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Balancing work and support for a family member

Balancing work and support for a family member

Balancing your job and your role as caregiver for a person with cancer can be a real challenge. Sometimes you need to reduce your work hours or even quit your job to dedicate yourself full time to the person affected by the illness
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Try to minimize the impact of your role as caregiver on your performance and your relationships with your colleagues


Your responsibilities as a caregiver can have a negative impact on your professional life: you’re away often, you spend a lot of time on the phone, you’re chronically late, you leave earlier, etc. These behavioral changes may irritate some colleagues who complain about your absences, and your employer may notice a drop in your performance.

Most care givers tend not to talk about their situation until they are on the brink of a burn-out. However, the best thing to do is to talk to your employer from the very start and to discuss some arrangements that could suit everyone.

When planning your meeting with your employer, consider the different options you could propose to the organization and the impact they would have on your schedule and your financial situation.

For example, you could suggest that you:

  • be allowed to do some of your work at home;
  • be given a flexible schedule;
  • be assigned to another position or to other tasks that are less demanding for you;
  • have your working hours temporarily reduced;
  • be allowed to make regular calls to your loved one or the health professionals who are taking care of them;
  • be allowed to take a holiday or leave without pay (you’re entitled to twelve weeks under the Quebec Labour Standards Act).


Avoid overexertion at work and at home


  • Get organized!
  • Make a list of things to do.
  • Set aside at least 30 minutes a day just for you.
  • Delegate and share tasks. 


There are also organizations and volunteers that can help you with certain daily tasks such as cleaning and meal preparation, or provide you with moments of respite. Call the Info-Cancer Line at 1-800-363-0063 to find the resources near you.



Need information, a listening ear, resources and to share?
Our Info-cancer staff is there to:

  • Answer your questions;
  • Refer you to resources in your area;
  • Provide you with useful documentation;
  • Put you in touch with someone who has gone through the same ordeal, whether you or a loved one.

Borrow one or more books on the subject for free:

Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm
1-800-363-0063 (free of charge)  |  [email protected]


Khandjian, Sylvie. Je prends soin de mes parents, Caractere, 2011, p. 205-209. Borrow this book

Being a care giver


Taking care of yourself as a caregiver

When you are a caregiver, it’s easy to devote yourself entirely to taking care of the sick person. Our concern over the health of the other person can make us forget we should also be paying attention to our own. You still have a large number of personal, family and work-related tasks and responsibilities in addition to those of the patient

Supporting 15-39 year olds with cancer

The disease occurs at a particularly critical time in the lives of young people 15-39 years old. They will have to endure many physiological and psychological changes at a time of their lives when they are still in search of identity, autonomy, and establishing intimate relationships

Supporting a work colleague with cancer

You work alongside a colleague who has just received a diagnosis of cancer, who is continuing to work during treatment or who has just returned to work. You're probably wondering how to relate to them

Supporting a love one with cancer

A loved one has cancer and you want to support them in their ordeal? There is no model or recipe to follow. The answer is actually quite simple: be attentive and show that you are here for them. Whatever help you can give will be invaluable