As an in-home caregiver, do I get breaks and lunch breaks?

Rose09 asked...

hello i am a caregiver in one of a home care here in az tucson 5 patients and only me in my shift who do everything i just want to know if i do have breaks and lunch the boss lives just here in home care thank you so much i will appreciate the answer so much god bless

Expert Answer

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Caregiving is a service where a break is so much needed. We shouldn't have to ask, but we often do. What are our rights as employees? Do we get paid caregiver breaks to eat lunch or drink a cup of tea? Fortunately, Arizona now has help. Please call the Arizona Worker Rights Center 602-254-5452. I believe they can answer quesions over the phone, internet or in person.

But even if it is not a right protected by law, you still need to be able to take short breaks throughout the day. Working with five elders is a big task. When you ask your employer, let her know what you are doing and how the break would improve your ability to do the work. Try to have a conversation about it. Do you have a friend or family member you could practice on before you do the "Real thing."

If you are mistreated on this job, start thinking about how you would like to be treated. Practice acting as if you really do trust the work you are doing is valuable. One big block to communication is that we don't trust ourselves enough.

Then look for another job. I don't say this lightly as jobs are not easy to find these days. But caregivers are in great demand. Work on careging skills. Pay extra attention to how you dress. Work on your language skill. Find any training that is offered. You will be doing a service not only to yourself, but also to all caregivers. We need to upgrade our image, our pay, and our working conditions. It is hard to practice compassion if we are tired or angry or beaten down.