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What should I consider before becoming a caregiver for a loved one?

Caregiving can be extremely rewarding, but also very demanding. Take time to look within yourself and think about your personal strengths and limitations.

Caregiving is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week job. As a caregiver, asking for and accepting assistance from others may be hard to do -- but it will probably be needed. Keep in mind that you will be giving others the opportunity to serve and feel good about themselves for doing so.

Talk with reliable family members, loved ones, and friends about specific tasks and when and how they can help. Develop a schedule and contact list of those helpers you trust. Keep track of all the information necessary to stay in touch with these helpers.

Caregiving requires a time commitment. The amount of time and energy needed to provide care for someone is not easy to predict. Sometimes a rotation schedule with other family members and loved ones is helpful. However, caregiving can be very demanding at times, so you may have to take time off from your job at some point.

Serving as a home hospice caregiver is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which protects an individual’s job standing and benefits during unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks. Not all companies are required to offer this benefit, so discuss the FMLA with your employer.

You can also talk with your employer about caregiving demands and how you can meet them through changes at work such as:
 
  • Flexible hours, schedule changes or working from home
  • Vacation and sick leave time you have available.

Continue Learning about Caregiving

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.