How to Keep a Job & Care for Elderly Parents
The Caring Generation® – Episode 28 February 26, 2020 On this caregiver radio program Pamela D. Wilson caregiving expert shares tips for How to Keep a Job and Care for Elderly Parents. Attorney Cynthia Calvert with Workforce 21c and Hastings College of Law talks about How to Avoid Caregiver Discrimination in the Workplace while caring for elderly parents.
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How to Keep A Job And Care For Elderly Parents Radio Show Transcript
00:04 Announcer: Caregiving can sometimes feel like an impossible struggle. Caregivers may be torn between taking care of loved ones and trying to maintain balance in life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Caring Generation, with host Pamela D. Wilson, is here to focus on the conversation of caring. You’re not alone; in fact, you’re in exactly the right place to share stories, and learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones. So now, please welcome the host of The Caring Generation, Pamela D. Wilson.
Caregiving: How to Manage When Life Goes Crazy
00:47 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. The Caring Generation focuses on conversations about health, well-being, caring for ourselves, loved ones, and everything in between, all tied together with some humor and laughter that are essential to being a caregiver. Our topic for this show is: How to Keep a Job and Care for Elderly Parents.
01:19 Pamela D. Wilson: Some of you may be struggling with that. Did you know that you can take The Caring Generation with you wherever you go, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Spreaker, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Castbox, and more. I recommend that you share the program with your elderly parents and your family members who may be unfamiliar with everything that you are doing as a caregiver. Download that podcast app to their cell phones. Show them how to listen. It’s the perfect way to help begin conversations about caregiving by letting me do the talking for you.
01:53 Pamela D. Wilson: This week in talking about how to keep a job and care for elderly parents, I’ll share ten tips for how to keep a job that ties together with how to be that caregiver for your elderly parents. My guest is attorney Cynthia Thomas Calvert. She’s an expert in Family Responsibilities Discrimination Law. She’s the owner of Workforce 21C, and she serves as a senior advisor for the Center for Work-Life Law based at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
02:25 Pamela D. Wilson: Cynthia will talk about information about caregiver discrimination in the workplace, that is becoming more of an issue these days. Caregivers worry about talking to supervisors about caring for elderly parents. A lot of working caregivers will quit their jobs to care for elderly parents because they don’t feel that they can do both. Some caregivers also feel that they face discrimination because sometimes they might be denied a promotion, or they might be seen as being less responsible, less dedicated compared to their co-workers.
03:01 Pamela D. Wilson: Throughout this program, I’ll share tips for how to keep a job, and care for elderly parents. Two ideas that are very similar when you think about this subject. You’re working full-time. You may be caring for an elderly parent, sometimes 15, 20, 30, 40 hours a week. It can be crazy. So on this subject, I’ve divided up the ten tips for how to keep a job and care for elderly parents into six subjects that relate to work these are: being productive, proactive, considerate, confident, respectful, and positive.
03:36 Pamela D. Wilson: Let’s start with number one, being productive related to how to keep a job, and care for elderly parents. At work, if you have projects or tasks, finish them. Don’t finish them 50% of the time, or 50% of the project, and then drop that ball so that somebody else, like your co-worker, has to finish your work for you. Finishing your work is essential. If you have to come in late, leave early or take time off to care for elderly parents. The partner idea is being productive in caring for elderly parents.
04:09 Pamela D. Wilson: If you don’t create lists with deadlines, meaning dates and times for getting those projects done, if you don’t schedule your time, today’s the time to begin. How to keep a job and care for elderly parents involves creating a to-do list for work and a caregiving to-do list for caring for elderly parents. So that you can keep everything straight. Keep the two lists separate, though, but together in a file on your computer or in a notebook so that you can access it.
04:35 Pamela D. Wilson: You can combine those lists with a calendar on paper, on your computer, on your cell phone. It doesn’t really matter how you do this. What matters is that you do it. Look at the to-do list and look at your calendar. Can you estimate the time it takes you to complete the projects? Are you over-scheduling yourself? Causing yourself more stress? Are you including time each day for unexpected events to show up, maybe 30 minutes, an hour? You know what happens at work and in caring for elderly parents. If you don’t plan for that unexpected event, you’ll be more stressed and more pressed for time. Once you have your how to keep your job list and how to care for elderly parents list, commit to being productive and getting those tasks off the list.
