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Re: Caregiving and Taking Paid Family Leave - Question from Workshop Attendee

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Responding to: 

""I am currently taking personal time off to take care of my 81 years old mother who is suffering from early dementia.  I work in [deleted for privacy] in [deleted for privacy] as a [deleted for privacy].  I spoke to my Manager and told him that I was going to take 2 more months of Paid Family Leave and he asked if I was going to resign.  I answered No.  I am sensing harassment from Management so I stopped answering their calls.  I told my Manager that if they needed to communicate with me.  they needed to do it in writing.  I am also in the middle of my divorce.  Stress is piling up."

 

Hey there. Stress must be like a Hawaiian volcano, girl. 

 

If you have family medical leave act protection, how can he be harassing you? Do you really have 2 months of sick/vacation leave accrued?  Or some portion of two months would be paid but the rest would be UNpaid, while your job is still protected by the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)? Or (i hope this is not the case) did you announce you're taking the time off and poof disappeared? Because you will soon be unemployed.

 

Which isn't necessarily a terrible thing: you could get unemployment for a while, and regroup.

 

I hope you have a good divorce lawyer or a mediator who can make sure you have everything coming to you, fairly. 

 

I have two other thoughts: one is, check into the agency that serves your mother's area at www.eldercare.gov by putting in her zip code and then calling up that agency to check out everything that is free or subsidized. As Amanda mentioned, some counties have respite care which would provide care, or money to pay for care, to give you a break. 

 

The other thought is to enlarge your caregiving circle: unless you are an only child, rope in your sibling(s). Family meeting time. If one of them can't help with hands on help, they can send money to hire someone to mow the lawn. Everybody chip in. It's only fair.

 

Okay i thought of a third thing: get a therapist. Even if you have lost your job, the county or city should have sliding scale or free psychotherapy. Keeping your wits about you with all of this loss and change and stress is not easy. No need to be a martyr. Get support. Just for you. It's worth the hour and the schlepp.

 

Jane

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Re: Caregiving and Taking Paid Family Leave - Question from Workshop Attendee

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This definitely is a stressful situation for the working caregiver.  Being in the process of a divorce only compounds matters.  First, please be kind to yourself during this time and remember it is temporary. 

 

Next, let's take stock of your situation.   What is the short- and long-term plan for caregiving for your mother?  Is she living with you or independently?  Can you use these two months of leave to secure a living situation (or a respite care situation, such as adult day care, if your work hours are daytime business hours) for her that will allow you to return to your job?

 

With regard to Management and your dealings with them:  if there is a Human Resources professional at your company, please get them involved.  I made the mistake of not documenting or expressing that I felt harrassed as an employee taking leave, and I wish I had.   To the extent possible, be collaborative and communicative.  Ignoring your managers' attempts to contact you may not be your best move here.   Take notes, follow-up in email about your understanding of any conversations you have, and perhaps have your HR present for any conversations about your family leave.  If you feel that discrimination or harrassment are taking place, consider discussing this with an attorney who is licensed in your state.  They will be versed in the state's specific employment laws and can advise you accordingly. 

 

Finally, I would encourage you to look into other supportive services that may help during this oh-so-stressful time.  Have you looked into any other benefits your work offers that may help, such as subsidized respite care or EAP services like counseling?  A dementia caregivers support group will almost certainly be a good place to relate and share resources.   If you are looking for other local resources, AARP has a local resource locator that you can find at https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/local/info-2017/resource-guides.html.

 

I hope this gets you started.  Keep us posted on your experience and please know that I am wishing you and yours all the best. 

Amanda Singleton, J.D.
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Caregiving and Taking Paid Family Leave - Question from Workshop Attendee

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Hi all:  An attendee from last week's Balancing Work and Caregiving workshop emailed me this question.  With their permission, I am posting it here so that others can share their experiences and input.  Have you been in a similar situation?  If so, how did you handle it?  I'll post some tips and thoughts in a reply below this post. 

 

Here is the question I received:

 

"I am currently taking personal time off to take care of my 81 years old mother who is suffering from early dementia.  I work in [deleted for privacy] in [deleted for privacy] as a [deleted for privacy].  I spoke to my Manager and told him that I was going to take 2 more months of Paid Family Leave and he asked if I was going to resign.  I answered No.  I am sensing harassment from Management so I stopped answering their calls.  I told my Manager that if they needed to communicate with me.  they needed to do it in writing.  I am also in the middle of my divorce.  Stress is piling up."

Amanda Singleton, J.D.
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