'Who looks after me when I'm ill?'

25th October 2016

Being ill is never fun, but it can be especially miserable when you’re on your own. Recently, I [Catherine] found myself bleary-eyed and sweating in my pyjamas on the bus to a drop-in clinic – I felt pretty sorry for myself! But that was just a nasty infection – it’s a whole other matter if you have a serious illness, such as cancer, and have to cope without the help and support of a partner or family. And sadly, many people feel their churches let them down just when they need them most.

The same is true for carers. Single people often find themselves becoming the sole caregivers for parents, other family members and children with long-term health problems. I’ve had a taste of it myself. In my 20s, I cared for my mum for five years until she died from cancer. I now find myself trying to care for and support a number of relatives who have no one else looking out for them. While we may take the task on willingly, it can still leave us feeling permanently exhausted and stressed – and often invisible to others.

Despite having some experience of these situations myself, I was still dismayed by many of the stories that single Christians shared with us about living with illness or caring for others. For some, their churches have been hugely supportive and helpful. For others, the stories of neglect and cruelty moved me to tears.

So this month, we’re publishing several new articles on the topic of illness. If you’re single and struggling with sickness, you can find advice from other single Christians here, while we have tips for carers here .

 We also have two articles for church leaders, who can make a massive difference to the experiences of both sick people and caregivers in their congregations. Please visit here to learn what single Christians say helps them during times of illness, and here to hear what single Christian carers find helpful.