Carer Roles and Challenges

Being supportive in your carer role

Taking care of a loved one with cancer is one of the hardest roles anyone can do.

You’re often asked to manage medications, get your loved one to appointments, communicate with their healthcare team, make meals, be the patient’s main emotional support, and more. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes, all this additional responsibility leaves very little time for you.

Your wellbeing matters, too

It’s important to make time for yourself, as your wellbeing still matters.

Pushing yourself too hard can actually make caregiving and supporting your loved one harder.

Here are some suggestions to help you prioritise your own health:

  • Eat properly - maintaining a healthy diet will give you the energy you need and help keep you from getting sick
  • Make time for exercise – regular physical activity will keep your body strong and relieve stress.
  • Set up your own support network – tell your friends and family how they can help you, as they may not know the best way to support you
  • Find a support group – the Cancer Council has information about where local support groups are and what they offer – including face-to-face support, phone counselling and online counselling. Support groups allow you to discuss your experiences with other people who are dealing with the same problems. If you try one that doesn’t feel like a good fit, try another one. Cancer Council support.
  • Speak with a counsellor or psychologist - your health insurance plan may cover the cost of seeing a therapist
  • Talk to someone who’s been there – speaking to someone who’s been through the same experience can help. Phone the Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to connect with an ambassador who understands how you’re feeling and knows how they can best help you with your concerns.