When someone you love has cancer things can change for everyone. Caring can be both a wonderful and a challenging experience. It is important that you learn about the needs of the person you are caring for, and remember to take care of yourself also. To help make things a little easier, we have put together a quick guide to some of the support options we have available to you.
Information about being a carer
Our ‘caring for someone with cancer’ booklet includes information on common emotional reactions, other carers' experiences, caring for yourself, asking others for help, how relationships change, communication, advanced cancer, death and grieving and support and information. Take a look here.
Practical assistance available
We provide a practical support service to eligible patients and carers as a short-term relief. The assistance is for the delivery of basic practical support services such as cleaning, gardening and childcare. Find out more about our practical support services here and here.
Help in understanding the emotions and feelings of being a carer
Caring may affect you in many different ways. You may find that you have feelings that are hard to understand and sometimes hard to talk about. Our coping with the emotional effects of cancer page details our emotional support services available to help, such as counselling, support groups, our 13 11 20 helpline and more. Take a look here.
Tips on talking to the person you’re caring for
It’s normal to feel the need to be supportive and strong and fear saying the wrong thing or breaking down. However, it’s ok to show your true feelings, it’s a difficult time and it’s natural to release genuine emotion. It can be difficult to see changes in someone you know well. Value your relationship and treat the person who is ill as you always have, with warmth and concern.
Our ‘How can I help?’ brochure provides information about what someone with cancer may be going through, and offers ideas about what you can say or do.
Talking with others caring for a loved one with cancer
There are a range of support services that enable you to talk to someone else. To find out what might best suit your needs you might like to speak to one of our cancer nurses by calling 13 11 20. Some of the services available include:
• Cancer Connect - a one on one telephone peer support program that enables you to speak with a specially trained volunteer who has cared for a relative undergoing cancer treatment.
• Cancer support groups - run by people affected by cancer, these groups can provide support and information that is helpful to carers as well as patients.
• Carer Telephone Support Group - this service allows you to connect with other people caring for a family member, friend or loved one with a cancer diagnosis.
• Cancer Connections - An online forum where you can talk with someone who is caring for someone with cancer. You are also able to share your own thoughts on what is going on for you.
Looking after yourself
The best way you can care for anyone else is by looking after yourself. When you attend to your own wellbeing you boost your quality of life. In turn, your wellbeing ensures you have the energy and capacity to face any challenges coming your way. This means you can provide more effective support to the people around you. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time out. We offer a range of complementary therapies for both cancer patients and their carers as part of our Life Now program such as yoga, reiki and massage. Find out more here.