern I have is elder care. I see first hand what my own mother is going through caring for her mother; my grandmother and I know I too will someday be dealing with the same issues and problems I see her dealing with. I also have a younger brother and a sister with special needs and realize they may also need my help someday too. I am hoping to gain employment with the state or the county, as a social worker when I finish my education. I hope to be able to get adequate time off when the time comes to be able to help my parents. One of the ways I can start to be prepared for the day I will need to care for my parents is to learn as much as I can about the company I hope to work for and their work/family program. I also need to work with my family to prepare an action plan. Along with finding out what the work/family options are, I would like to develop a support network among my co-workers which may include, helping with their workload at work and/or at home, or just listening. Actually when an employer helps to promote supportive networking between coworkers, it encourages a family/friendly working environment, they and the employer will reap the benefits of building positive moral in the workplace and increasing productivity. In taking a survey of 6 employees with the Chisago County Welfare Department I asked the question, do you know the counties policy for taking time off if your parents need your care? Only 4 of them answered that they knew we were allowed to use sick leave or vacation time to care for a parent. Then, when asked, will your employer allow you to work flextime if your parents require your assistance? Only 2 knew that their supervisor would allow them to work flextime and the other...
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