Serving as a caregiver for an elderly loved one, like a parent, is time-consuming. When you have a job, like 60% of all family caregivers do, it’s hard to find enough hours in the day. If you’re assisting a parent with transportation, paying bills, their doctor’s appointments, cooking, cleaning, and more, burning the candle at both ends can eventually take a toll on your health and wellbeing. At that point, separating caregiving and work becomes nearly impossible.

You really like your job and don’t want to lose it, but you also love your mom or dad and want them to stay at home. What should you do, especially if their condition worsens? There are several proven ways to balance caregiving and work. Here are a few of the better ones.

Speak with Your Employer

First, schedule a meeting with your supervisor or HR representative. Share honestly with them the challenges you’re facing, and that you want to continue being a valued employee. In most cases they’ll understand and will try to assist you. Discuss with them company policies related to caregiving found in your employee handbook, including any employee assistance programs. In addition, here are some other ways to balance caregiving and work that you can explore:

  • Designate a co-worker to cover for you. Establish a back-up plan where a trusted co-worker or two can step in and cover for you if needed.
  • Change your work hours. If you work at a job where flex scheduling is possible, ask if you can come in during the evenings if most of your caregiving is done earlier in the day.
  • Ask about telecommuting. Can you do much of your job remotely? If so, check with your employer about doing some of your tasks from your, or your loved one’s, home.
  • Look into taking a leave. Find out what your company’s policy is on taking a leave of absence to assist a family member. Under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to take off up to 12 weeks every year without pay while keeping your job. There are certain requirements that must be met, so check into those first b