Accepting help as a carer can help you to cope

Caring for someone who is seriously ill can be demanding. Having help with basic tasks like shopping, housework, or gardening can help you to cope. There are ways for you to get the help you need. This can help you to provide better care.

Your family, friends or neighbours often want to help. You may develop a system so that you have help with shopping, laundry, housework or gardening. You may get some services through your local council. Some palliative care services have volunteers who can help.

Ask health professionals for advice. This could be about how to:

  • physically care for someone who is very ill
  • balance your carer role with other responsibilities
  • maintain a social life
  • keep physically and emotionally well.


You may find it a physical and emotional strain to run a household. You may feel tired and overwhelmed.

You can ask your health professional about respite services which can help you to take a break. Respite is a chance for everyone to take a break. Your health professional team can work with you to help this happen.

What is respite?

Video from Carer Gateway

The need for respite and support will depend on many factors. This includes the length of time that someone is ill. It is important that you ask for help.

Paid careworkers in your home

If you are caring for someone at home there can be a lot of other people involved. There may be a community nurse, a GP, an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist. You may also have the palliative care team, as well as having paid care workers to help you.

Having so many people around can be reassuring or it can sometimes feel intrusive. You may find disruption to your usual household routine. You may have to coordinate everything.

It is important to remember that they are visitors to your home. They are there to help make things easier for you. Talking with them about any concerns you have is important.

Whenever possible try to make sure that some private, quiet time is set aside for the family.


People may want to provide you with help in your caring role. This can be a great support for you. However, you may find that you sometimes need some time on your own. The person you are caring for may also need to rest.

The people who visit won’t mind if you need to manage the number of visitors that you receive. If you want time to yourself then some of the following ideas may be helpful:

  • put a blackboard by the front door with a message
  • put something on Facebook
  • put an update on your answer phone
  • have a visitor’s diary so that people can leave messages.

Last updated 02 August 2021