The average family caregiver spends four years caring for a family member. It can be longer for some. It’s estimated that 15 percent of family caregivers have been in that role for 10 years or more.

You’ve spent years caring for your aging parents. Maybe their needs changed and they need more specialized care. Maybe you’ve reached a point where you cannot afford not to work. You’re looking for a job.

Whatever reason you have for reentering the workforce, it may be harder than you realize. Potential employers often look at your time out of work as a negative. The time you’ve spent cooking and cleaning, paying bills, scheduling and keeping appointments, and assisting in other ways won’t count as work experience. It can seem unfair as caring for older parents can be incredibly hard work.

The other negative shouldn’t happen, but it does. Most people are older when they’re ready to reenter the workforce. If you’ve been out of work during your 40s and are now in your 50s and looking to return to work, companies may not want to hire someone nearing retirement age. It’s age discrimination, but it’s hard to prove.


What Do You Do?

You want to work, so what do you do to make sure you’re given a fair chance? First, be honest. Tell the hiring manager that you left the workforce to care for your parents. Explain the reasons they needed help and the things you did on a daily basis that were essential to their well-being. Make sure they realize that your duties were the equivalent of a full-time job and weren’t spent lounging around.

While you’re sharing that you were a full-time family caregiver, make sure you don’t dwell on it too much. Mention it, list how the duties you make you more than qualified for the position and move on to the next interview question. Emphasize that you’re ready for new challenges.


Update Skills When Time Allows

When you have free time, take online certification courses. They don’t have to cost money. You could take free courses on sites like Coursera. If you want to spend a little money, look for Google’s certification courses in fields like IT. Those skills can be valuable when you’re looking for work.

Volunteering can also give you valuable skills. Take one day a week and volunteer at a local non-profit. If you can’t leave your home to volunteer, there are places you can volunteer online. Check out the Smithsonian’s volunteer program where you transcribe old letters and documents. You can turn that experience into proof that you type and format documents well into online software.

When you do return to work, have elderly care services available to help your parents. You may still provide some of their care, but elderly care aides can help out with the day-to-day tasks while you’re at work.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Paramus, NJ, please contact the caring staff at At Home Companions today at (201) 525-0607.