05:21 Pamela D. Wilson: The number two tip in the subject of being productive and how to keep a job, is to keep your boss informed of everything that you’re working on. This complements that idea of how to care for your elderly parents. Because you also want to keep your parents informed of what you’re doing for them. When will you call? When will you show up at their house? By keeping your boss and your parents informed, there’ll be fewer interruptions from both of them asking questions about when you’ll have a certain project finished or when you plan to visit.
05:53 Pamela D. Wilson: A weekly status meeting, to keep your boss and your parents informed is a good idea. Because caregivers get so super busy, this level of organization helps you get all those tasks off your caregiving to-do list. You may add a quick email or a phone call in between those little status meetings if something changes. At the status meetings, you can talk about schedules, you can re-confirm projects, and when they’re due. Answer questions, ask questions, talk about concerns.
06:21 Pamela D. Wilson: If you have family members, like brothers or sisters who can help you care for elderly parents, invite them to those status meetings even if they just call in over the phone. It’s a good time to share the tasks and the projects that have to be done so that you’re not feeling overwhelmed, and you can more easily balance work and everything you do in caregiving. Make it clear to everybody, your family, brothers, sisters, parents, people in work, that this level of organization is in place because you’re committed. You want to be able to keep your job, and you want to care for elderly parents. It’s the only way that you can survive.
06:57 Pamela D. Wilson: Set up a system of communication with your co-workers with your family. It’s efficient and effective if you are sharing projects with somebody else, or if you’re starting a project that your brother or sister is going to finish off for you. Keep projects moving ahead and try to stay on schedule. This ongoing communication helps everybody work together, and it minimizes confusion over who’s doing what.
07:21 Pamela D. Wilson: Being productive, keeping lists, working toward completing projects, and talking to everybody avoids surprises. Which none of us want. Nobody likes surprises. When I managed care for hundreds of clients, my main message to my staff was, “I don’t like surprises.” I don’t want to hear of an issue from somebody else if that issue involves you or a client that you’re working with. If I have to come to ask you about a problem that somebody else told me about first, then we have a communication problem.
07:50 Pamela D. Wilson: You might think that that’s a negative system. But it actually is a positive system when you combine the idea of; I’m not going to be mad at you for telling me about a problem. It is so much better if we know about a problem early in the stages so that we can solve it before something else happens. It’s so important.
08:15 Pamela D. Wilson: Being proactive is all about solving issues when they are small. Before they become bigger issues that can take a lot more time and effort to solve. These are the number one and the number two tips for how to keep a job and care for elderly parents. I hear from so many caregivers who are trying to manage work, care for parents, take care of their children, keep their relationships with the spouses.
08:36 Pamela D. Wilson: This is such an important conversation. We’ll continue with the other eight tips for caregivers in the second half of this program. Up after this break, attorney Cynthia Thomas Calvert, she’s going to share information about family responsibility caregiver discrimination. This is Pamela D. Wilson on The Caring Generation, live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after this break.
11:17 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’re back with Cynthia Thomas Calvert of WorkForce 21C and the Center for Work-Life Law, to talk about family responsibility discrimination and caregiving in the workplace. Cynthia, thank you for joining us.
11:41 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Thanks Pamela, it’s a pleasure to talk with you.
11:45 Pamela D. Wilson: So my first question, family responsibility discrimination cases are on the rise in the area of eldercare. There are 40 million caregivers out there. One in six is a family caregiver, on average, caregiving 20 hours a week. You oversee an employee hotline. What’s happening out there that is resulting in all of these increased calls and cases?
12:07 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Well, you’re certainly right. Discrimination against elder caregivers is on the rise. Let me tell you some of the things that I see, and these are things that are coming through the courts, as well as coming through our hotline. There was a woman who took FMLA leave to care for her mother, and as a result, she had her work audited. She said she was talked down to, harassed, given unrealistic expectations about the amount of work that she should do, even though she’s taking leave and could do less.
12:36 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: She was put on a performance improvement plan, and of course, as we all know, that usually leads to termination. A male police officer said that he was approved for FMLA leave to care for his mother, and he was warned he was using too much leave. And when he reminded his boss it was FMLA leave, he said, “It doesn’t matter, you’re going to be disciplined anyway.” And then, in another case, a man had his request for FMLA leave to care for his mother denied three times. And he was so upset at not being able to care for her that he passed out at work. He had to be hospitalized for chest pain and anxiety and depression.
