Caring for a loved one can be a full-time job, depending on their needs. Finding the balance for your caring duties with your career can seem impossible.
In fact, many carers – especially women – decide to quit their jobs, take a leave of absence, or switch to less demanding roles that leave more of their time open. But these are not the only options.
Here’s what to take into consideration when figuring out how to combine care work with your job.
You Have The Right To Work
Most fundamentally, you need to be aware that you have the right to work. Both in a personal and a legal sense.
Don’t feel pressured to leave your job due to your caring duties. You have the right to enjoy your work and to find fulfilment in it.
From a legal point of view, UK laws actually guarantee a carer’s right to work. If you’re looking after a loved one, employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of it.
Consider Carefully Before Leaving a Job
When you’re suddenly faced with caring duties, your knee-jerk reaction might be to quit your job straight away. However, you need to consider carefully before doing so.
For one thing, it will mean that you lose out on a significant regular income. For another, your pension payments will also be lower in the long term.
More than that, though, you have to consider that you’ll also feel the lack of social interactions that happen at work – from meetings and lunch dates to coffee breaks and chats at the water cooler.
Finally, if you’re planning to take a break for a time and then start work again, it’s important to consider that that may not be easy. If you have been unemployed for a while, it can be difficult to find a new position, especially if you’re nearing retirement age.
Getting Support, Continuing Your Career
If you want to continue your career and you know that your loved one will need a considerable level of care for a longer period, the best way to go is to get expert support.
Contact your local council and ask for a carer’s needs assessment. Someone will come to your home and take stock of your needs and the type of care that your loved one requires. Following that, you will get a recommendation and a preliminary cost analysis about which type of care would be appropriate for your situation.
This can be minimal, in the form of hourly care. Here, a carer will come by regularly to help for short periods of time.
If your loved ones’ care needs are more complex, live-in care is another option. Here, a carer will be present permanently to provide support at any given moment.
No matter what you choose – whether to focus exclusively on caring, or whether to get help so you can follow your professional career – you need to know that it’s a valid path to take.
It’s crucial that you know your own physical and mental needs and ensure that they are met. Only then will you be able to be there for your loved ones in the best way possible.