As a spouse or a parent ages, it becomes increasingly difficult to meet their daily needs. This is proving true for the Baby Boomer generation (those born between the years 1946 and 1964.) And, for those who own businesses, the stress and cost of being a caregiver can take a particularly heavy toll.
A MetLife study has examined how those involved in informal caregiving are finding there is a great loss of productivity to US businesses. It really is true that you can’t do all things at once. Trying to run your business while taking care of a loved one is a huge challenge.
For those who are involved in juggling the hours in their day between work and caregiving, this has added up to between $17.1 billion and $33 billion in lost revenue. All due to the fact that one has to transition from full-time to part-time hours, and institute workday adjustments, not just for themselves but their employees, too.
Yet, there are ways to reduce the stress on business owners. Lisa Meeks, who owns Senior Care Options has assisted many successful business owners to find solutions for themselves when it comes to caring for an aging relative. There are about 40 million people in the US – representing approximately 25% of all households – who care for a loved one, raise their families, and manage a career.
Here are four tips for how entrepreneurs can make the most of their caregiving opportunities while maintaining their businesses.
Understand that time is money.
Some people would rather do it all themselves. Yet this can be time-consuming and take them away from more pressing duties in their business. Sometimes, the best solution is to hire a health professional to pick up the slack or fill in when most needed. No one person can do it all.
If you overstretch yourself, you may find that you are physically at work, but mentally you’ve checked out because of the demands that come with taking care of a parent or other loved one. There is always early retirement for those working in the corporate world, but for business owners there is no Family Leave Act.
Improve your time management.
Make specific times of the day available for dealing with caregiver issues. For example, by charting and allowing certain times during the day to speak to a parent for whom you are caring, you can take charge of how you use your time. Setting boundaries and observing them will help you balance your business and personal life, reducing stress on both sides.
Become a caregiver early on.
When you do this, the payoffs are advantageous. Powers of attorney should be formulated early and becoming a co-signer on bank accounts and investment accounts can all be done before your loved one takes a turn for the worse.
According to Meeks, “without proper paperwork, children have a very hard time accessing information regarding their parents’ care.” This can extend right into hospital emergency rooms where, without power of attorney, the doctor doesn’t have to speak with you. Be prepared ahead of time.
Don’t go it alone.
A geriatric care manager, or aging life care professional, advises people about the types of care that are best for your loved one. Certainly, you cannot do all of the housecleaning, food shopping, bill paying, and managing doctor appointments, on your own.
Know that many other business owners have walked this path and they can help you to avoid burnout and overwhelm. Always know that there are those you can reach out to when the going gets rough.
There are support groups to become a part of. And it’s always a good idea to turn to a senior care consultant like a geriatric care manager when you feel the need of additional support.
If need be, seek out companion care for your loved one while you are at work. Balancing caregiving with being an entrepreneur is tricky. With the right resources, such as a professional elder care consultant, it is possible.
Contact our senior care management company to check out your options.