Most people who help older family members also work outside the home.
Workplaces may offer options to employees who are helping older family members, such as:
Flexible schedules, such as short work weeks (four 10-hour days) or work outside of "regular" business hours
Leave-sharing policies where employees donate leave time to co-workers
Paid or unpaid time off
Video conferencing technology, so employees can join work or care meetings remotely
Workplaces may offer benefits and information to employees who are helping older family members. These can include:
Employee assistance programs, which can offer online information, referrals, phone support or other services
Flexible spending accounts, which allow people to put aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for care
Workshops, webinars or other programs with eldercare experts
Advice on tax benefits, insurance and other financial or legal matters
The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave to help older family members with medical emergencies or chronic health issues. FMLA covers employees of government agencies, public schools and private workplaces with at least 50 employees. State family medical leave laws may cover other employees.
Some people who help older family members make changes to their paid work, such as:
Turning down promotions or other job opportunities
Working fewer hours
Taking a more flexible or less demanding job
Taking time off from paid work
Women are more likely than men to make changes to their paid work to help older family members.
Working less or leaving paid work can reduce pension, retirement, Social Security or other benefits. To decide the best option for themselves and their families, people can compare:
How much they will lose in income and benefits
How much time they will gain to help out
How much it would cost to hire paid help
Families can avoid conflict by discussing how they will acknowledge and support someone who reduces or leaves their paid work to help older relatives.