13:18 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And so, many of these situations that I hear about on the hotline involve supervisors who start scrutinizing the work of the caregiving employee, and they’re trying to find reasons to say that the employees aren’t performing well so that they can create a record so that they can terminate them. And I’ve also heard stories of supervisors yelling at caregivers. Taking away their flexible schedules and trying to make their lives at work really difficult or unpleasant so they’ll just quit.
13:49 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And of course, not all workplaces are like this, fortunately. But too many of them are, and it seems like it’s only going to get worse as more employees become caregivers, and quite frankly, employers are really just not prepared to deal with this.
14:07 Pamela D. Wilson: Well, and those stories, they make me sad because these poor caregivers, as you and I know, they’re already under so much stress.
14:12 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Right.
14:14 Pamela D. Wilson: Do me a favor, for the people who are listening, define family caregiver discrimination.
14:19 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Sure. So, family responsibilities discrimination is also known as caregiver discrimination, and it’s employment discrimination that happens because of the employees’ caregiving activities. So, this means that it can affect the parents of young children. Employees who care for family members of serious illnesses or disabilities and employees who care for their aging parents. And it also can affect employees who are pregnant.
14:50 Pamela D. Wilson: And then, give an example of how that most commonly happens.
14:54 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Sure. Here are a couple of examples. I see things like disciplining an employee more harshly or applying workplace rules about attendance more strictly to an employee who cares for a family member. Or documenting every little thing that they do wrong. Or the supervisor might give them bad assignments or switch their schedules to times that the employer knows they can’t work, or transfer them to a location that’s far away. I’ve also seen caregivers getting bad evaluations that they don’t deserve. I’ve seen them being denied raises and bonuses that they would have earned if they weren’t caregivers. And I’ve seen employers who denied promotions to caregivers, and demoted them and fired them.
15:42 Pamela D. Wilson: So why is that happening?
15:45 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Well, you know, it’s a complex issue, but it happens mainly because of two things. And the first is a clash of expectations between the employers and the employees, and that creates a lot of frustration and bad feeling on both sides. The supervisors expect the employees to be available to work full-time, all the time. Be available to work overtime with no notice, and that really assumes that the employees have somebody else at home who’s taking full-time care of the family. But in reality, that’s not what’s going on in the workplace today.
16:23 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: The majority of employees don’t have somebody like that at home. Most employees are in families in which all the adults are in the paid workforce. And so, the second cause is bias. And we all make assumptions about other people, particularly people we don’t know well, and these assumptions or these biases are based on stereotypes of how we think certain groups of people behave. So, when we’re talking about caregivers, the common stereotype is, they won’t be committed to their job. They’ll be absent too much. When they’re at work, they’ll be too distracted to get anything done, and you can’t count on them to meet deadlines, and you can’t count on them to be productive.
17:07 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And those are just assumptions. Which means we’re not talking about actual performance, and that’s what makes it so gosh darn unfair. We’re talking about how a supervisor thinks a caregiver is going to be. So, it’s important to know that these assumptions influence how the supervisor perceives what the employees do. So for example, if a caregiver misses a deadline, a supervisor might assume that it’s because he was distracted by his need to care for his mother. In fact, he may have missed the deadline because he was put on a second project that had a higher priority.
17:45 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: So, here’s a tip for working caregivers. If you are going to miss a deadline, be sure to tell your supervisor the business reason why you’re going to be late. Don’t leave it up to your supervisor to guess, because he’s probably going to assume that it’s because you’re caring for your parent. And it’s also important to know that people notice and remember things that are consistent with their biases.
18:12 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: So, that’s why a supervisor will notice when a caregiver comes in late. Because that’s consistent with the bias that he isn’t committed to his job and can’t be counted on anymore. And also explains why the supervisor lets another employee who isn’t a caregiver off the hook when she comes in late. That doesn’t trigger any bias in the supervisor’s mind. That’s just a very quick overview of a complex, but I find fascinating, situation.
18:41 Pamela D. Wilson: Well, and we’re going to continue this conversation after the break. But it almost makes me, if I was a working caregiver, to be concerned to tell my boss about this. Which we’ll talk about. Because then, to your point, if I tell my boss I’m a caregiver, then I’m going to have all this bias about me coming in late or me not getting my work done because I’m a caregiver.
