Employees who take care of an elderly family member are facing employers who are ill prepared for Canada's aging population. Here, 7 ways caregivers can help themselves both at work and at home.

Working and providing care for an elderly person can be draining both physically and mentally. And while the challenges involved in this balancing act aren't new, the large number of workers taking on this responsibility is.

Mark Maclean, the managing director of a private homecare company called Home Instead says employers aren't prepared for Canada's aging population.

"We're faced with such numbers, that the institutions that would normally address this are swamped," Maclean says. "So it becomes incumbent upon the caregivers to advocate for themselves."

Without a framework however, discussing caregiver needs with an employer can be difficult.

Janice Bobbie, who's taken care of her 97-year-old mother for the past 17 years, often took days off or worked from home so she could accompany her mother to medical appointments.

The unpredictable nature of caregiving however, didn't always allow for Bobbie to give her employer notice.

"It was sporadic with me," Bobbie says. "If she was really sick and I had to take more time off work, it got to be a little stressful to have to ask for more time. I don't think a lot of workplaces consider elder care the same way as they do childcare."

The challenges of course, don't begin and end with work. Providing care for a loved one can weigh on even the most dedicated caregiver.

Bobbie, who moved into her mother's house along with her husband, says she knows she needs a break when she becomes short tempered with her mother.

For those who are the sole provider of care for a loved one, Maclean suggests seeking out resources and help before it reaches that point. "When you [enter] the area of resentment toward a loved one you're starting down the track of unintentional abuse," Mclean says. "It happens out of exhaustion."

Click through for 7 tips to help you manage your caregiver role both at work and at home.

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