Information for family and friends
It can be upsetting when someone you love has fatigue, with no energy to do much. But there are lots of ways you can support them, which can help them cope better with the fatigue.
- You may be able to help them cope emotionally, by talking about their feelings and worries, and being there for them. Read more about the link between fatigue and anxiety and depression.
- You can help your family member arrange a specific time each day when they will rest, so that everyone else knows not to disturb them.
- You can help with household chores, such as cleaning, shopping and gardening. This will mean your family member can save their energy for more important things, such as activities they enjoy or spending time with you. You could also arrange for other family and friends to help out.
- You could take on responsibility for organising daily life – for example, paying bills, arranging to see friends and family, letting people know how they are, and organising medical appointments.
- The fatigue may mean that it isn’t safe for them to drive, so you could do the driving. Be aware that if you are doing a lot of caring for your loved one, you might also be very tired – which may mean it’s not safe for you to drive. You might want to ask other family and friends to help with driving.
- You could talk to medical professionals for them, and make notes of what is said to help them remember.
You may take on some caring responsibilities. This might include helping your family member take medicines, cooking for them, or helping them wash and dress.
- You may also need to organise professional care.
- If they have children, you could help care for them.
It might be difficult for your family member to accept help, and they may worry about losing their independence. Talk to them about how you can help – let them know that you want to help out, and ask what tasks would be particularly helpful.
Getting support for you
Supporting or caring for someone with cancer can be physically and emotionally exhausting for you too. So it’s important that you get support for yourself as well.
You can speak to your family member’s medical team. They will be able to provide you both with emotional support.