Taking Care of a Loved One

If you are caring for a loved one with a serious illness, you should understand that help is available. Caregiving for a loved one with a serious illness can be hard and draining. You may not know what to expect or do, but there are resources available.


Consider the following when you create a care plan:

  • Learn as much as you can about your loved one's illness, including the prognosis, to better understand their needs and feel more in control.
  • Always know the names and contact details of your loved one's support care team so you can reach out when you have questions.
  • Spend quality time with your loved one doing activities you both enjoy, share stories, and talk about their dreams and aspirations.
  • Understand your loved one's wishes and plan to live well.
  • Decide what extra care is needed if you are taking care of a sick child.
  • Think about how and what to communicate with family.
  • Talk to your employer about your situation and see if they offer fewer hours or flexible schedules, or you may wish to take a temporary leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you are eligible.

Caring for Yourself

Caring for a loved one with a serious illness is difficult and stressful. Remember to take care of your own health.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask for help. Accept assistance from friends, family, and your local community if they offer it.
  • Take a break daily. Relax with a book, take a walk, or meditate.
  • Take care of yourself. Get checkups, sleep, exercise, and eat well.