19:01 Pamela D. Wilson: So, we’ll continue our conversation with Cynthia Thomas Calvert about family caregiver discrimination after this break. Podcast replays and transcripts of this show and every Caring Generation radio show are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You are listening live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio, stay with us, we’ll be right back.
21:47 Pamela D. Wilson: This Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Let’s continue our conversation with attorney Cynthia Thomas Calvert. Cynthia, before the break, we were talking about bias and expectations in the workplace. How would you counsel an employer to talk to an employee about this? Or, what do you say to supervisors?
22:17 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Well, I’m so glad that you brought this up. Because I do work with both employers and employees. Which gives me insight into the thinking of both of them, and one of the things that I always strive to do, is sort of bridge that gap and get the information out there about what the other side is thinking. So, for supervisors, what I recommend is that they view themselves as coaches that make it easier for employees to get their work done. Not really the way most supervisors view themselves these days, but that’s what we strive for.
22:51 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And so, what that means is, among other things, they should be regularly asking their employees how things are going, and if there’s anything that they need. But if a supervisor sees that there’s an employee who’s struggling, this supervisor needs to be careful about how they talk to the employee about personal issues. So, I recommend that supervisors say something open-ended like, “Hey, Robert, it seems you’ve been a little off your game this week. I’m just checking in. You know is there anything that you need help with?” And Robert might just say he’s fine. He might say things are going just fine.
23:29 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And so I would say to the supervisor, give it a couple more days. And then if Robert is really struggling and he’s not talking about what’s going on, in a later conversation the supervisor can tell Robert about the various resources that the company has for employees, including things like health and wellness programs, just talking about general resources.
23:49 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: But let’s suppose that Robert tells his supervisor that his father has a terminal illness, and it’s really taking a toll on him. The supervisor needs to be sure not to make any knee-jerk assumptions or to come out with some response about how work is really busy right now, and it has to be a priority. It can be really hard to avoid those kind of knee-jerk responses, and that’s where training for supervisors come in.
24:16 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: So the best response is for the supervisor to let Robert know that he wants to help him. Tell him about the various options the employer has, like flexible work and leave programs and employee assistance programs, and then the supervisor should ask Robert to keep him informed about what work he can do. What work he can’t do, because that’s going to help the supervisor handle the workflow, and also, the supervisor may be able to temporarily reassign something.
24:45 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And it’s important to involve Robert in those kinds of decisions because you don’t want him thinking that the supervisor is stripping away his responsibilities or demoting him. And it’s important that Robert knows that when he’s back to full speed, he’s going to get his regular work back. So the supervisor doesn’t need to ask all the nitty-gritty about the caregiving, but he or she has to make sure that Robert gets the help that he needs to do the work, or to take a break from work if that’s better. If it’s better to take leave. And he has to be able to do that in a way that makes Robert not be more stressed.
25:25 Pamela D. Wilson: And then on Robert’s side, what would you say to Robert?
25:29 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Well, if I’m talking to him, I’m telling him that it’s important to put the supervisor on notice about what’s going on with his father. But it’s generally not best to get into all the details. For example, he should say his father has a terminal illness, and he’s spending all of his non-work hours with his father, but the supervisor doesn’t need to be told all the trials and tribulations of interviewing home healthcare workers and trying to get his father to take his medicine.
25:58 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: But there is one really important thing that I want to make sure that I say. I recommend that Robert reassures his supervisor that he is very committed to his job and he wants to remain employed, and he’s going to do the best job that he can. And that kind of reassurance counteracts some of the biased assumptions that I mentioned earlier. So you don’t have to get right in the supervisor’s face and say, “Hey, I think you have a bias against me,” but you can speak to that bias and try to dilute its effects just by giving that kind of a reassuring statement.
26:34 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: I also recommend that Robert focus on the company’s business needs. So for example, come up with solutions about how he might get his work done, or offer to train a co-worker to cover his work for a while, because after all, you know, this is a business relationship and if Robert can show that he understands the pressures on his supervisor, he’s going to be seen more of a team player.
27:00 Pamela D. Wilson: That makes so much sense. There’s a statistic out there that one-third of employees quit their jobs to be full-time caregivers. Is there anything that HR departments can do to make employees feel like they don’t have to quit that job?
