The carer suffers too

When a business owner is diagnosed with a critical illness, it’s not just the patient who suffers. The carer has the double anxiety of fearing they might actually lose someone they’re close to, while also trying to stop the patient worrying about their business. Carers often try to protect their patients by internalising these thoughts. It is highly recommended you get ongoing counselling so you don’t feel you’re carrying the full emotional load by yourself.

Support services include:

For urgent counselling ring Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Little things make a big difference

Little practical things can do a lot to relieve the load on you as a carer. A common cause of stress is the phone constantly ringing as people are genuinely concerned about the patient. Relieve this stress by signing up to a messaging service which can be regularly updated. An ‘out of office’ reply on your email address will also automate written answers to people wanting news.

Prepare yourself for changes

It’s common for patients recovering from an illness to have a changed outlook on life simply because they have been so close to death. This is often expressed in the feeling they want to do everything they ever wanted as soon as possible. It’s a normal reaction to a serious illness and you need to be understanding, especially if your patient wants to make radical changes to their business direction.

Steps to care for business owner with a critical illness

Ways to look after the business:

  • Use the Small Business Mentoring Service to investigate working with a mentor who can help you with your roles in the patient’s business and as the patient’s carer.
  • If the person you’ll be caring for is your spouse or life partner, make sure that both of you have updated your wills, if necessary, to make allowance for this changed relationship.
  • If you’ve agreed to do some managing as well as caring, organise meetings with people who will be affected by this e.g. business partners, bank managers, and customers or clients.