You’ve heard the term “informal caregivers,” but you don’t know what that means. An informal caregiver is just the term used for caregivers who provide care without getting paid. Family caregivers are often informal caregivers as they’re caring for a parent, grandparent, or another relative without receiving any income.
Per the Family Caregivers Alliance, informal care totals around 37 billion hours each year.
If you take the nation’s average hourly rate for professional caregiving ($10.58), the estimated total value of this unpaid care is around $391.5 billion.
Informal caregivers often face tremendous stress and financial burden. While they’re caring for parents and other family members, many are forced to reduce their work hours or quit their jobs. This impacts their retirement contributions. It may force them to sell their home and move in with their parents.
If they don’t quit jobs, they spend time at work and provide care for hours when they should be relaxing or being social. They often have to push the needs of friends and other family members, including their children, aside. Friendships may end and relationships may become fragile. Learning when to take time off is essential.
Work With Your Siblings
Work with your siblings and divide the tasks between yourselves. If your sister loves to do laundry, she’d be the best choice for doing your parents’ weekly laundry. If you enjoy cooking, you could take on that chore.
With several of you helping out, your load is lightened. You’ll have more time to do things you enjoy at the end of the week.
Talk to Your Boss
Be sure you make your boss aware that you’re doubling as your parents’ caregiver. Not every boss will understand, but you may find that your boss is amazing. You might be offered the chance to work at home one day a week to help you avoid the long commute from work to your parents’ home.
The other benefit to talking to your boss is that there are FMLA papers that protect you if you need to take time off. You’ll take days off unpaid, but your job is secured for an extended period of time.
Never Ignore Self-Care
The most important part of being an informal caregiver is that you never neglect your own care. Take an evening off to go to dinner with friends. Hire caregivers to tend to your parents’ needs while you take the kids to the zoo for the day.
Talk to a home care agency to arrange regular respite care. Make caregivers a weekly thing or a few days a week. Just make sure that you get out and have fun. You’ll be energized and ready to share that positive spirit with your parents. Call now.