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IBH In Focus: Balancing Work, Family, and Caregiving

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    Caregivers must often balance the demands of family, work, community groups, and the elderly. As an employee, parent, spouse, or grandparent, as well as caregiver, you may feel pulled in many different directions. It may be hard to do everything others want you to do.

    To help employees chart these waters, Lehigh is pleased to bring our Employee Assistance Program provider, Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH), for a 90-minute workshop on the topic:

Taking Care of Yourself While Caring for Your Elders

June 16, 2011

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
or
2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Key aspects of senior life issues
  • Planning ahead with your parents: Communication
  • Realistic assessment of care needs
  • A family and community affair  
  • Take care of each other
  • How your EAP can help
  • Resources
     To sign up for the workshop, go to the Workplace Learning Registration page.

If You Can’t Attend

    For those who can’t attend the workshop, IBH still offers a multitude of resources online, including articles, audio files, check lists, webinars, and pre-recorded seminars that can be listened to at any time. If you would like to review these resources, go to the IBH website and use the university’s login information:
username: Lehigh
password: univ03

    Once at the website, employees can search by topic and view upcoming webinars.

    In the meantime, here are a few tips from IBH for caregivers to keep their lives in balance:

  • Set priorities. Decide what is important, less important, and in-between. You may need torn say no even if it might disappoint others. Set priorities for your own needs, family needs, job needs, and the older person's needs. You may have to limit community service until you have fewer demands on your time. Priorities will change from day to day and week to week, but a ranked list will help set priorities for you.
  • Schedule separate time for the older person and your family. Everyone should know which time is theirs. For older persons living out of town, you might spend a week or weekend every month with them, depending on their condition.
  • Schedule a telephone hour at work. This might be during lunch, when the older person, family, or doctors may call you.
  • Rearrange commitments creatively. Schedule appointments and errands to make the most of your time.
  • Invest time or money in things that will help you manage tasks. Consider using a computer, bookkeeper, housekeeper, or community resources.
  • Arrange with your employer to make up time away from the office. Try torn set up a flexible schedule if your family demands seem to be too much.
  • Meet with other caregivers and self-help groups for support. Sharing eases tension, gives a new view of the situation, increases understanding, and builds support. Support groups help you feel less alone. They give you a chance to share what you have learned.
  • Accept your limitations. Get help from another family member, a neighbor, or community services when you need to take a break. What will you give up that will make life easier for you? Perhaps it is membership in a club that doesn't interest your anymore or a committee that you have served on for a long time.
  • Make time for yourself. Set aside time on a regular basis to be alone, take a walk, exercise, or just have quiet time, even for a short period. You will be more productive, have more energy, and know yourself better. The person you care for will also benefit when you take time to renew yourself. Take time to be with friends or to do things that you enjoy. This will help you be a more relaxed caregiver and prevent you from burning out.
  • Keep good records. Caregiving requires the use of many services. Working with service providers, insurance companies, and others is often confusing, and time-consuming. Keep track of contacts and information. Avoid over relying on your memory. Make notes as you talk in person or over the telephone. Keep brochures and other information provided by organizations and agencies. Keep copies of letters you write regarding services, as well as those you receive. Ask lots of questions. No question is a dumb one. Clip and file articles about services you may need.

 

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to hik210@lehigh.edu, or call extension 85165.

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