Caring for someone with cancer as their illness develops
As a person's illness develops the care that they need may change.
As your relative or friend’s illness develops, you may find that it’s no longer realistic for you to continue to look after them at home. Try not to feel guilty, or that you have failed them and yourself. As their illness develops, their needs may change and a different type of care may make them feel more secure and safe. The demands of caring full-time may be taking their toll on you too. You may both feel that the time has come to make other arrangements.
People will know that you still care about and love your relative or friend, even if you no longer feel able to look after them at home. In fact, letting go of some of the practical responsibilities may allow you to spend more time just being together, and you can still help professional staff to look after them.
You may have already discussed where your relative or friend would like to be looked after when their health deteriorates, and whether they’d like to die at home or in a hospice. Many people would prefer to remain at home but this isn’t always possible. It can help to consider possible alternative arrangements that you would both feel happy with. If you find this too distressing, tell your key worker that you need more help. They might suggest that the person you are caring for goes into hospital, or spends some time in a hospice.