When there is a profound change in the condition of the person you care for, your working life can be seriously disrupted and you may recognise that you are going to have to ask for some help.
There are a number of things you can do:
- Talk to your manager about some time off if you need it. Check the Directgov site to find out about your right for time off for dependants.
- Talk to your manager about any adjustments to your working arrangements that might help deal with the current emergency e.g flexible working hours.
- Look at your new caring responsibilities, and look at ways you can make the situation easier. You are entitled to a Local Authority assessment of the needs of the person you care for, and of your needs as a carer. Read about Carers' Assessments.
- Know your rights to the Carers Assessment. The Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004 states that the assessment should take into account a carer's wish to work, study or pursue leisure activities.
- If your caring responsibilities are going to increase in the long term, at some point it may be worth talking to your manager about your job and the possibility of changing your working arrangements (for instance could you work at home on some days).
- Your local carers' services or project will be able to give advice and direct you to other appropriate local services. It may be useful just to be able to talk things through – especially if you and the person you care for have different views about the best plan for the future.
- You could organise help with personal care, a day centre place, a sitting service, all of which may make an appreciable difference to you and the person you care for. These services may be chargeable (after a means assessment), although the amount you pay varies according to which Local Authority covers your area.
- In some circumstances you may need to consider the option of residential care. Visit the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) website for more information in this area. In Scotland, see the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care.
- Look for an individual or organisation that can help you. Some large employers have a confidential welfare service.
Still can't find what you're looking for? Why not post a message on one of our discussion boards or join our online chat room where you can meet, and possibly pick up tips and advice from, experienced family carers in similar situations to yours.