Help for carers
The decision to care for someone who is terminally ill can have a profound effect on the carer. It will impact on all areas of the carer's life and it can sometimes feel like a very lonely role.
A life-limiting condition can change the nature of relationships. It can change the patient's mood but it can also change your own feelings as carer. Feelings of sadness, anger and guilt are common and perfectly natural.
This section lists just some of the help available to help you cope.
Your responsibilities may limit your capacity to work. If you are caring for someone and your earnings reduce as a result you may be entitled to benefits. Follow the link to see if you qualify for help: Carer's Allowance.
Additionally, Macmillan Cancer Support offers financial advice for those living with cancer. For help and advice on everything from benefits to housing costs click here.
You should use your friends and family for emotional as well as practical help. Just talking to someone can often make you feel better. If you don't have that sort of support network around you, or you feel you need a professional's help, consider using a professional counsellor.
Respite care and breaks
Some small time to yourself - a brief break from your responsibilities - can help you be a better carer.
Your local authority may be able to offer help to give you a break although you may have to pay for these services. The help could be respite care - where the patient moves to a place offering care accommodation for a short time - or day support, where a carer covers support duties for a part of the day, allowing you to take a break.
Additionally your local hospice may be able to help with respite care. Talk to your GP or district nurse about this.
Looking after yourself
It's easy to devote all your time and attention to a loved one who relies on you and neglect your own health and well-being.
It is important to maintain a healthy diet, to sleep well and to exercise as regularly as you can. Talking to others in a similar position to you can also be a great support. This could be through local meetings or online discussion forums.
You can find more about these and other avenues of support here: The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.