Julie Answers: Work stress and being a caregiver — how much is too much?

Julie Borden
5 min readDec 16, 2021

Alma asked: Should I take a new job I’m interviewing for that is much more responsibility than before? I was laid off last month. I don’t need this new job right now. I have some temp work doing the same as before and with the same pay. I am also a part-time caregiver for my mom with dementia.

Image by Sabine van Erp on Pixabay

Dear Alma,

I’m glad you reached out, because a decision like the one you are faced with deserves a lot of careful consideration.

A key factor in your question is that you are a part-time caregiver for your mom. Being a caregiver is a huge responsibility. Few people who have not actually done it realize how emotionally taxing it can be. In fact, even some people who have done it don’t give themselves credit for all that they do. In my experience, they might see it as, “I’m just helping take care of my mom,” or “Just doing what needs to be done,” “Doing what any daughter would do,” etc.

It reminds me of a realization one of my clients had about this. She lives with her mom and her grandmother, who has dementia and various health needs. Her mom took primary responsibility for the grandmother, so my client was “just” helping out when needed. This went on for months — she was working full-time, trying to keep up some kind of a social life and friend connections…

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Julie Borden

Social worker, therapist, reader, writer, head-in-the-clouds dreamer, awed by most everything. (She/her) Reach me at JulieBordenLCSW@gmail.com.