Looking after someone with cancer
A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to a family member or friend with cancer who would not be able to manage without this help. Caring can mean many things, including being a good listener, helping with personal care, providing transport or assisting with everyday chores.
There are a variety of practical issues you may find yourself having to deal with as a carer.
Day-to-day activities, such as housework, handling finances and personal care, are all important parts of caring for someone with cancer - and may be things you’ve not had to tackle before.
You may find some of the information from our section about caring for someone with advanced cancer section useful:
We also have information about benefits and financial help for carers.
Different ways of caring
Caring means different things for every carer. What it involves will vary according to the needs of the person you’re caring for and what you’re able to do.
Caring can mean:
being a good listener - someone they can bounce ideas off, or a shoulder to cry on
Are you getting support too?
Over half of carers don't identify themselves as a carer. If you provide support to someone with cancer you could be entitled to more support than you're getting.
giving physical nursing care, with or without support from professionals
helping with personal care
helping to find other sources of information or support
offering a source of social contact, helping to prevent the person who is ill from feeling isolated
helping with everyday chores, or arranging things, like childcare or getting the car serviced
helping the person who is ill to take a break when treatment permits - to maintain some of the ‘fun’ things in life.
It’s important to understand the needs of the person, and to find a good balance between what you think is right for them and what they want. You should also try to be aware of the limitations of what you can and can’t do.
We have more information about legal rights and making decisions if you are caring for someone with cancer.
Videos and information that you might find helpful
Ciarán tells his story of caring for his wife when she had advanced cancer.
Katherine explains the financial help that might be available for people with cancer.