Background: Informal carers have an important role in society through their care and support of their long-term ill relatives. Providing informal care is challenging and can lead to caregiver burden; moreover, many support needs of the carers are not met, leading to confusion, disappointment and frustration. We conducted an interview study to clarify the meaning of support given and received by informal carers to relatives with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or chronic heart failure. Methods: We purposively selected and recruited informants via participants in another study, thereby conducting interviews over the phone from June 2016 to May 2017. In total, we conducted 14 interviews with 12 informants. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and the content was analysed using a phenomenological hermeneutical approach. Result and conclusion: Our comprehensive understanding of the meaning of support for these carers is twofold: it is a self-evident struggle for the good life of their relatives and that they want to be carers in partnership. The healthcare system must recognize the efforts of carers and include them in the strategic planning and operational stages of care and treatment for people with long-term illness.