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NEED ADVICE: Telling your potential employer you're a caregiver

I am in need of some advice and I'm not really sure who I should ask about this.  An AARP representative recommended this online community as an option, so here goes...

 

I am in my 30's and I am a caregiver to my grandmother and my mom.  Fortunately, my grandmother was recently admitted into a geriatric residential facility, so it takes some of the burden off of me, but I stil lhave to make her doctor's appointments and transport her to and from these appointments, so I still have responsibilities when it comes to her care.  As for my mom, she was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's and can no longer drive.  For the most part, my dad is her primary caregiver, but there ARE times when I need to transport her to her appointments and whatnot; we cannot afford to put her in a daycare facility either.

 

In the next few months, I may be looking for a new job.  I would like to be honest about my caregiving responsibilities, but I don't want that to be a cause of not being hired.  When would be the appropriate time to tell a potential new employer about my situation and needing some flexibility in my schedule?  During the interview?  If/When I'm offered the job?  Once I'm hired?  Etc.

 

Your assistance and advice is greatly appreciated.

AARP Expert


@s917217twrote:

I am in need of some advice and I'm not really sure who I should ask about this.  An AARP representative recommended this online community as an option, so here goes...

 

I am in my 30's and I am a caregiver to my grandmother and my mom.  Fortunately, my grandmother was recently admitted into a geriatric residential facility, so it takes some of the burden off of me, but I stil lhave to make her doctor's appointments and transport her to and from these appointments, so I still have responsibilities when it comes to her care.  As for my mom, she was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's and can no longer drive.  For the most part, my dad is her primary caregiver, but there ARE times when I need to transport her to her appointments and whatnot; we cannot afford to put her in a daycare facility either.

 

In the next few months, I may be looking for a new job.  I would like to be honest about my caregiving responsibilities, but I don't want that to be a cause of not being hired.  When would be the appropriate time to tell a potential new employer about my situation and needing some flexibility in my schedule?  During the interview?  If/When I'm offered the job?  Once I'm hired?  Etc.

 

Your assistance and advice is greatly appreciated.


Hi there, 30-something. You've come to the right place. Between experts like Amy, staff experts like Jen, and the other folks just like you who have experience to share, i think you can gather a lot of wisdom. I also hope you'll write to share what you learn as you go along.

        I'm going to offer a couple of ideas in a different direction. I want to help you get more help for your mom and meemaw (that's what we call my partner who is a grandmother.) And mostly therefore for YOU. 

        Do you have siblings or cousins ? The cousins can help you visit your grandmother and keep an eye on her care. She may be in a great place but family still needs to keep track of her there. Watch out for weight loss, go to quarterly care meetings, etc. And take her to doctor appointments.

       Which leads me to another possibility: does your grandmother have enough monthly assets for you to hire a geriatric care manager, who can take her to the doctor. Some places have in house doctors who visit and care for the clients; usually the traveling health care provider is a nurse practitioner or a physicians'assistant. The point being maybe you could hire someone else to go to these appointments, and/or maybe she won't need to go to doctor appointments because the health care will come to her.

        As for your mother, again, do you have siblings? It will be best for your a) stress level b) physical health c) love life? d) life/ work/ caregiving balance if you enlarge the caregiving circle around both of these women. You're 30!!

       And your mother and grandmother are very lucky to have you.

       For help with your mom, go to www.eldercare.gov and type in her zip code. Then call and make an appointment to speak to a social worker to find all the free or very inexpensive supports that are available to her. 

       Enlarging the caregiving circle around mom can mean making sure her old friends/ coworkers/ neighbors haven't forgotten her and visit her, take her out for coffee, get in her life on a predictable basis so you have support your can count on. www.LotsaHelpingHands.com will help you keep a calendar. Why can't someone else take her to the doctor? Must be a very organized, reliable and trustworthy person, but still. 

       For a young person like you, you might also benefit from seeing a therapist and not because there is anything remotely wrong with you or your brain, but because you could use a cheerleader/coach to help you plan a life that is fulfilling for you while you are fulfilling your obligation to these women in your life. I am not saying you are remotely resentful, but i am saying that planning well and avoiding martyrdom is the best way to go.

