Scheduling Strategies

  • Approach scheduling as a way to protect your mental and physical health, not just to free up more time for caregiving.
  • Employers are increasingly open to flex-time and telecommuting arrangements that give you more freedom to provide care.
  • If your employer can’t accommodate your needs, keep health insurance benefits in mind when considering other work options.

Next Step

Learn how to ask for caregiving help and delegate duties.

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Most working caregivers would benefit from a more flexible work schedule and a better-defined caregiving schedule. Schedule your caregiving hours as formally as possible, including regular breaks. If you take breaks only when you feel you “deserve” one, you’ll probably wait until you’ve run yourself ragged.

For most working caregivers, a little flexibility at work goes a long way. With a flex-time schedule, you partially determine your own schedule within your employer’s parameters, freeing you to make phone calls at home (for example) or take your loved one to appointments during business hours without missing work. Flex-time may also enable you to accommodate changes in caregiving demands as your loved one’s condition changes.

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Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option among caregivers. Note that maintaining a separation between work and caregiving becomes especially important when you work at home, where you can be easily distracted by competing demands on your time. If you can afford one, a home health aide can be a great help while you’re working at home. Job sharing, in which two people share the same position and work different days of the week, is another option offered by some employers.

If your employer won’t agree to a scheduling change, you might want to consider a switch to part-time, temporary, or project-based work either inside or outside the company. Of course, you should carefully consider how you’ll replace any benefits you currently receive from your employer. Risking your own well-being to provide care is never a sound strategy.

Plan ahead whenever you can. If you know you’ll be late one morning because of a doctor’s appointment, make arrangements to make up the time beforehand. Talk to family members and friends to identify whom you can call for help in case you can’t leave work unexpectedly.

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and Family Caregiver Alliance.