Tips, Experiences and Inspiration for Those who are Caring for the Seriously Ill. 

Megan McAuliffe

Some people nearing the end of their life just want the simple things like the view from their bedroom window, having their possessions around them and the familiar daily sounds which can feel comforting. They might want to see their family, pets and friends around them or they may want some privacy and peace.

Whatever it is that they need, caring for someone at home takes a coordinated effort and planning.

Becoming a carer

Becoming a carer can happen gradually or very suddenly, it can last for years, weeks or even just days. However it happens, becoming a carer can come with a whole host of challenges as you enter a world you’ve never experienced before.

Your loved one might need specialist nursing as well as help with washing, eating and using the toilet. They may want a professional to help with these tasks or a family member.

Your GP will know exactly what is practically required when caring for a terminally ill person at home, what pain management and equipment they may need.

Practical support

Caring for someone with a terminal illness can be physically and emotionally draining. It can also be very rewarding and bring comfort being there with that person in their final days, months or even years.

Sometimes your loved one might need you during the night which will interrupt your sleep, making you unable to attend to other responsibilities such as taking the kids to school. That’s when coordinated care from family and friends is important so others can support you and step in when you can’t. 

Coping with the emotional rollercoaster

When you’re looking after someone who’s terminally ill your responsibilities can take up a lot of time. Sometimes carers worry that if they take a break their loved one will become distressed or might not get the care they need.

You may experience intense emotions including resentment, guilt, stress and depression. And if you’re spending a lot of time looking after your loved one it can be difficult to find the time to see your friends and socialise. Some friends might contact you less often because they think you’re busy or don’t want to talk to anyone which can lead to feelings of isolation.

Keeping in touch with friends and family and receiving support via your support platform can make all the difference, and reduce the feeling that your world is shrinking to the home, the hospital or GP surgery.