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Balancing school/ work/ social life and caring

MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 627 Incredible Poster

Hey everyone,

You may have noticed a few discussion threads popping up talking about Young Carers and that’s because The Mix has teamed up with Carers UK to raise awareness of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers.

From the ages of 14-20, I was a Young Carer for my dad who had Alzheimer’s. Over this period of time, I also sat my GCSEs, then took A-Levels and later started studying for a degree at university. Like many Young Carers, I found that it was difficult trying to balance school and a social life, with caring.

When I was a Young Carer, some things that helped me to balance my life was to create a timetable for my revision, and caring duties, so I knew what time I could dedicate to my social life. Teachers in school, and later on, lecturers in university, also knew about my dad so they were understanding when I needed an extension on assignments. My friends also knew about my dad so there was no pressure to socialise if I was struggling with other demands but they also looked out for me to make sure I wasn’t isolating myself either. I also re-evaluated my friendships so that I would only talk to those who were understanding about my dad, and kept things casual with those who may not have known what to say.

The demands of caring, school and work can often feel overwhelming to Young Carers and it can be easy to neglect your social life when you feel the demands piling up or just feel that you don’t have the time or the energy. Sometimes, when caring takes it’s toll, it may also affect your performance at school/work and may complicate friendships/relationships if those close to you don’t understand what it’s like to be a Young Carer. If you, or someone you know, is a Young Carer, you might want to check out our article on support for Young Carers here: https://www.themix.org.uk/sex-and-relationships/family-life/support-for-young-carers-6247.html


For those that are Young Carers, Young Adult Carers, or know someone who is/was, how did you manage to balance school/work/social life and caring?

Feel free to share your thoughts, if you feel comfortable <3

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    BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Posts: 3,590 Community Veteran
    would like to know how people manage to juggle school with caring cause when I was at school my attendance was 11 percent cause of my caring duties, and im thinking of going back to college/uni and don't want the same to happen.

    as for work, my employers know im a carer .. and I live a 2 minute walk from work so they know if I get a phone call with my mam feeling a bit funny they know I drop everything and go check on her, im aware that isn't suitable for everyone and sometimes when my mam has a seizure she doesn't feel funny before its about to happen so she cant phone, but my team have been looking into getting her like a alarm thing that notifies people when shes having a seizure. also my work has a thing where your allowed a day off for a dependant but only one day and then you have to get someone else to look after them (think its meant for when kids are sick etc ) but again I cant be having a day off every other week for my mam. its hard, but it is manageable, and thankfully my sister and dad help out when they can to make my work life a bit easier :)
    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
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    Millie2787Millie2787 Community Champion Posts: 5,146 Part of The Furniture
    edited December 2019
    High school wasn’t too bad for me as I was only caring for my nephew back then , one thing they would do is they dropped all non-essential homework for me so I essentially only did English maths science and any homework that went towards any coursework I did. School used to run after school revsion sessions on a Tuesday and Wednesday where teachers from different subjects was there so I took full advantage of that and spoke to mum who understood that was the time I needed to revise for my GCSES and not to be at home looking after My nephew.

    Jusr before starting(last year in September) is when a lot of mums mental health problems started and when then I started to care for her , so going into a new setting , new environment I found it difficult to juggle having to go out on placement and also completing coursework as well as resitting my English GCSE. It got to about February time where I really started to struggle and ended up in tears to my Young carers support worker who actually rang and spoke to my head of year. This year is much tougher as I’ve started to take on some care for my dad too just making sure he’s taking his meds etc , but I’ve definitely learnt the art of having to plan and I spend some time on Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons where I’ll stay in college and catch up on any work that needs doing.
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
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    PoppyBPoppyB Posts: 228 Trailblazer
    Great thread @Maisy - creating a timetable was definitely a lifesaver for me when I was at school.

    I found being at university was the hardest for me as I was over 50 miles away from home so I wasn't able to reach her easily when a crisis occurred. This caused me to get extremely anxious and I almost considered dropping out of university a few times, so I confided in my Personal Support tutor who suggested that my dad contacted me every couple of days to check in with how she was doing. he also knew to text the moment anything happened so that I could work around my uni schedule to travel down to see her. I also visited home every few weeks at the weekend which I think benefited both my mum and me. However, if I had deadlines e.g. coursework/revision then I would speak to my family via Skype. 

    In terms of balancing a full-time job with caring, I've informed my line manager about my caring duties and he was completely understanding and non-judgemental, and agreed that I can leave any time if I need to as long as I make up the hours up within that month which is a huge weight off my shoulders. 

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