Looking after someone with fatigue

What you can do

  • Understand the different ways of dealing with fatigue. Reading the information in this section should help.
  • Encourage your relative or friend to use the fatigue diary [PDF], or help them to fill it in. Write down how fatigue affects their life as well as how it affects yours.
  • Use the fatigue diary to find out what times the person you care for has more energy to do things such as shopping or having visitors around. Plan to make the most of these times.
  • Try reducing fatigue by helping your relative or friend make simple improvements to their sleep, diet and exercise habits.

You can go with your relative or friend on their visits to hospital and take the fatigue diary with you. Discuss with the doctors and nurses:

  • how the fatigue is affecting both of you
  • what could be causing the fatigue
  • what techniques you’ve tried to reduce fatigue and what has or hasn’t been helpful other ways the doctors may be able to treat the fatigue.

Caring for another person can be exhausting. You may also become tired if you have lots to worry about. It’s important that you also look after yourself and avoid getting too tired.

This can be difficult when you have a lot to do and you don’t want to let your relative or friend down.

You may need to involve other people or organisations to help with the caring, especially if you also have an illness that makes you feel tired. Try not to feel guilty if you do need extra help, and try to remember it’s not helpful if you both feel tired.

We have more detailed information to help you if you're caring for someone with cancer.

Back to Tiredness (fatigue)

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is feeling very tired most, or all, of the time. It can sometimes be caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

What causes fatigue?

There are many causes of fatigue. Knowing about them may help you to cope with your fatigue a bit better.

Tips for better rest

Tiredness can affect your sleeping patterns. There are ways to manage this so you get the most out of your rest.