Who to talk to
If you are under the age of 18 and providing care to a terminally ill relative then you are a ‘young carer’. If you are between the age of 18 and 25 then you are a ‘young adult carer’. Both young carers and adult young carers take on practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
You are very likely to have a number of worries as a young carer or young adult carer looking after a family member approaching end of life, which are perfectly normal and it is important that you are able to talk to someone about these:
- What has caused the illness, was it my fault and can I catch it?
- Why has it happened to us?
- What can I do to make him/her feel more able to deal with the illness?
- How will the illness get worse and when will he/she die?
- Who will look after me?
- If I tell anyone will I go into care?
- What do we do for money?
- What do I do in an emergency if no one else is around to care for them?
- How do I cope with how I feel and my own emotions?
Talk, talk, talk! Talking to someone such as another family member, your favourite teacher or a best friend is really important. You may feel this is risky and makes you different from the rest of your peer group but risks invariably pay off. Think about who you most trust and write down what you want to say as this can really help organise your thoughts and feelings.
Also, pick your time and place. Think about when might be the best time for you to talk and where you will feel most comfortable. You also need to be clear about what outcome you want to achieve from talking to a trusted person. Is it emotional support you are seeking, practical support, or both? Do you just want to be listened to?