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by SusieQ

Cancer Support Specialist's View
31 May 2018 at 09:59

Cancer and Carers Week

It's not long now till Carers Week (June 11th - 17th, 2018) This is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. (Carersweek.org).

This year their campaign focuses on carers taking care to look after themselves too - staying healthy and connected. Their research found that over half of those questioned have had reduce the amount of exercise they take, and seven out of ten carers are not sleeping well.

There are over 6 and a half million unpaid carers in the UK - and you may be one of them. You're maybe a friend, mother, sister, son, daughter,  partner, parent, trying to cope with the stresses and strains of being there for someone. Your life may, perhaps, feel a little bit 'on hold' whilst you take the carer's reins....

It's sometimes an unsung role - not that most people are looking for thanks, or praise - but the relentlessness of caring can sometimes be emotionally and physically stressful and draining.  Your role within the relationship may have changed - children becoming the 'parents'  to the person who is unwell - partners becoming 'carers' rather than loving equals - all of which can add to a feeling of loneliness, and sorrow.

People who are needing the caring, whether temporarily, or in some cases, longer term, may feel a burden sometimes, and need reassurance that your support and love is unconditional. They (and you) didn't choose to be in the position you're all in...but being open about the pressures it sometimes causes can help ease the occasional frictions which may occur.

Caring can also have it's 'champagne moments' - those shared good times, where memories are made and stored, to refer to when the difficulties pass. There are other times when you may feel unappreciated, or taken for granted - it's not usually intentional hurt, from the person you're looking after - but maybe a reflection of their own frustrations at not being able to be fully independent and feeling well.

Here at Maggie's, the role of carer is valued and supported in many ways.  If you're involved in the care of someone with cancer, at a personal level, there are likely to be times when you need to be heard too.  The person with the cancer may be worried about you too - and finding help and support together or individually can be something active and positive you can do, to help take control of the events which have possibly shaken your world.

It might be finding out about benefits, nutrition, managing stress, information, support - or simply the companionship of meeting others who understand what you're facing, and can relieve that bewildering sense of isolation that sometimes accompanies dealing with the big stuff in life.

You are welcome to either drop into to one of our Maggie's Centres, or get in touch with us here at Maggie's Online Centre.  We also have a comprehensive list of blogs from our expert nutritional advisor, whichcan help make sense of nutrition, and healthy eating through food and diet.

You may also find the following blogs a helpful read:-

'What cancer means for carers'

'Being a long distance carer'

'Nutrition - carers' 

...and finally, thank you for caring - it's not an easy job, and can bring it's share of worry and heartache at times - so look after yourselves too.

Warm wishes

Sue



Registered Office: Maggie's, The Stables, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU   Registered Charity Number: SC024414
The Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres Trust is a company limited by guarantee   Company Number: SC162451