27:12 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Very definitely. HR has a huge role to play here. One of the key things is making sure that discrimination is presented. When I work with HR professionals, I tell them to be aware of the triggers of discrimination. Which usually is when an employee asks for FMLA leave or asks for flexible work or their status as a caregiver becomes known in some way. So HR needs to be on the lookout for all those negative things that I talked about earlier because it might be signs of discrimination.
27:44 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And HR, of course, can train supervisors, and one of the most important things that they can do is get the message out there that it’s cheaper to keep an employee than to lose them and have to hire someone new, and train for them, train them and wait for them to get up to speed, and so, HR can make it so much easier to retain the caregivers.
28:04 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: And I recommend that they have a good complaint procedure in place so that if an employee feels that she’s being discriminated against, she can file a complaint, and give the company a chance to make the situation better. That way, they can avoid a lawsuit. They can retain her. And it’s also important to have an anti-retaliation policy in place so that employees won’t be afraid to use the complaint procedure. So, you know, the real gold standard…
28:32 Pamela D. Wilson: So…
28:33 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Go ahead.
28:33 Pamela D. Wilson: Cynthia, we have 30 seconds to get out to a break. Can you give the hotline number at the Center for Work-Life Law where people can call if they have questions, so where employees can call, and I’m assuming maybe supervisors can even call you, what’s that number?
28:45 Cynthia Thomas Calvert: Yes, they can. It’s 415-703-8276. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
28:57 Pamela D. Wilson: Wonderful, I will repeat that after our break. Listeners, we will be right back, I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation, live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
31:29 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. You’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. I want to give the number that Cynthia Calvert Thomas handed out at the last break before the last break. It’s 415-703-8276, and that’s the number to the Hastings Center for Work-Life Law.
31:55 Pamela D. Wilson: So if you are a caregiver, curious about discrimination in the workplace. If you are an employer, you can call that number and talk to Cynthia or somebody else on that hotline. We’re back with tips for how to keep your job and care for elderly parents that have a lot in common with each other. The first tips we talked about is being productive. The second two tips are about being proactive. Which is important in the workplace and in caring for elderly parents.
32:21 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number three for how to keep a job is being an engaged and an educated patient and a caregiver. Education is so important for so many reasons that I do have a Caring Generation radio program called Why Is Patient Education and Engagement So Important? There’s also a blog on my website on the subject of being an engaged caregiver and a patient. You can find Why Is Patient Education and Engagement So Important on my website at PamelaDWilson.com, click on the blog.
32:51 Pamela D. Wilson: So let’s talk about what patient education and engagement is, what does it mean? It really means that you are interested and proactive to learn about what it takes to keep a job. About what it takes to care for elderly parents. For your job, that means that you’re interested in learning and improving your skills.
33:10 Pamela D. Wilson: You want to get better. You are a self-starter. Nobody has to tell you what to do. You’re not waiting for your boss to give you instructions, you get in there, you do the job. Being proactive, interested, and productive makes you a valuable employee. You’re also valuable in caring for an elderly parent because when you become more educated, you learn about your parents’ health, their prescription medications, you go to doctor appointments, you ask questions.
33:38 Pamela D. Wilson: Seeking and wanting to be educated helps you learn to anticipate and solve all of those unexpected problems that come up, which relates to tip number four. You gain experience at work with projects, and you can predict where those glitches or gaps might happen to slow things down. You also learn from that experience so that you can be proactive to prevent glitches or gaps in the future. That experience helps you learn how to keep a job. It also helps you prevent things from happening for your elderly parents.
34:07 Pamela D. Wilson: You quickly learn what can and does go wrong with scheduling and attending doctor appointments, trying to pick up prescriptions, problems with health insurance. Being good at problem-solving supports your work team, your boss, and taking care of your elderly parent. Because rather than waiting for somebody else to solve your problems, you become good at solving those problems. On the caregiving front, your elderly parents will worry less, and they’ll feel that they can rely on you more. So, as a result, in both areas, work, and caregiving, you become more confident, less worried about how to keep a job, about how to care for elderly parents.
34:44 Pamela D. Wilson: Our next subject on this is the idea of consideration. Consideration is the idea of being kind and thoughtful of the way that we treat others. It’s that golden rule, “Treat others the way that you would want to be treated,” which may not always be easy to do when we become so emotional about a subject.
35:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number five for how to keep a job is all about being considerate of your time and the time of others. This means that you’re on time for meetings with your boss. You’re on time for work, never late, you’re responsible, reliable, you show up. Your manager never has to worry about whether he or she will find you on that job, you’re always there. Consideration relates to how to keep a job when you are late for an unexpected reason.
35:28 Pamela D. Wilson: You always want to call your boss. Don’t take the easy way out and send an email, don’t send a text. That can raise suspicions about what you’re really doing, or make it seem like you’re not forthcoming. Give a reason for your boss not to worry about what you’re up to. Be an adult, pick up the phone; give an explanation. And as Cynthia mentioned, a short explanation. You don’t have to go into all the details about what happened that morning or what’s going wrong. Your boss doesn’t need to know about that.
35:56 Pamela D. Wilson: So, by this time in your relationship, your boss should know that you’re a caregiver for an elderly parent. It can become part of your weekly update meetings, as far as, “I’m coming in late this day, I have to leave early on this day, I have a doctor appointment with my parent.” And also, you’re going to talk about how you’re going to make up that time.
36:17 Pamela D. Wilson: Having a plan to make up time relieves stress in so many areas. You worry less about being seen as that caregiver who’s unreliable or undependable. Your boss doesn’t have to worry about trying to shift your work unless it’s a big project. Your co-workers see that you’re committed to keeping your job and to taking care of your elderly parents.
36:40 Pamela D. Wilson: That subject translates over on the other side to caring for your elderly parents. If something comes up and you come in late, leave early, or take time off to care for a parent, make sure that your parent knows that you have to make up that time. It’s essential for everybody involved in working caregiving situations to know that there’s that equal commitment.
37:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Your parents can’t expect you to respond to an emergency and visit on Saturday if you have to make up the work time on Saturday. This balance is part of how to keep a job, and care for elderly parents. Elderly parents also have to learn to be considerate of your life and your work responsibilities. I also recommend if you can, set up an emergency backup plan with your brothers or sisters. So that if something does happen, you have a go-to person. You have somebody to call when emergency comes up.
37:32 Pamela D. Wilson: Because there are going to be times when you cannot just leave a meeting at work or can’t take off. When I was a caregiver, my staff and I did this. If there was an emergency that I couldn’t go to, my staff went, and vice versa, I would go if they couldn’t go. This is part of teamwork and consideration. It’s part of relying on others and having them be able to rely on you, that results in appreciation. Always say, “Thank you.” Thank your boss for working with you so that you can remain committed to your job. Thank your parents for understanding when you have to work instead of showing up at their house.
38:07 Pamela D. Wilson: We’ll continue with tips for how to keep a job and care for elderly parents, after this break. Do share The Caring Generation and the idea of caregiving support at work with your boss and your human resources department. Let them know about this show and the programs that I offer for corporations interested in supporting working caregivers. Let’s make how to keep a job and care for elderly parents easier in the workplace and easier in the home, for all of us.
38:31 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host. Watch videos for caregivers on my YouTube Channel Caregiving TV. You’re listening to The Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after this break.
41:16 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. This is The Caring Generation coming to you live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Let’s continue with tips for how to keep a job and care for elderly parents without going crazy. We’re on tip number six, which is being a team player. I started to talk about this idea before the break when I shared the story of me and my staff partnering to respond to care emergencies for our clients.
41:44 Pamela D. Wilson: Teamwork at work means that you get to know your co-workers, and you get along with them. You know who you can rely upon for help when you need it, and you return that favor. You appreciate your teammates. You thank them, you work together. Teamwork supports your boss and the goals of your department or your section at work. You encourage each other. If there are problems or gaps in workflow, you talk about them. You’re proactive about solving them, and you don’t blame anybody for things that go wrong.
42:16 Pamela D. Wilson: Everybody on your team keeps their work commitments. Translate this idea to caring for elderly parents, and it’s similar. Your elderly parent is part of your team, even if you are only a team of two, or three, maybe you only have one brother or sister. You’ll hear me say that as long as possible, the idea of caregiving should be 50-50 participation.
42:39 Pamela D. Wilson: Your elderly parent must become engaged and educated and proactive about their health. About taking care of themselves, about trying to solve a problem, instead of always running to you with every emergency. Caring for elderly parents involves teamwork with your brothers and sisters if you have them. They may also be trying to keep a job and care for elderly parents.
