'How work and life became a real struggle when I was caring for my mum'
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:50 11 June 2019
A Norfolk County Council employee who needed to care for her mum when she started to suffer from dementia has told how balancing work and life "became a real struggle".
Ann Hacon cared for her mum with dementia for five long years but managed to stay in a job she loved because her employers offered support and flexible working hours.
"When mum got diagnosed with dementia, my manager was so supportive which made everything so much easier," Ann said. "To start with I was able to use our flexible working policy meaning I could work from home at hours to fit around mum's needs.
"As time progressed there were a lot more appointments and times where she needed my support. To help with this demand on my time I was able to buy extra annual leave days. Unfortunately towards the end of mum's life, balancing things started to become a real struggle but thankfully I was able to take a career break where I had three months off.
"Knowing that I would be able to return to the job I loved, at a time that suited me, took away a huge worry from the whole situation."
Ann is just one of around 100,000 carers in Norfolk but many are not as lucky in having supportive employers. Age UK estimates that £5.3bn is lost from the economy in earnings due to people being forced to leave the workforce to care for loved ones. It is now estimated one in seven of all workers have care responsibilities and the number giving up work to care has gone up by 12% since 2013.
Last year Norfolk County Council launched a charter which aimed to protect the unpaid carers in the county and encouraged organisations to have policies in place to protect carers and help them stay employed.
An event is taking place at 11.15am on Friday June 14 at the Forum in Norwich from 10am-4pm when businesses can find out more. The council is also promoting a Carer Friendly Tick award - businesses who meet a number of criteria can apply for the award and become officially 'carer friendly'.
To find out more about becoming 'carer friendly' as an employer you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you are unable to make Friday's event, you can download a copy of the new employer's guide to helping Norfolk's hidden carers from Monday, June 17 at www.norfolk.gov.uk/thinkcarers
If you are a carer who is working you can find out more from www.norfolk.gov.uk/thinkcarers
If you are unable to make Friday's event, you can download a copy of the new employer's guide to helping Norfolk's hidden carers from Monday, June 17 by clicking here
If you are a carer who is working you can find out more by clicking here