Your role as a carer

A carer provides unpaid care and support to a person who needs this assistance because of a disease such as cancer, a disability, mental illness or ageing. Anyone can be a carer, regardless of your age, sex, sexuality, profession or cultural background.

You may be a family member, friend or neighbour. You might not even see yourself as a carer, rather that you are simply helping out a person in need or that you are providing care as a natural extension of your relationship.

Learn more about:


Listen to podcasts on Cancer Affects the Carer Too and How to Help Someone with Cancer


Every carer is different

For some, becoming a carer can be sudden; for others, it’s a gradual process. However it happens, it may take some time to adjust to the role. Some carers are very willing to accept the increased responsibilities; others may be reluctant but feel pressured into accepting the role out of a sense of duty.

You may have to balance caring with other demands such as work, family or study. You may provide care for a short time or over months or years. Care may be needed for a few hours a week or on a 24-hour basis, and the level of care you provide may change over time. Sometimes a carer lives a long way from the person they are helping and coordinates care by phone, email or the internet.

Caring can be more than a one-person job. Family and friends are often willing to help, but don’t know how – consider telling them what you need help with. You can also access a range of support services.


Recognition of carers in Australia

About 12% of Australians are unpaid family carers who provide care to someone with a disability or illness. These carers make a valuable contribution to the community.

The Carer Recognition Act 2010 (Commonwealth) states that carers should have:

  • recognition and respect
  • access to appropriate information that makes it easier to get support
  • economic security and the opportunity to do paid work
  • access to appropriate services
  • the skills to do their role and the opportunity to have formal education and training
  • improved wellbeing and health, and the capacity to participate in community life.

Each state and territory government has also passed their own Acts and policies.


What carers do

The caring role varies depending on the situation and usually changes over time. It often involves a wide range of tasks and sometimes means that you need to learn a new range of skills.

Medical

  • Advocate for the person with cancer
  • Monitor and manage symptoms and treatment side effects
  • Keep records of appointments, test results and treatments
  • Navigate the health care system
  • Manage medicines
  • Work with the health care team

Practical

  • Look after the home, ensuring it is kept clean, safe and well maintained
  • Manage family responsibilities, such as care of children or parents
  • Provide transport to treatment
  • Help with personal care
  • Encourage exercise
  • Prepare meals
  • Do shopping

Emotional

Legal and financial

  • Talk to the person about planning ahead
  • Help the person see a lawyer to make legal arrangements for the future, such as wills and advance care directives
  • Arrange for the person to get professional advice to help them manage the financial impact of cancer

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on caring for someone with cancer


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in September 2017
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Support for carers
Cancer Council NSW offers support online, over the phone and in person and can link you to our practical support services

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Caring for someone with advanced cancer
Discussing wishes and coping with grief

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

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