United States Department of Veterans Affairs
 Resources & Education for Stroke Caregivers' Understanding & Empowerment

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UNDERSTANDING HOW CARING FOR A LOVED ONE AFFECTS YOU

Caregivers Who Work
Outside of the Home

Most working caregivers have little time to relax. They often give up hobbies and social activities to care for their loved one. There are ways to balance the demands of home life and work.



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Why Is It Important to Get Help?

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Helpful Tips

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What Do You Need to Know?

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Remember

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How Can You Find Help?

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More Resources



Why Is It Important to Get Help?

Caregivers work for many reasons. You may work out of need to support your family. You may work for enjoyment or to build a career. No matter why you work, there are ways to lessen your stress.



What Do You Need to Know?

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  • Talk with your boss about your caregiving responsibilities. Explain that you want to do a good job at work.
  • Ask if the Family and Medical Leave Act applies to your workplace. Some workers may take unpaid leave to care for loved ones. The More Resources section has more information on the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Ask if your employer offers insurance benefits and other benefits to help you care for your loved one.
  • Talk to your boss about flexible work schedules. Tasks in some jobs can be done from home. Consider working fewer hours. Think about sharing a job with another employee.



How Can You Find Help?

  • Ask your employer or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) about the National Family Caregiver Support Program's benefits and services in your state. The More Resources section has contact information.
  • As a Veteran, your loved one may be eligible for in-home and community care services. Talk with a social worker at your local VA.
  • Use respite care and adult day services. Learn more about getting help from community services and respite care.


Helpful Tips

Make time for yourself – You will be a better caregiver if you do things you enjoy.

Set priorities – Decide what things are most important. Say "no" to those of less importance.

Accept that you cannot do everything – Do not feel guilty about working. Get help from others. Make a schedule for family, friends and community helpers.

Have a "back up" plan – Be prepared for other persons to provide care in emergencies.

Find ways to make your life easier Hire someone to do chores if you can afford it. Use organizing tools. A dry erase calendar can help track tasks and care.

 



Remember

  • Be open with your boss. Ask about insurance benefits, leave time and flexible work hours.
  • Find ways to make your life easier. Ask for help from family and friends. Get services from volunteer and community agencies.
  • Take care of yourself. Find time to relax and enjoy your family and friends.


More Resources

The following resources are related to this fact sheet only. View a full list of the resources from all RESCUE fact sheets.

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
Web:   www.aarp.org*
Phone: 1-888-687-2277

AARP has helpful information for working caregivers. Read the fact sheet “How to Balance Work and Caregiving*.”


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Department of Veterans Affairs
Web:   www.va.gov

The Department of Veterans Affairs has more information on VA benefits and services.

If you are new to the VA, the “Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and
Survivors
” booklet will help you get started. Also available in Spanish.


Eldercare Locator, Area Agency on Aging
Web:   www.eldercare.gov*
Phone: 1-800-677-1116

Eldercare locator can help you find community-based services like transportation, meals and caregiver support services. These resources are found through your local Area Agency on Aging.


Family Caregiver Alliance
Web:   caregiver.org*
Phone: 1-800-445-8106

The Family Caregiver Alliance provides information, education and services for
caregivers. Some information is also available in Spanish.

The Family Care Navigator* tool lists help for family caregivers by state.


Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Web: www.dol.gov/whd/fmla*

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires some employers to allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Some states have laws that expand leave.


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My HealtheVet
Web: www.myhealth.va.gov

My HealtheVet (MHV) provides trusted information on stroke and other health conditions. It also provides resources for stroke caregivers and tools to track your loved one's health.

Visit the My HealtheVet Caregiver Assistance Center for more information on caregiving.


*Link Disclaimer: Links to information and Web sites outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs do not indicate an endorsement of products or services offered by the sites. In addition, these sites may have privacy and security policies that are inconsistent with those of VA.

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References: Family Caregiver Alliance. (1999). Work and eldercare. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=413*; Wilken, C.S. (2006). Balancing work and caregiving: A guide for employers. University of Florida IFAS Extension. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FY873*; Pandya, S.M. (2005). Caregiving in the United States. AARP Public Policy Institute. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-2004/us_caregiving.html*


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These materials were created for the project:

Web-Based Informational Materials for Caregivers of Veterans Post-Stroke

Project Number SDP 06-327 funded by VA HSR&D Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI); Supported by the
Stroke QUERI

Visit the Stroke QUERI Website