Paid employment can provide financial independence and money to help with the cost of caring. It can also provide opportunities for developing enjoyable social contacts and friendships, and greater self-esteem. But working and being a carer can be challenging so you will need to get the balance right.
If you still work but are finding it increasingly hard to continue, you may want to talk to your employer, depending on the relationship you have with them and how supportive you feel they may be. They may, in fact, have policies in place to support carers. An understanding employer can make a huge difference to your ability to cope and decision to continue working. Some of the options that may be considered to enable you to continue working are:
- reducing your hours or adjusting your start and end times
- doing a job share
- working from home
- taking unpaid leave for appointments.
You may also be allowed to take a career break, voluntary redundancy or early retirement which may be financially more beneficial than simply resigning.
You may also want to chat with colleagues before you make any decisions. They may be very supportive and some may even be a carer themselves so may be happy to share their experiences.
If, however, you feel that you should stop work, make sure this is the right decision for you. Don’t make any hasty decisions and remember to consider the following:
- how you will manage with less money; don’t just assume it will all work out
- how stopping work will affect your independence, social contact and self-esteem
- what the long-term impact on your future employment will be
- how the decision will affect your pension
- any benefits that you would then be entitled to.
Support organisations may be able to advise you on different options and how to assess what is right for you - your healthcare team should be able to signpost you.