Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Cancer and the workplace

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Today Helen, advocate at project partner Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre, tells us about the reality for one lady who is trying to keep her job whilst caring for her husband, an older person with a cancer diagnosis.

Recently I have been advocating for a lady whose husband is terminally ill with cancer.  He also has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and he cannot be left alone.  This lady, through necessity has kept a part time job with help from her family.  She has found that her employer has been very unsympathetic to her situation.  The lady provided ample notice before hospital appointments so that she would be allocated other days to work, but she was told to use annual leave.  She has also had her hours reduced and is being pressurised to work more frequently at the weekends.  Clearly at a very stressful and emotional time this is an additional worry for her.  Initially she was referred by the Macmillan Information and Advice Centre because the lady wanted to compose a letter to her employer.  However when I made my first visit she had already achieved this herself.  Instead I have gathered information for her about the correct process her employer should be following with regard to her request for flexible working.  She told me she found this information very useful and that by me making regular contact with her, she feels she has support outside of the family.  I have offered to accompany her to any meetings that are arranged with her HR department to assist her to convey her wishes and feelings.



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