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Living with a terminal illness and looking for support? Our Support Line team are here to help. 

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Your feelings as a carer

When you’re taking care of someone who’s ill, it’s important to look after your own wellbeing too. Not seeing friends or family can make you feel lonely or isolated and may make it harder to cope with your feelings.

Feeling isolated

When you take care of someone else your responsibilities can take up a lot of your time. This can put pressure on relationships, make it difficult to keep up friendships and can often mean less time for socialising. All of this can make you more withdrawn from your usual relationships and make you feel alone.

Finding support

Support isn’t just limited to benefits and grants. It can be as simple as speaking to friends and family about your situation or getting in touch with your local carer support group. Carers Trust   has a directory of services including respite breaks (see below), counselling and support centres for the UK, where you can search by postcode. We also have information about getting support and day to day caring at home.

Online communities

Online communities like the Marie Curie Community   can be useful when it comes to finding people in similar situations. They can often be a good place to get information or to share your experiences.

Your feelings

When you’re focused on taking care of someone else, it can be easy to lose track of your own feelings. It’s important to have someone like a friend, family member or partner who will listen to you. If you’d rather not discuss your feelings with someone you know, you may want to get in touch with your local carer centre for support from people in a similar situation. The Marie Curie Helper service will also be able to offer support.

If you’re finding your feelings overwhelming, you should discuss them with your GP. A trained counsellor may also be able to help.

Finding a counsellor

Contact your local carers centre, doctor or try the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s ‘It’s good to talk’ directory  . You may also be able to get free counselling through your GP, depending on where you live.

It can help to speak to the counsellor before committing to pay for any sessions so you feel at ease with them.

Taking a break

Sometimes it may help to take some time for you. It can give you time to catch up with friends and family or even to take a holiday. This could just be an afternoon off or something longer.

Respite breaks

A respite break means taking a break from caring. This type of care can happen at home, residential care, a nursing home or in some hospices. You can contact your local hospice directly to see if it offers this.

You may also be able to find grants for short breaks through your local carer centre or in our grants section.

Financial concerns

Depending on whether you’re a full or part-time carer, you could find yourself with less time to work or a smaller income. This can bring its own type of isolation and you may find yourself cut off from work friendships or feel like you can’t socialise like you did before.

Whether you see yourself as a carer or not, there is help available from many sources if you find yourself looking after someone else. Financial help is available from the government, charities and grant giving trusts.

You can find out more about your benefit entitlements with the benefits search tool at Turn2us  . Your local carer centre or Citizens Advice   may also be able to offer you a benefits check.

External websites

Counselling Directory   – Find a counsellor

NHS Choices   – Carers’ wellbeing

Hospice UK  

Shared Care Scotland  

Turn2us  – benefits and grant search

This page is for general information only. It's not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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