This month I am grateful to Sue Grogan of Joined Up Working for sharing her personal story.
This photo is of me and Mum. She looks ok doesn’t she, glass in hand, smiling at the camera? I’m smiling too – all is good, isn’t it?
What you can’t see about her is:
- She’s sitting on a specialist kitchen chair, she can’t use an ordinary chair
- The walker (out of sight next to her) she needs if she wants to move ANYWHERE
- The grabber stick she uses to pick anything up
- Numerous house adaptations and equipment on loan from the OT dept
- Her mobility issues keep her housebound – she stopped going out during Covid and is now too anxious to start again.
- The carers so she can maintain some independent living
- Her mental health – which fluctuates
What you can’t see about me is:
- My panic if she rings when I’m not expecting it – and the thought “what’s happened?”
- My panic if her friend or neighbour rings me – same thoughts
- All her medical and social work people are on my phone (speed dial for some of them)
- The time it takes to sort out the most minor issue for her – and don’t start me on the major ones
- The time I take out of my working week to “care” for her – even though I’m not doing the physical stuff (she’s got people coming in to do that)
- The 70-mile journey for me to get to her – up to 2 hours in heavy traffic
I’m not the only person in the world who is a “working carer”. There are many working adults out there who don’t tell their employer as they think if they say they need time away to sort out an issue they’ll be perceived as:
- Disloyal to the business
- Not worthy of a senior position – can’t commit to the workload
As we age, our parents’ age and the problems get bigger
What’s your experience of working and caring?
Do you have staff in this situation?
Like my photo – people are good at hiding their challenges
My book – “Looking after Your Wellbeing: Advice for Working People Caring for a Loved One” is full of information and advice to help you or someone you know.
I also provide services to you or your staff, as individuals or as a group to help people cope with working and caring, whilst maintaining their productivity to you as their employer.
Like to find out more?