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Picture of Topic Friends and family


Topic Friends and family

For anyone supporting someone else with cancer

  • 156 conversations

Spinning Plates

Started by Anonymous on 19 February 2018 at 14:17
Edited on 19 February 2018 at 14:18

Hi Everyone,

My Dad has recently been diagnosed with blood cancer after several years of illness and frequent hospital admissions.  I live and work in the North East, but my family are in the South East and five hours drive/by train, and I have increasingly found it hard to manage a life and job so far away when my Dad is so unwell.

After a recent four month hospital stay and my Dad's diagnosis, my employer has allowed me to take some time out, but my Dad's Chemo treatment is intensive and spans over several months, and eventually I will need to return to work.  My parents are quite elderly and need lots of support.  Finding a job in my line of work down south is very difficult, but when I have returned up north between bouts of illness I have found it very difficult to manage my own anxiety being away from them.  Before Christmas I was travelling every weekend, but it became exhausting.

New to this forum, and reaching out to others for advice who may be in a situation like me.....

Thank you.


Comments (2)

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  • Picture of Tombenefits
    From Tombenefits  
    20 February 2018 at 17:08


    I'm Tom,  the Online Centre Benefits Adviser

    As with Robyn reply, I really want to make way for other carers to share the lived experiences and tips from those who really know.:-)

    And there is much wisdom to be had in her reply and Sue's blog

    It is certainly tough being a carer especially when trying to bridge large distances. And there is those conflicting urges and pressures when you spin every plate but then have to work out a cunning plan to keep you and the loving care you give sustainable :-) 

    On a practical note in terms of financial support, it's great that your employers have already helped in allowing some time off, but carer's leave is often unpaid, although many employers kindly treat it under paid sick leave provisions. 

    For a longer spell of absence, some employers may consider a r a longer term unpaid absence say for a fixed period. A sort of carers version of Maternity cover :-) That sort of agreement allows them to recruit some cover more easily and keep your job open.

    Macmillan publish some useful advice around carers and work that you can get via the page you get to by clicking  here . There are some booklets you can order or download from the page here

    In the meantime, you have those decisions around whether to move, how much work you might be able to do alongside caring, and how you might manage otherwise for income. 

    The benefits sytem can help  with a basic non-means tested Carers Allowance which is unnaffected by work under 16 hours or earnings below £ 117 a week. That would need your dad to claim a disability benefit - such as Attendance Allowance - first 

    So that allowance and/or top ups from other means tested benefits offers some basic income, whether work isnt a possibility for now or whether you find work but under 16 hours. 

    Beyond 16 hours a week of paid work, Carers Allowance may stop,  but means tested benefits such as the outgoing Working Tax Credit or its emerging replacement Universal Credit can help. Which one it would be depends on where you live, as the changeover rolls out across the UK this year.

    And in all these work scenarios, there may help if you need separate accomodation down south.

    You can find more details in a couple of Benefits Blogs that you can view from the page here

    I'm away for the next 3 weeks, I'm afraid as theres a bit of staff restructuring afoot. But I will be back :-)

    So do still drop me a message if you would like to explore some of the options and how they relate to your particular plans and situation. Just please be patient with any answer.

    In the meantime, please feel free to chat with Robyn or Sue, who can call on advisers in the other Centres if needs be until I am back.  

    Best wishes,



  • Picture of Robyn
    From Robyn  
    20 February 2018 at 12:51

    I am aware you are seeking support from others in a similar situation however I wanted to say hello and welcome you to Maggie’s.

    It sounds as if you have been managing for some time on a adrenaline and now your own health is beginning to be affected by the strain you are under.

    My colleague Sue ( susieq) wrote a blog about long distance carers which I think you will find helpful.

    It may perhaps be time to work out with your parents what support they need, what you can realistically manage (whether that be when you are there or from a distance) and where others could help support your parents ( and you ).

    I will leave you to read the blog for now however if you would like to talk things over in more detail then you are very welcome to message me or Sue ( susieq) privately ad we can help you to find the support you and your parents need.

    Best wishes

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