The secret life of a working carer
We’re doing what we can to make it easier to combine care and career by introducing a new leave type called ‘Family Support’, to provide working carers up to five days paid leave each year.Read more
Did you know? In 3 years, the number of carers in the UK who juggle work with caring for a family member, has gone from 1 in 9 to 1 in 7. And over 600 people, every day quit their jobs due to the demands of being a family carer.
I have three children Freya, Rory and Gracie. My family is different because my daughters have a rare genetic disorders. My Eldest Freya aged 8 has Cornelia De-Lange Syndrome which is very rare effecting 1 in 25,000 births and my youngest Gracie aged 2 has extremely rare Pallister Kilian syndrome which effects 1 in 25million (roughly 300 people in the world diagnosed).
The odds of us having these two children are the same as winning the jackpot on the lottery twice, I know what you’re thinking… how lucky are we to have hit the jackpot twice.
I'm a father first but also a carer by default. My girls require 24-hour care. Their medical needs are extensive, they don’t eat, talk, walk and both require help with breathing and Gracie has epilepsy. Combined they have a drugs chart in double figures.
Being a carer for two disabled children is a challenge for many reasons but ultimately is hugely rewarding as the small steps feel like leaps.
Coming to work at Nationwide provides me with a focus and purpose. I’ve had some wonderful managers around me who’ve supported myself and my family in my time of need. They’ve been flexible with working hours, allowing me time to support my family, and made sure I maintain a good work-life balance.
At the beginning of this year, my youngest was in intensive care for couple of months. During this time my colleagues and my manager at the time would always keep a constant check on me, to see if I was coping alright.
I was allowed the flexibility of getting to work a little bit later so that I could make sure my other children were organised and ready for school and happy in themselves. Having the support of my colleagues to be able to do this made such a difference to me being able to survive through the difficult periods.
If you're working carer, you're not alone
We have a Working Carers Network, where you’ll meet other carers who share similar experiences and be a part of organised activities, such as the recently launched ‘Time for Tea, Time for Me’ sessions.