43:03 Pamela D. Wilson: Balancing work and caregiving is another important subject. There is another Caring Generation podcast. It’s called Managing Work-Life Balance for Working Caregivers. You can check it out. There are more helpful tips for you in there about caregiving and taking care of your health as a caregiver, which is important.
43:19 Pamela D. Wilson: Let’s move on to tip number seven, which is the idea of being confident and flexible in keeping a job and caring for your elderly parents. When we’re trying to do all of this, being flexible is a must. Unexpected events happen that give us no option but to be flexible. We have to learn and think about options, maybe have a plan A, a plan B, sometimes a plan C. We can begin to roleplay how to respond when situations don’t go the way we expect.
43:51 Pamela D. Wilson: We can become more comfortable in responding to those unexpected events, and manage our stress. Bring our stress levels down. We can also begin to look at ways where we can compromise. Flexibility can be difficult for our elderly parents, who can feel like they’re losing control over everything in their lives, and their choices become more limited. If you’re confident that this is a situation that you can work out, you can be considerate with your elderly parents, and it will work out.
44:20 Pamela D. Wilson: In the workplace, related to how to keep that job, flexibility shows up when priorities change, or when your boss needs help with a time-sensitive project. Rather than being rigid and refusing, the best way to keep that job is to be flexible and do whatever it takes to finish that project or to meet the goal.
44:40 Pamela D. Wilson: The idea of flexibility and balancing keeping your job and caring for elderly parents, takes us to tip number eight, which is the idea of being positive. Being positive means that we don’t moan, or we don’t complain, regardless of how difficult that situation may seem. Positive and confident people spend time with positive and confident people.
45:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Being in that wrong crowd at work, that crowd who is negative, complains, who lack solutions, that is not the way to keep a job. That is the way to lose a job. Being confident and flexible leads us to tip number eight, and the idea of never saying, “That’s not my job.” How many times do you hear somebody at work say, “That’s not my job,” or “We’ve never done it that way before.” Surprise. That is inflexible thinking that relates to the idea of being positive.
45:30 Pamela D. Wilson: There’s no, “that’s not my job” in caregiving. Trust me. You will eventually shock yourself at the things you will begin to do as a caregiver for your parents as time passes. Have you changed to Depends yet? Just wait. That makes me think of another Caring Generation show called, Why Is Being A Caregiver So Exhausting? You can check that one out.
45:51 Pamela D. Wilson: Saying, “that’s not my job,” for a caregiver, it’s not optional. Caregivers quickly learn to do whatever it takes. Mostly because there’s nobody else standing in line behind you to pick up the pieces. That is unless you have already created a backup plan, and you have other family members who will come together as a team to help with those unexpected events or those last-minute situations.
46:17 Pamela D. Wilson: Do you see now how all of these tips work together? Both for how to keep that job and how to help elderly parents? In the workplace, I never recommend saying to your boss or anybody, “That’s not my job.” You might be put into the group of non-team members and into the people who are negative. Accept that request, and then figure out how to make it happen. What might have happened that the project wasn’t completed, where it fell apart. Learn how to problem solve it so that whatever the subject of “that’s not my job” was, is less likely to happen again. Or, if you can, assign that job permanently to somebody else on the team.
46:56 Pamela D. Wilson: You can also think of being approached with the idea of, “it’s not my job” is the fact that you are now that go-to person for problem-solving. You’re the person that people come to. That’s great for how to keep a job.
47:08 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number nine is eliminating gossip, backstabbing, and criticizing others. As employees and caregivers, you want to be part of the solution. Not part of the problem. Gossip and talking about others, it’s inconsiderate, it’s disrespectful. Those are traits of people who are more immature, insecure, have low self-esteem, who are negative. Don’t engage in that type of behavior unconsciously or consciously.
47:33 Pamela D. Wilson: How do you know if you are? If, in any of your conversations, you are saying something negative to somebody about a person who is not present, you’re gossiping. You’re being negative. It can happen in the workplace, and it can happen in families. Maybe your elderly parents talk to you about your brothers and sisters, and everything that they don’t do, or the fact that they are not showing up to help. Or maybe you’re that person having a conversation with your parents complaining about your brothers or sisters.
