Three Ways Working Caregivers Can Improve Their Mental Health On A Budget – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Working caregivers helping out sick or disabled loved ones are often trying to balance far too much. Career, business travel, kids, and running a household are already overwhelming. But when you add caregiving to an already maxed out schedule, a working caregiver’s life can seem utterly unmanageable. One of the best ways to get back into balance is to take better care of your mental health. But many working caregivers are on a tight budget due to paying for home care, assisted living or other services for their sick loved ones. Here are three ways working caregivers can tend to their mental health on a budget:

1. See if your employee benefits offer employee assistance sessions. Sometimes the first few sessions are totally free and don’t require a co-pay.

2. Seek a free or low cost mental health clinic. Many mental health clinics exist across the United States and they have sliding scale or even free counseling services. Often they utilize students working on masters and doctoral degrees in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or other relevant degrees. While you may not get the most experienced therapist in the world, you will receive help from someone who has some training and certainly supervision by a licensed professional.

3. Consider a support group. They exist to offer support for nearly anything you may be struggling with. There are thousands of support groups available throughout the country that specifically help caregivers. But there are some support groups that specialize in hoarding, depression, anxiety, diabetes, grief, etc. They are almost always free, exist in pretty much every community and are typically led by a qualified trained professional.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

What Have You Done For Your Working Caregivers Lately? By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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One of the biggest challenges facing workplaces today is the increasing number of employees caring for an older loved one. According to Gallup, 1 of every 6 employees is a caregiver. And it’s not just the Baby Boomers at work who are caregiving.  AARP reports that 25% of all caregivers are Millennials.

Many studies suggest that caregivers have more physical and mental health problems as well as increased mortality rates if they don’t have proper support to prevent burnout. In response to this issue, savvy organizations offer employee wellness programs because they are a win-win. The employer wins because they get to keep good employees and prevent sick days, premature retirement and resignations. The win for the working caregiver is obvious—more support and less burnout.

If your organization offers services to help working caregivers, do they know about them? Has management and Human Resources made an outreach effort lately? If not, can Jenerations help you plan how to do this? For more ideas on how to support working caregivers at your organization, check out www.jenerationshealth.com.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Leading Your Caregiving Crew: How to Better Communicate With Friends & Family About What You & Your Loved One Need – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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If you have a career and are also juggling care for an older or sick loved one, your stress level is likely at an all-time high.  Throughout Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, I encourage stressed working caregivers in the primary caregiver role to view themselves as managers.  Family, friends and paid help supporting you are your caregiving team (much like a staff).  But do you know how to get what you need from your team once they are assembled?  Communicate Like A Leader by Dianna Booher can help.

Because Communicate Like A Leader is a business book, it effortlessly resonates with caregivers who also have careers.  Here are three of Booher’s business tips that can be applied to caregiving:

  1. Coach rather than critique.  Booher discusses how in business we can be quick to criticize rather than coach someone.  The same happens all the time in caregiving.  Stressed-out working caregivers frequently push their caregiving team members away with harsh criticism.  Communicate Like A Leader’s coaching tips will help you empower your caregiving team.
  2. Booher cautions against hoarding information in the workplace.  This is also a major problem for working caregivers.  Working caregivers are often so harried they neglect to share information that will help their crew members more effectively participate in the caregiving process.  For example, give regular updates about changes in medication, treatment plan and diagnoses. Share as much as you are able to with your caregiving team and encourage them to do the same with you.
  3. Embrace the humor. While caregiving can be simultaneously heartbreaking and exasperating, there are moments of levity.   Your Mom with Alzheimer’s disease just hit on your granddaughter’s boyfriend.  Your father-in-law who fell tells you he is “bored” while you wait with him in the hospital emergency department (while you are missing a mandatory meeting at work).   Acknowledging and sharing the humor of such moments can save your sanity.

Particularly for working primary caregivers, embracing business strategies can help streamline the caregiving process, reducing burnout for all.  Communicate Like A Leader is just the business book that can help you do that.

To order Communicate Like A Leader, click here.

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Facebook Changed Their Leave Policy. Should You? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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One of the biggest challenges facing workplaces today is the increasing number of employees caring for a sick and/or older loved one.  According to Gallup, 1 of every 6 employees is a caregiver. And it’s not just the older employees, as many people assume.  According to AARP, about 25% of all caregivers are Millennials.

Many studies have suggested that stressed-out caregivers have more health & mental health problems as well as increased mortality rates.  In response to this issue, savvy organizations, like Facebook, are offering paid leave to take care of sick loved ones.  Employers win because they get to keep good employees, and they prevent resignations and premature retirement.  Organizations may also be able to reduce insurance premiums.  Further, organizations typically enjoy increased loyalty from the working caregiver employee who takes advantage of the policy.

FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) requires most United States organizations to offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave to caregivers.  But Facebook’s step in offering 6 weeks of paid leave demonstrates a sincere attempt to go the extra mile to support an employee going through a tough personal situation.  Should your organization follow suit?

Click below to learn more about Facebook’s new leave policies:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2017/02/08/facebooks-new-paid-leave-policy-isnt-just-for-moms-and-dads/?utm_term=.256a92a433fe

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Covering For Your Colleagues When They Are Caregiving

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This morning around 7 a.m. I stumbled down to the lobby of my hotel in search of caffeine. Imagine my surprise when I encountered John–who checked me in yesterday afternoon—serving at the coffee bar. “Do you live here!?” I asked him. He smiled and said, “Sort of.”

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