Sometimes carers can find it difficult to accept offers of help. They need to know that an offer is sincere. It is important to respect and acknowledge the needs of the carer.
Responding to their feelings
Finding out that someone is terminally ill or is looking after some who has a life-limiting illness can be difficult. People may feel not only shocked but sad and angry.
For the family carer too, this is a time of many different emotions. They also have to manage with changes in roles and tasks. They need to know that they are not alone and that their needs and contribution are important. It is important that people are willing to listen to them. They may have difficulties in accepting what is happening to the person they are caring for as well coping with the changes in their own life.
Turning up with a meal or taking home a load of washing can be of great help. Offers to do the shopping, driving them to appointments, cutting the lawns or pruning the roses may also be accepted.
Giving the carer a chance to have a break is important. They need to be able to have time for themselves.
Company and social support
An offer of a visit may be welcome, or to take afternoon tea. A listening ear for the patient or the carer if that is what they want may also help.
Finding out about useful community resources and supports such as a chemist that home delivers, can be helpful. The local library might have a volunteer service that will bring around books and videos. It is important not to make any arrangements without their permission.
Helping with children
If there are children an offer to have them come over to play may take some of the pressure off. Offering to organise a car pool to get them to school, sport and other commitments is also helpful.