48:02 Pamela D. Wilson: Don’t do it. Gossip and talking about others, it’s destructive in the workplace and in caring for elderly parents. It really serves no purpose. Recognize gossip as being a bad habit. End that habit. Take the high road. Be positive. Instead, think of something nice to say about someone rather than something negative.
48:25 Pamela D. Wilson: Next week, we’re going to continue on this subject of negativity and behaviors. We’re going to talk about personality disorders and dealing with difficult elderly parent care situations. Helpful information for caregivers and aging adults is on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I’m Pamela D. Wilson, your host. You are listening to The Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
51:13 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. We’re back with The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, live on the BBM Global Network Channel 100 and TuneIn Radio. We’re back with number 10 tip of how to keep a job and care for elderly parents. Can you even guess what it might be? It’s the idea of keeping work and social media separate. I know, difficult, because it’s so easy to become addicted to using our cell phones, addicted to email, visiting all those social media sites.
51:51 Pamela D. Wilson: As caregivers, we have enough going on. Honestly, do we really need more distractions? My recommendation, avoid using all social media at work unless you’re taking your break, or you’re on a lunch hour. It’s difficult enough to focus and be productive when you’re trying to keep a job and care for elderly parents. Your work and your to-do list can feel overwhelming. If you add in the distraction of social media, you might never get anything done for your parents or at work.
52:24 Pamela D. Wilson: But socialization and self-care is important for caregivers. There’s no doubt about that. But if social media is placing your job or caring for your elderly parents at risk, then that’s a concern. Use social media or the internet for positive things. We talked about the idea of patient education and engagement. Trade a little bit of that social media time to investigate the health diagnosis of an elderly parent, or learn about the medications that they’re taking.
52:54 Pamela D. Wilson: Join a caregiving online support group, where you can communicate with other caregivers in a positive manner. Mine is on Facebook. It’s called The Caregiving Trap. Take a caregiving course. Keep your personal life on social media, personal. Never post negative information about your company, your job, or your boss. Because, when you’re out there looking for a new job, future employers will check you out on social media.
53:21 Pamela D. Wilson: I can say that, because when I was hiring care managers to work with my clients, I tell you, I always went onto their social media profiles. There were candidates that might have looked so good on paper, that when I saw them on social media, I had to cover my eyes. Once you put your life on social media, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to erase your personal life. Be very careful about what you post and share online.
53:48 Pamela D. Wilson: Let’s do a quick summary of the ten tips for how to keep a job and care for elderly parents. We talked about being productive at work, to create project lists, and a corresponding calendar and list to schedule time and to care for elderly parents. We talked about being considerate of people at work – our elderly parents, our bosses, brothers, and sisters who might help us. Consideration leads us to the idea of being respectful and avoiding gossip in all parts of our life.
54:19 Pamela D. Wilson: We talked about being on time, meeting deadlines, and keeping bosses and elderly parents updated about everything that’s going on. Always calling in advance if you’re going to be late, no text or emails. Or, if you have an unexpected change in schedule, make sure everybody knows. Calling is considerate and respectful. And remember that golden rule of treating others the way that we want to be treated. It’s really treating others the way that they want to be treated. That’s how to keep a job and care for elderly parents.
54:52 Pamela D. Wilson: Thank you so much for being proactive and interested in health, well-being, and caregiving. Share The Caring Generation with your family and your workplace. We want to make caregiving something we talk about. Podcasts of all the shows are on my website at PamelaDWilson.com. I thank you for joining me on the radio program.
55:10 Pamela D. Wilson: Do check out the Center for Work-Life Law at Hastings. You can go back and listen to part of the show with Cynthia Thomas Calvert. It was a great interview about family caregiver discrimination in the workplace. Things that we all should know about. Tips if you are the employee to be proactive, and if you are the employer if you’re a supervisor and you’re wondering if you are discriminating in the workplace, you can call and get more information.
55:42 Pamela D. Wilson: Again, caregivers, thank you for everything that you do for everyone that you take care of, God bless you. I look forward to being with you again next Wednesday evening. Invite your family and friends to join us. Sleep well tonight, have a fabulous day tomorrow, and a great week until we are together again.
56:02 Announcer: Tune in each week for The Caring Generation, with host, Pamela D. Wilson. Come join the conversation and see how Pamela can provide solutions and peace of mind for everyone, here on Pamela D. Wilson’s The Caring Generation.
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