caring for parents is a work issue

When my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I knew that my life plan had been changed. When he went into a nursing home, my mother moved in with me. My mother and my 13-year-old brother became my responsibility, along with the welfare of my father.

My mother wasn’t able to cope with everything. Dad had handled everything until he got sick. Mom just couldn’t deal with it.

I can’t count the amount of times I had to take time to deal with my Dad’s nursing home, my brother’s school issues, or my mother’s financial oversight. There was always something.

Now that my father has passed away and my brother is almost grown up, my life is a bit less complicated (and yes, I do know how callous that sounds). But I’m still the person who takes care of my mother. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Elder care an issue at work
Some employers help their people care for parents
— reported by the Houston Chronicle


Elder care has begun to rival child care as a workplace issue, and companies have started to realize that such support props up not just workers but also the bottom line.

One in six American workers cares for an older relative, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving.

Experts expect that proportion to grow to one in four over the next decade as the population ages, more women remain in the work force and families become smaller.

Companies help caregivers by offering lunch-hour seminars, flexible working arrangements, easy access to geriatric care managers and paid family sick leave.


The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who works full time and looks after a chronically ill 77-year-old mother, but men are starting to lend more of a hand.

For many employees, the competing demands of work and family become impossible to manage. Caregiving usually adds 18 hours to the 40 hours most workers clock at the office.


Stressed out and fatigued, one in five caregivers quits working or looks for a less demanding job.

Others make workplace accommodations. They arrive late, take long lunches, leave early, go on unpaid leaves, use sick days or take vacation time to care for loved ones.

Experts predict that more businesses and policymakers will help caregivers balance their work and family responsibilities once they understand that such assistance can avert looming worker shortages.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter ( and (Facebook).

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