Award-winning carer Lisa Ashford-Potter said it was important carers were never afraid to seek help from others.
"Sometimes there are people just waiting in the wings to be asked to help," Ms Ashford-Potter said.
"That's why you should never be afraid to ask.
"Sometimes people don't want to intrude - they think they will make you feel bad. So that's why it is good for you to ask . . . you need that good support system around you."
Today the Woonona mum will be at Parliament House in Sydney where she has been highly commended in the NSW Carer of the Year awards.
This week is Carer's Week, held to highlight the efforts of an estimated 850,000 carers in NSW, and this year's theme is "Be care aware".
Ms Ashford-Potter has been recognised for a number of reasons, including her ongoing care for her son Brenton, 21, who has Down syndrome and severe verbal dyspraxia, and the work they do promoting disability awareness throughout the community.
On top of that Ms Ashford-Potter has been recognised for her work caring for her father and other family members who have suffered from cancer.
"We have had a lot of cancer in the family. Six of my dad's siblings - out of seven - have died from cancer," she said.
Ms Ashford-Potter said a good carer was someone who had passion and wanted the person they were caring for to achieve the best they could in their life, and such was the case with Brenton.
In other cases, such as her father Tom Potter, it was about ensuring wishes were granted.
"He wanted to die at home and that meant caring for him at home ... it was good to be able to fulfil his wish."
Ms Ashford-Potter said being a carer could come at a cost.
"I did burn out when Brenton was about six. It is not something I am ashamed of because it does happen," she said.
"I learned through that, you need to take care of yourself not push yourself, and take time for yourself as well ... I've been fortunate I had family around to provide that support."
She said the pressure had accumulated over a number of years.
"When Brenton was four months old he underwent open-heart surgery. Instead of being a routine couple days Brenton was in for 16 days. His lungs collapsed and they didn't expect him to live.
"My marriage had just broken up the month before.
"During that time my dad sat by Brenton's bedside for 16 days and wouldn't leave.
"My father died on New Year's Day 2010 and I am dedicating this award to him."