       Okay so we've all thrown a lot of advice at you. PLEASE WRITE BACK.

        We're here and we know a few things. As do you. We are a team. Team caregiving! You included!

 

Jane

Community Concierge

@s917217t - also I forgot to add, we are hosting a webinar for working caregivers this month that may be of interest to you. You can learn more about this webinar HERE

AARPJen
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@s917217twrote:

I am in need of some advice and I'm not really sure who I should ask about this.  An AARP representative recommended this online community as an option, so here goes...

 

I am in my 30's and I am a caregiver to my grandmother and my mom.  Fortunately, my grandmother was recently admitted into a geriatric residential facility, so it takes some of the burden off of me, but I stil lhave to make her doctor's appointments and transport her to and from these appointments, so I still have responsibilities when it comes to her care.  As for my mom, she was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's and can no longer drive.  For the most part, my dad is her primary caregiver, but there ARE times when I need to transport her to her appointments and whatnot; we cannot afford to put her in a daycare facility either.

 

In the next few months, I may be looking for a new job.  I would like to be honest about my caregiving responsibilities, but I don't want that to be a cause of not being hired.  When would be the appropriate time to tell a potential new employer about my situation and needing some flexibility in my schedule?  During the interview?  If/When I'm offered the job?  Once I'm hired?  Etc.

 

Your assistance and advice is greatly appreciated.


@s917217t

Amy provided a wealth of great advice! I also wanted to point you to this updated article on the subject. I hope you find this useful. READ HERE. 

 

Take care and keep us posted. 

AARPJen
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@s917217t Hi! It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job caring for your mom and grandmother. It's a lot to deal with! (I've been caregiving for multiple people in my family for many years too so I get it!) 

 

You are so wise to be thinking about this issue as you job-hunting.

 

  • The first and probably most important thing is to be looking for jobs that inherently have some flexibility built in, such as part-time jobs, telecommuting jobs you can do from anywhere (and/or where you can choose your hours), jobs with set schedules (so you can plan doc appts etc around your work hours - it's much easier to do when you know what your schedule is going to be and much harder when your hours change from week to week) etc. Some companies have leave policies that are more caregiver-friendly (some even offer caregiving leave - some even offer paid leave, for example in CA there is a statewide caregiving paid leave program). When you choose a job, really evaluate it for how it will meld with your caregiving responsibilites.
  • In terms of when to bring up your caregiving responsibilities, it really depends on the situation. You are certainly not obligated to talk about your personal life (and they shouldn't be asking you), and in general you wouldn't bring it up. If, as you interview, you feel like there is natural reason to mention your personal situation you might do that (an example I can think of is if you are applying for a job in the eldercare field, your personal caregiving experience might be helpful in terms of pertinent experience). 
  • When, if and how you bring up your caregiving once you are hired depends on the type of work, the culture of the organization etc. Once you've been there awhile and are more familiar with the culture of the organization you'll have a better feel for it. 
  • Once you are hired, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the leave policies. If they have a human resources department, you can speak with someone there confidentially.
  • If you have conflicts and need to ask for time off frequently, there may be a point where you'll want to talk with your supervisor and explain. In general it's better for them to know so they don't assume you just are not reliable or committed to the job, but your really have to assess your individual situation (your supervisor, company culture etc.) and decide accordingly.
  • If you do talk with your supervisor or the human resources staff, be sure to first emphasize your commitment to the job. Share pertinent info, and bring up any specific issues (such as needing to adjust your work schedule, or dealing with a hospitalization etc.) and propose solutions or how you'd like to handle them. In general, be careful about "oversharing" at work and be professional. In some jobs, staff become quite close and you will feel comfortable letting your co-workers know abotu your caregiving. In other jobs that won't feel comfortable or safe.  

I hope this is helpful and I hope you find work that offers the flexibility you need! Let me know if you have more questions and keep us posted about your progress!

 

Take care,
Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert