According to caregiver.org, more than 1 in 6 Americans have been reported working either full time or part time while also caring for an older adult.
Forbes sat down with a psychiatrist, Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, who has over 20 years of experience, to talk with her about what struggles she has seen caregivers face throughout her career and what she suggests caregivers do if they end up feeling stressed or overwhelmed. You can read the full interview here.
What are unique struggles that working caregivers face?
- Prioritizing their loved ones’ needs first instead of their own.
- Hard to find time to decompress and do their own self care.
What are unique demands that young caregivers who live in a digital world face when it comes to trying to balance caregiving and their career?
- Hard to separate work from home. Always feeling they need to be a “yes man.”
- Unsure about how to ask for time off work.
- Unsure if they can handle missing work financially.
What are common signs of caregiver burnout?
- Feeling irritable
- Avoiding doing activities
- Low energy levels
- Neglecting your own physical and mental health.
“Our mental, physical and emotional health go hand-in-hand, and taking time for yourself is a very important habit (and the one we are often the first to neglect).
While it can be challenging to work in time for yourself to
an already packed schedule, we cannot be the best version of ourselves and show up for our loved ones if we don’t prioritize our own wellbeing.” — Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn
When balancing work and caregiving, what are important things to talk to employers about?
- Be honest about the situation.
- Work together to come up with a solution that offers the best version of an employee as well as a caregiver.
What are some things caregivers can do when they start to feel overwhelmed or burned out?
- Make a commitment to do some sort of self-care daily.
– here are some ideas: go on a walk during lunch, read a book for an hour each night, dedicate an hour to a favorite hobby
- Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for support.
- Be open and talk about your feelings.
Caregivers can find tons of resources and support available on the The National Alliance for Caregiving website.