Going Back to Work and Need to Make Sure Mom is Safe?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of new situations for families that are taking care of a senior loved one. Over the past 3 months, people have been isolated in assisted living residences or they have been banned from seeing loved ones in nursing homes to prevent the spread of the disease. Other families have brought their loved one home so that they could minimize the exposure of their loved one to the virus. Adult children have had to start working from home while managing home schooling and senior care. Much of this caused great worries for adult children and seniors alike. Without a vaccine, those over the age of 70 are still in a high risk group, so social isolation may still be in the cards for them. The family being cooped up together or isolated from each other may be the norm for a whole.
As America goes back to work, the dilemma of what to do to take the best care of Mom and Dad is one more question we have to answer. At the end of March, Liz O'Connell wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review regarding returning to work. She is the founder of Working Daughter, a community for people balancing eldercare and career, and the author of Working Daughter: A Guide To Caring For your Aging Parents While Making A Living . I don't think that we could have thought that it would take us so long to get back to work here in Massachusetts, but our day has come here in the month of June.
Ms O'Connell recommends setting up your loved one for success. She recommends having schedules where you know you will connect with your loved one so that they have social interaction. The second part of success is setting boundaries. If you are working from home through the end of the year, let your loved one know your schedule. Let them know when you need your space to work, but you will be with them when work hours are over. Over-communicate with your managers and co-workers. Many Americans are taking care of a loved one but no one talks about it! You might be surprised how well your conversations go if you talk about familial responsibilities. I meet so many people who meet me and are relieved to have someone who understands the responsibilities of supporting a senior loved one to stay independent!
The last thing for all of us out here in our COVID-19 world. Take care of your mental health! Adult caregivers give so much to their senior loved ones, their spouses, their kids and their jobs that sometimes there is nothing left. Getting outside help, sometimes is the best thing to keep the whole show on the road. Whether that be a mental health appointment or using a service, like Right at Home to get some time away. Putting on your oxygen mask first is still the rule....then you can help everyone else.