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Getting a Job? - Carers UK Forum

Getting a Job?

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Until recently my husband & I had worked together in our own business for for several reasons including finances & my husbands health deteriorating, we decided to call it a day. We are now on income support with me as a carer.

Although my husband is limited in what he can do, once I help him dress & wash he can potter around at home quite happily on his own. So, with his agreement, I went for a job interview today & am being put forward to another interview with a short list of 2. Promising.

However, I went to get my husband up & sorted before going out this morning & couldn't wake him properly. I know he had been restless all night ( I know, I was awake!) so decided to leave him to sleep. So I went off for my interview, went to town, came home did a variety of jobs round the house & finally woke him about 1pm. It did get me thinking though. At first glance my husband doesn't need much care around the house. However due to being unstable on his feet & problems with bending & reaching (he has MD) he can't do any housework, gardening, laundry, cooking etc. So that would all be down to me.
He does get days when he struggles to get out of his chair. He needs to sleep extra hours about once a week as he gets very tired. Restless over night from aching muscles is not uncommon.

Could I really cope with a full time job as well? My son would be around out of school hours to help out OH. OH rarely goes out in the winter anyway & in the summer he has mates who could take him fishing & snooker occasionally. Financially we wouldn't be noticeably better off.

However OH & I will drive each other potty if I don't do something. Is a rigid 40 week the best solution? Would I be better off doing some voluntary work? I can't take a P/T job as we'd end up worse off.

OH & I don't like claiming benefits & I'd rather work while I can but would I be running myself into an early grave.....I am not good with stress. Is it lazy not to take a job if I can......

What to do???????
Hello Image

From what you say, it sounds like you would be happier having some time away from your husband and the caring role. Possibly a full time job would be ok but sometimes he may not be so good and that could be tricky. I suppose part time would be a good arrangement but if thats a non starter on the financial front, that has to be considered. Voluntary work could be ideal if time out is the main thing for you. But you may want to give the full time a go provided you think about some contingency for when your husband is not so well. Employers have to accommodate carers' needs to some extent, but you need to think about how it would be in practice.

Not an easy decision for you, but it does sound like you need to get out more Image Make a decision and give it your best shot....

Hope it goes well for you. Take care.

Robert
What about a part time job/ job share?

melly1
Hello Robert - Yes, you are quite right. I do need some time away from my husband to do "my own thing" . My husband agrees with this & is keen for me to do something. It will do us both good to have our own worlds.

I know in theory that employers are supposed to be flexible but I don't know what that will mean in reality - hard to second guess until I start. We have no family within a 2 hour drive so no one I could ask for help. There are pros & cons whichever way I look!

Melly - I can't take a part time job as we would be worse off. From April you aren't entitled to working tax credits if you work less than 20 hours a week (as a couple). We have been told that once I get a job the income support stops & if I work less than 20 hours then we will fall between tax credits & income support.

I could do voluntary part time work which will resolve the need to do more & not cause benefit issues. However I will still be left with the feeling that I ought to be working if I can.

Ho hum..........
That's a really tough dilemma Debra.
When my wife was diagnosed with MND in 2010, I had to make a similar decision and decided to stay in work. My main reason for doing so was that I had to consider myself; life expectancy of MND sufferers is on average only several months (although some do live for years). What would I do when my wife was no longer with me? Sit at home on my own day after day looking at 4 walls! Family do not live close by and I'm of an age that although I have several working years left, getting another job at my age would be extremely difficult especially in the present climate.

Holding down a full time job as well as being the main carer is really tough, I cannot stress that enough, and there are pros and cons for and against working:
Getting home from work in the evening and then having to prepare meals day after day and deal with other domestic issues which cannot be put off.
Days off are spent catching up with other domestic chores: Cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping, etc. etc. I can just about keep on top of all the housework chores, finding time to do extra chores such as gardening etc. are a challenge. My wife has deteriorated to the point where she cannot do any domestic tasks, spending her time either sat in a chair or in bed. Care workers visit when I am at work to get her to the toilet. Me time is non-existent.
Having the income from a full time job means we don't have to watch every penny.
I get to see other people, which I wouldn't if I was not at work.
On the other side of the coin though, had I given up work. I probably would have been bored out of my mind; being on top of the housework all the time with too much time on my hands. Although I love my wife dearly, being in each others company 24/7 would result in getting on each others nerves. Without a full time job, finances would have been under a great strain.

As I said Debra, it's a tough decision and one which you need to put a lot of thought into and weigh up carefully.
Good luck, I hope you find the right decision for yourself.
I'm now 60 and widowed, well qualified, 10 O levels, 3 A levels, Business Studies degree, good IT skills. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I couldn't work after my son was born with learning difficulties. He was extremely hyperactive and there was no reliable respite care available. Every single respite carer said they couldn't cope with his endless energy. I was offered a really good job, but without anyone to look after my son, couldn't take up the offer. Finally my health gave way and he became a boarder at his school. Once I'd got used to the idea, my husband and I had a few brilliant weeks....until mum had an operation which went wrong and I became a part time carer for her, still am 20 years later. Later father in law had bowel cancer, mum in law Alzheimers, my dad prostate cancer. Then my husband died suddenly from a heart attack 5 years ago, a few weeks later I was disabled in a car accident, work is no longer possible. Other friends who have been widowed say that they were well supported by work colleagues, that part of their life has continued. I wish I could say the same. Work gives you much more than money, it gives you other people to talk to, to share experiences with, and something to think about other than caring. It's a shame that you can't go out to work part time because of a benefits trap, I'm sure that you would be happier with a part of your life which was all your own.
Its far from an easy decision, but its a pity you cant do something part time but I understand why. Otherwise that would be ideal.

Take care,

Robert Image
I know it's not ideal, but if you earn under £100 a week, you would keep CA, so that might be a consideration.
That's AFTER any expenses you might have - which is sometimes overlooked.
Debra,

This is a difficult one. I work full-time while caring for my mum part-time and there may come a time when I have to give the job up as she is needing more care. I need the job both to pay my own mortgage plus for my own sanity. Mum copes (just) with twice-daily carers and careline round the neck. I think it depends a lot on the type of job you do. Obviously you can't ask these questions at interview but is it the type of job where working from home occasionally is possible. I find this invaluable to work around mum's appointments. Do they have unpaid emergency leave for family crises. On the downside 2 of my 4 weeks leave are taken up with mum's appointments / crises. This year I have rarely had the chance to work a full week - I have had to find excuses - physio, dental etc to come in late and leave early as there is always something mum-related. My employer is supposedly family-friendly but in these harsh economic times they are looking for excuses to get rid of people. I don't want to give them an excuse. Having said all this, the job does provide me with something outside caring, an "identity". Once I leave work, I feel I become a subset of mum! We morph into one; it does not help when people say we look alike!

As Malc said, to fit all the housework in is a challenge. Ironing at midnight anyone? I cope with this in part by having convinced mum to have a once-weekly cleaner to do the heavy stuff. She refused at first saying that cleaners were not "for the likes of her", so we now call it a home help!

Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. Frankly, you get stressed one way or the other but do remember, how exhausting working and caring can be ..... Sanity comes at a price. Anne