Balancing your job and your role as caregiver for a person with cancer can be a real challenge. Sometimes you need to reduce your work hours or even quit your job to dedicate yourself full time to the person affected by the illness.

Try to minimize the impact of your role as caregiver on your performance and your relationships with your colleagues

Your responsibilities as a caregiver can have a negative impact on your professional life: you’re away often, you spend a lot of time on the phone, you’re chronically late, you leave earlier, etc. These behavioral changes may irritate some colleagues who complain about your absences, and your employer may notice a drop in your performance.

Most care givers tend not to talk about their situation until they are on the brink of a burn-out. However, the best thing to do is to talk to your employer from the very start and to discuss some arrangements that could suit everyone.

When planning your meeting with your employer, consider the different options you could propose to the organization and the impact they would have on your schedule and your financial situation.

For example, you could suggest that you:
  • be allowed to do some of your work at home;
  • be given a flexible schedule;
  • be assigned to another position or to other tasks that are less demanding for you;
  • have your working hours; temporarily reduced
  • be allowed to make regular calls to your loved one or the health professionals who are taking care of them;
  • be allowed to take a holiday or leave without pay (you’re entitled to twelve weeks under the Quebec Labour Standards Act).

Avoid overexertion at work and at home

  • Get organized!
  • Make a list of things to do.
  • Set aside at least 30 minutes a day just for you.
  • Delegate and share tasks. The site Aidons Ensemble! lets caregivers create an account where they can list the tasks that need to be performed and invite friends to consult them so that they can offer help whenever they can.
There are also organizations and volunteers that can help you with certain daily tasks such as cleaning and meal preparation, or provide you with moments of respite. Call the Info-Cancer Line (1 800 363-0063) to find the resources near you.

Sources :
  • Khandjian, Sylvie. Je prends soin de mes parents, Caractere, 2011, p. 205-209. Borrow this book.
  • Article "Proches aidants au travail: toujours en quête de reconnaissance", La Presse : affaires.lapresse.ca

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