End of life care for relative living alone

My brother (mid 70s) is terminal and lives alone. A month ago he was diagnosed and now he is now bedbound. He has carers come in a few times a day for 30 mins to make him basic food which he barely touches.

I have my own health issues and am finding it very hard supporting him. I am constantly going back and forth to his house bringing things, buying things (nappies, wipes), attending to things with him etc and it is exhausting me.

I am a carer for my husband, and while I want to and do support my dying brother I have health limits to what I can do and it is currently pushing beyond them.

Is there any support? Anyone I can contact? Any advice? What options do I have? This is new territory for me


  • Hello

    I am sorry to hear your brother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and that it is feeling very difficult to support him right now with your own health issues and caring for your husband. I can hear you are coping with a lot and I am glad you have got in touch with you saying you feel pushed beyond your limits right now. That sounds really understandable, and important we help you in knowing what support may be available to help you both through.

    I wonder, have you spoken with the current care team to let them know that you feel you need to take a step back in the support you have been giving to your brother for your own health SEEDEE -to see if additional support could be accessed through them at all?

    It also sounds like it could be useful for you to speak with both the GP and Local Adult Social Care Team:

    Whilst a patient is at home, the GP can assist in accessing additional medical, emotional, and practical support. For example, it is through the GP that someone would be connected with local Macmillan Nurses or support through the local palliative care team .The GP can also connect you with the local adult social care team who can explore additional practical support such as carer’s, equipment and modifications to support. It seems important also that the GP is made aware of the concerns you have around your brother struggling to eat at the moment so support with that can be explored too.

    You can contact the local adult social care team yourself SEEDEE, you would just find contact details for the local team here. They could discuss Carer’s support for yourself, as well as assess the needs your brother has and discuss any additional practical support available. If your brother has already had a needs assessment with them, through which he accessed his current carer’s and support plan, it’s important they are made aware of changes in level of need/circumstances.

    Are you in touch with any specific carer’s support at the moment SEEDEE? Such as Carer’s UK or The Carer’s Trust? Our Looking After Someone with Cancer booklet may also be a helpful resource at the moment at it talks through support available for your brother as well as you as a carer.

    I can hear you are being such great support to your husband and brother SEEDEE but this sounds an emotional and difficult time for you and I wonder who you have supporting you? Please know we are here on the Macmillan Support Line going forward if you need someone to talk to about how you are feeling, to ask any general questions, or to explore financial support available with you saying you have been paying for necessary supplies for your brother, or to discuss your rights at work. We are available on:0808 808 00 00 or web chat, 8am-8pm, 7 days a week.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please do just get back in touch if you have any questions or need further support.

    Take care,


    Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days
    a week, 8am-8pm) or by email. ‘