How can I care for my aunt after losing my job?
Answered by David Troxel
I am a paralegal who was supporting my family.
I recently lost my job because I was juggling a full time job and caring for my aunt with dementia. Since she has no money, I have been paying for her care. She lives with me. Although I never let my job suffer and gave 100 percent, I lost my job making $89,000 a year.
Now how do I care for my family without my salary? The system doesn’t care and I want to be there for my Aunt.
Who do I turn to when you have to care for a loved one?
Will I lose my home for being so caring?
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia take an enormous financial toll on family members. I’m so sorry that your good will has not been paid back and that you are now facing your own crisis.
I don’t know the facts around your job situation but it appears that you believe you were giving 100 percent on the job. Somehow you were making it work.
A few thoughts:
Are there other family members who can help you and your aunt? You are being a caring niece but you are under no legal obligation to pay for her care. It may be time to set some boundaries and get other family members involved.
With everything on your plate, I think you would benefit from a support group and/or individual counseling (even short-term). This will give you needed feedback and hopefully some cheerleading to get back into the workforce.
Can you take the lessons you’ve learned and apply them to another work setting? I’ve met many individuals in the elder care industry (in-home care, assisted living, and other settings) who first supported a family member with dementia. Perhaps this could (if not now, later) lead to a meaningful career change.
Even if you cannot replace your current salary, I encourage you to jump back in and look for work. Many employers will relate to your caregiving experiences—they have family members with dementia too. You may be able to find a position that offers more flexibility and support.