If you look after someone with cancer, you may not think of yourself as a carer. You might say ‘I'm just being their husband, partner, daughter or friend.’ Yet the support you provide is vital: from helping with shopping or dressing, or taking them to the hospital, to being there when they need to talk.
Of the 1.1 million carers in the UK, less than half identify themselves as one. This means they may be struggling on with feelings of isolation and stress without knowing where to turn. Macmillan can provide carers with a wide range of support, from free information booklets to financial guidance and advice about work.
Making life easier
When Sharon’s mum was diagnosed with cancer, she started working part-time to look after her. Sharon says, ‘I help my mum with things like her shopping, as well as taking her to hospital and just being there to listen. I just try to make her life a little easier.
‘At first I found it hard to use the term carer because I’m just doing what I hope one of my boys would do for me. But I went to a conference run by Macmillan and was surprised by how useful I found many of the seminars. It was at that conference that I thought, “I probably am a carer.”
‘Having to work part-time has been hard financially. The family has had to adjust, for example, this year we’re not going on a big holiday. But I’d rather spend time with my mum now than look back and have regrets.’
Sharon’s now backing our campaign to get more people to identify as carers. ‘Because most people don’t see themselves as carers, I don’t think they know to look out for information – but there’s plenty of help available.
‘I’ve got quite a lot of leaflets from Macmillan and have found the website really helpful. And if I have any questions about my mum’s care, I know I can call our Macmillan nurse, Rachel.’
Take me to the next article >
Find out how we can help you plan for the future if you look after someone with cancer.