Skip navigation and jump to content
Welcome to Ireland's Youth Information Website
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Snapchat

Accessibility Options

High Contrast Text Size

Caring for a sick parent

A positive attitude can go a long way.

Written by Anonymous and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"I had already lost one parent to that affliction; I couldn’t believe that my other parent was battling with it"

Share this article -

It is a strange day when you look at your parent and realise that you must now look after them, that you must now be the one in charge, the grown up.

My mother has always been my rock. My father died when I was nineteen and she got through that with the help of great family and friends. It was a real blow to her as my parents were actually deeply in love with one another. However, even when she was going through that hell she was still always there. In fact, it made us even closer. There was, and is, really nothing I wouldn’t tell my mother. Wherever in the world I was living I could always count on her. I shared my triumphs, my joys, my worries, my everything with her…

Then she was diagnosed with cancer. To say it was earth shattering was an understatement. I had already lost one parent to that affliction; I couldn’t believe that my other parent was battling with it. For a variety of reasons, I ended up moving back home to be with my mother. She never asked me to of course, and worried what it would do to my life. But I knew that it was time for me to be there. She is not the type of person who would ever ask, but all of my siblings couldn’t do it for various reasons.

So I moved back home. That in itself was quite the adjustment. However, as I watched my mother lying in a hospital bed and talking only in monosyllabic tones I quickly realised I had to get with it! I could stress and worry about it all or take it day by day and do what needed to be done. So I kept the house clean and secure while she was in hospital; I fed and minded the cat, took phone messages and tried to visit her daily. When she came out, I helped her readjust to being back at home, made her nourishing meals, kept her company in the evenings when she was tired and offered all the moral support I could.

She is now very well and my life has changed beyond recognition. I still nag her about looking after herself and tease her that her daughter is now the bossy, nagging one and she is the naughty child, but besides that our roles have gone back to what they were before. I do worry about her health, but not to the same extent as I once did. There are some nights I wake up in a panic, thinking about it coming back, but all I can do is live one day at a time.

Life can take us on some journeys, but we can survive them. It’s an annoying cliché sure, but if you keep a positive attitude you will be okay. Even if the worst happens you will survive. There will be hard times, but you can move through them. I did. I know you can too. There are some great support groups available for carers.

Information on your rights and entitlements can also be found at the Carers Association website here.

Share this article -

Published Jan­u­ary 28th2013
Tags family young carer
Can this be improved? Contact if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

Request to speak with a youth worker in your area over the phone, by email or text. They may be able to assist you by providing further information specific to your needs.

Youth Work Ireland - Crosscare - YMCA

Contact via: Phone E-mail Text
By clicking submit you agree to our terms and conditions. ​Please note that this service is run by Youth Work Ireland and Crosscare​.​ E​nquiries are not handled by directly.
Jump to related articles
Was this article helpful?

Having a tough time and need to talk?
Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to chat anonymously with a trained volunteer

Standard text rates may apply*