Looking after someone with a lung condition

Who is a carer?

If someone close to you has a lung condition and needs support, it’s only natural to want to help them.

You might offer that support without thinking of yourself as a ‘carer’. Many people feel they are just doing what anyone else would do in the same situation: looking after their parent, partner, child or best friend, for example, and just getting on with it.

Enjoying tea at home

If you look after someone who could not manage without your support, and you don’t get paid for it, you are a ‘carer’. And you have rights.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care for a friend or loved one who wouldn’t be able to manage without this support. This could be due to illness, disability or other health problems.

Anyone can become a carer. Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be any age. There is no minimum amount of time you have to spend every day or every week looking after someone.

What does a carer do?

There are many reasons why someone might need the support of a carer. So there are lots of different roles a carer might fulfil, and a range of day-to-day tasks they might help with. These may include:

  • Practical jobs around the house – cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing, making the beds.
  • Help with admin and finances – reading or writing letters, paying bills, financial management.
  • Emotional support – lending a friendly ear, offering advice.
  • Personal care – helping with washing and dressing, medication, getting in and out of bed.

“Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it. If they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?” Carers Trust

I am a carer – what happens now?

Your role in looking after your loved one, and your relationship with them, do not have to change.

As a carer, there is support for you if you need it. You may feel your caring duties are manageable, or you may be unsure whether you need additional support. Ask yourself questions like:

  •  Is your caring role affecting your health?
  • Are you worried you may have to give up work?
  • Do you get enough time to yourself?

If your answers suggest you could do with some support, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP about your situation and your health. You can also call our helpline on 03000 030 555 to find out how to get support as a carer and what’s available.

“Many people assume that as a spouse or partner, they have an obligation to be a carer. But this is not the case; help may be available to you or your partner from the government.” Biddy, BLF Helpline  

Next: Practical tips >

Download our looking after someone with a lung condition PDF (322KB)

Last medically reviewed: November 2015. Due for review: November 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.