Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes and for people with advanced cancer they are often the secret to an optimum quality of life.

Caregivers can be spouses, partners, grown children, other family members, friends or neighbours. They may care for you ful-time or them may call in now and then to cook meals, do housework, pay some bills, sit with you or provide emotional support.

Adjusting to being a caregiver can take time and can be fraught with strong and often conflicting emotions. For some, caring for someone close to them makes them feel good about themselves. It allows them to appreciate life and makes them feel useful and needed. Care giving can also strengthen relationships.

On the other hand providing care can be time consuming and emotionally draining. Long-term carers may also find that their employment, social activities and overall physical and emotional wellbeing suffer.

Identifying carers' needs is the first step in helping them overcome issues that may be causing much distress and anxiety. The Needs Assessment Tool - Families may help a caregiver identify the areas they may require additional help with. Please pass it on to anyone you think may benefit from it.

Last updated 30 August 2015