Support from family and friends

It’s helpful to think about the kind of help you might need from your family, friends and neighbours. Building up a support network can make a big difference.

Make sure you involve the person you care for when thinking about who can help with what tasks. Some people may want to help with things like washing or shopping. Others will be happier to sit and talk to the person you are caring for so that you can have a break. Some people may be good at listening and will let you talk about your worries.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, try making a list of things that you need help with. You could then ask people what they would be able to do. Some people may be able to help regularly – this could be a couple of hours a week. Others may prefer to help less often.

If you always seem to be coping with everything, your family and friends may not realise how much you need help. Or they may be waiting for you to ask for help. It’s important that you know who you can turn to and how they will be able to help. You could try identifying a few key people. They could be parents, close friends, or someone from a local support group.

If you don’t live with the person you are caring for, and have family members and friends helping, it may be useful to keep a rota or log. This could be a record of who is helping, when they are coming and what tasks they are doing. It may help make the best use of everyone’s time and avoid confusion.

Creating a rota

We have included examples of things you could add to the rota. You could copy the table and use it for different weeks.


Monday8am: Saffiyah taking the kids to school
Saffiyah’s phone number:
Tuesday1pm: Pat driving to day unit for chemotherapy
Pat’s phone number:
Phone number for day unit:
Wednesday8am: Saffiyah taking the kids to school
Thursday7pm: Stu calling physiotherapist to ask about exercises
Stu’s phone number:
Physiotherapist’s phone number:
Friday5pm: Keisha cooking dinner
Keisha’s phone number:
Saturday10am: Pat doing the ironing
Sunday4pm: Liz visiting
Liz’s phone number:

Carers UK also has a free online and mobile app called Jointly, which you could also use to co-ordinate who is doing what.

I only live a few blocks down the road. I come round quite a bit to cook for Patrick and tidy up.

Ayub, who cared for his friend Patrick

Back to Looking after someone with cancer

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who gives unpaid practical and emotional support to a person who could not manage without this help.

Managing everyday needs

You may need to help the person you are caring for with things like medicines. You can get support to help you with this.

Other care options

You may sometimes need a break from caring. Help is available to support you with looking after your loved one.

If you're a carer with cancer

Looking after someone while going through treatment yourself can be challenging. Support is available for carers.