For Carers Week 2016, we asked people what caring for a loved one is really like. In this blog, our Quality and Evaluation Lead Abi reveals the responses we got, and talks more about looking after someone with cancer.

The results of the question we asked are shown in the word cloud below – the bigger the word, the more it was mentioned.

 The image shows a lot of words that people used to describe what caring was like. It includes words that were used a lot such as emotion, blessing, family, support, information, anxiety, drained and finances.

Information and support
Not surprisingly, the words ‘support’ and ‘information’ feature heavily when people describe their caring experiences, showing what an important part these can play in making this difficult journey a little easier. Whether you need practical information for your loved one, such as advice on diet or home adaptations, or some emotional support for yourself, at Macmillan we are here for you. Call us on 0808 808 00 00 or visit and we can give you the information and support you need, or tell you where to go to get it.

Difficult feelings
If you are a carer yourself, we hope that the image above gives you some sense that you are not alone. Difficult feelings like anxiety, anger, guilt and fear are experienced by many other carers. The journey you are on with your loved one is a roller-coaster of ups and downs, and you won’t always have your ups and downs at the same time. Remember, you don’t have to be positive all the time. No one can be positive all the time. In fact, it can be a positive thing to acknowledge and talk about difficult feelings, rather than suppress them. If you’re struggling with difficult feelings, call our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00. Our support line is a safe space to get things off your chest.

Work and finances
Macmillan also has experts who can give you information and guidance on work and finances. If you have concerns about your ability to work or are worried about your finances, call us (0808 808 00 00). We can tell you about financial help you may be entitled to and give qualified guidance on mortgages, insurance, pensions and debt.

Love and cherishing time together
Like many stressful and painful times in life, caring for a loved one can also strengthen relationships, bring families together, highlight people’s love and care for one another, and help us appreciate the special moments that life still offers. Among the many difficult emotions and worries, words like ‘love’ ‘family’ and ‘blessing’ still shine through.

At Macmillan, we want to say a heartfelt thank you to anyone out there who is looking after someone with cancer. You are doing an amazing thing. Just by being there for your loved one, you are making a big difference. Try to be kind to yourself and accept offers of help and support. You don’t have to manage everything on your own. Please contact us to find out about the support available.

Join in with Carers Week 2016
Macmillan has joined together with a group of other charities this year to make Carers Week happen. We want to help raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.

You can get involved too by sharing this blog on social media (#CarersWeek) and spreading awareness of how much carers are doing behind closed doors.

Support for you
If you are looking after a loved one, you may find some of these resources helpful:

To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.

We're with you every step of the way

The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

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