- Cancer Information
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Caring for yourself
- Asking others for help
Asking others for help
It can be difficult to ask for and accept assistance, but if you seem to be coping, others may not realise you need help. Family and friends may be waiting for you to ask because they don’t know how to offer or fear they will be intruding or disturbing you. Let them know their support is appreciated and that they’re not interfering.
Asking for help is not a sign of failure; it may allow you to spend more time with the person you’re caring for or to take a break.
You may want to hold a family meeting to work out how everyone can help and then prepare a roster. This lets family and friends know exactly what help you need and when you would like it. It means others don’t have to guess what they can do to help.
Tasks that can be done by or shared with others
- household chores such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, shopping, gardening or looking after pets
- driving the person with cancer to appointments and/or attending appointments with them
- picking up children from school or other activities
- looking up information
- keeping others updated
- staying with the person you care for while you take a break.
There are about 235,000 carers under the age of 25 in Australia. The Carers Associations in each state and territory offer information and support tailored for young carers. Visit Young Carers Network to find out more.
At first, I didn’t ask for help, because I didn’t want to bother anyone. I see caring as my duty; I have to do it. I now realise people genuinely want to help. They need my help to show them how.Gavin
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.