September 30, 2014

Your Advocacy Connection – Caregiving Can Equal a Full Time Job

Arndt,-Julie-2013By Julie Arndt
GolderCare Solutions

We Solve Long Term Care Problems

I recently did a presentation for health care professionals addressing challenges associated with the dual role of a both professional health care provider and a family caregiver. As I prepared for this presentation, I was reminded how time consuming it is for all caregivers who are trying to navigate the health care system and community based service options in the midst of a health care related problem for an aging parent or loved one. For persons working a full time job, this can be particularly burdensome. For years I’ve worked with clients who relate that managing their parents’ care is equal to a full time job. It takes away from their attention in the workplace, time at home and in many cases, affects their own health.

Employees dealing with health care and related issues cost employers millions of dollars each year to lost productivity in the workplace. It isn’t necessarily that there isn’t help available. The problem is determining what care to access, how to access it and how to pay for it. Additionally, it’s confusing to know what to do first. Productivity is affected by taking calls at work related to their love one’s health issue. These calls can seem endless. Employees talking to their co-workers in an effort to get informal advice may feel better, but it can be
costly to the employer, who now has two or more employees involved. Caregivers may need to take time off from work to either provide care or meet with individuals who are providing care. Keep in mind; caregivers going through this maze are stressed. Being worried about their job performance and security only compounds the situation.

We all know how much time being a family caregiver can take away from your home life. My husband recently reminded me of this. Several years ago, his mother was providing in-home care for his grandmother (several hours away) and would spend weeks at a time away from her own home and husband. Her commitment and responsibility was selfless and went on for several years. I find myself today taking time away from my own family on a monthly basis to tend to my own mother’s needs, although she is being well cared for in a nursing home in northern Iowa. As a family we pull together to meet the needs of those we love.

It never ceases to amaze me the extraordinary lengths a caregiver will go to make sure the needs of another are being met, even at the detriment of their own personal health. I have several clients at GolderCare who are in the midst of providing care to a loved one and have health issues as a result. We see this manifested in trips to the emergency room for their own health, sleeplessness, depression and anxiety. We often hear how after hiring us to help them, they experience their first good night’s rest in months.

From a social work perspective, working at GolderCare is like a dream job for me. GolderCare is comprised of a multi-specialty team of professionals with backgrounds in nursing, social work, public benefits, insurance, finance and law who help our clients navigate the complex journey associated with aging. More to the point, we help determine their maximum options for care and help determine the best way to pay for that care. Every situation is truly unique and, because we are independent, we are able to advocate exclusively for our clients based on their particular situation. By getting the correct answers to your situation from a multi-specialty perspective, you are that much closer to resuming productivity in the workplace and sleeping better at night.

Julie Arndt is a licensed social worker working in the field of geriatrics for over 25 years with expertise in medical case management and community-based services.

Filed Under: Family, Finance