A carer provides unpaid personal care, assistance and support to a person who needs this help because of a disability or disease such as cancer.
You may be a partner, relative, friend or neighbour. Anyone can be a carer - it doesn’t matter what your age, sex, sexuality, profession or cultural background is.
You may not see yourself as a carer, rather that you are simply helping out a person in need or that you are providing care as a natural extension of your relationship. Some carers accept the increased responsibilities, while others may feel they have no choice or the role is something they ‘should’ do.
If you are caring for someone with cancer, it is important to look after yourself as well. Carers can experience times of stress and anxiety. Try to ensure you have some time out, to look after your own needs. It can also be helpful to share your worries and concerns with someone neutral, such as a counsellor or a doctor. Many cancer support groups are open to carers and can offer a valuable opportunity to share experiences and ways of coping.
Cancer Council NSW recognises that carers provide a vital service and that this role can be demanding. We can offer support over the phone and in person. We can also link you to our practical support services and provide information on a wide range of cancer-related topics.
Help and support can help make the life of a carer easier. The availability of services may vary depending on where you live. Some services are free, but others may have a cost associated with them.
Looking after a person who is dying can be stressful, and you, yourself, may need help and support. It is common to feel like you don’t know what to do, what to say and how to cope.