Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Caregivers, Multi-Tasking and Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

Caregivers are jugging an array of activities and duties. They cover the gamut of areas, like work, schools, children, and home obligations while caring for a loved one. Lord knows; I did it for many years. During my caregiver journey, I worked and completed two degrees; my master’s degree and my terminal degree, holding down a full-time job. Multi-tasking as a caregiver is an art and science. RIGHT!

However, multi-tasking is one of the major concerns that lead to depression and caregiver burnout. One day, I stumbled into work and my amazing manager approached me staring at my appearance. On this day, I appeared to work with my wig twisted, bloused miss-buttoned and looking very disheveled. This is the description of a caregiver burning the candles at both ends. I was an employee who was always put together. She asked, have you considered the Family and Medical Leave program?” Light bulb moment!

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. FMLA helps employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Documentation is required to your employer for the loved one under your care.

Please take advantage of your right to use FMLA if needed. You should not have to choose between holding a job and the care of someone you love! Visit the website: U.S. Department of Labor for more information.

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is author and speaker. Her book: From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor shares caregiving tips.

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