Cancer Caregivers Need Support
Being a caregiver to a family member with cancer can be very rewarding, but it is not always easy. Watching someone you love suffer from the side effects of treatments can make you feel helpless and sad. Helping as your loved one loses the ability to take care of the family can cause a wide range of emotions. Having tough conversations about life’s realities and the risk of death can be depressing and stressful.
As a caregiver, you might experience all of these emotions but think that none of them compare to what your loved one is experiencing as the actual cancer patient. You are certainly experiencing different things, but your feelings are valid and important. After all, if you are lending physical and emotional support to someone, you must love them. You may feel embarrassed to admit it, but their cancer is hard on you too.
Where do you get your support? Who is there for you when you need it? Unfortunately, many men and women fail to seek or accept help when caring for a family member with cancer.
However, caregivers must have someone to lean on so they can provide the best care possible.
Cancer Caregivers: Ease Your Burden With These Tips
Here are some tips for caregivers that can go a long way toward maintaining physical and emotional health:
- Get support from other caregivers-either in our outside your family. Ask for help!
- Take care of your health-you can’t take care of someone else if you are sick. Don’t ignore your own signs of illness or other health care needs.
- Exercise and eat right-these will help you maintain your physical and mental health
- Accept offers of help-don’t be reluctant to say “ok” when someone offers help. Whenever possible, ask people to do or help with specific tasks such as going to the store, cooking a meal, or running an errand.
- Learn how to speak to medical professionals-find out as much as you can about your loved one’s illness and treatments. Ask pointed, specific questions, and realize the answers might not always be what you want to hear. Write things down and be prepared for appointments.
- Organize medical information (and insurance information) so documents are easy to locate, current, and accessible.
- Be on alert for signs of depression-caregivers often become depressed, especially when helping someone with a long-term illness. A depressed caregiver can become ineffective. Seek help at the first sign of depression.
- Take breaks-breaks are crucial. Time to yourself is necessary to maintain a clear head, avoid burn-out, and dissolve the build-up of resentment.
- Organize legal and other important documents-this might include documents found in an end-of-life-plan such as health proxy, DNR, or living will. There might be letters to family members or deeds to property. You will want access to these documents should they become necessary.
- Finally – give yourself credit from time to time-you deserve it. Your job is hard, even if you love doing it. You are human, though, which means you will have moments of guilt, anger, exhaustion, and more. Give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can.
Remember these ten thoughts. They may help you get through this – and enable you to be more helpful to the one you care for.
Rock the Treatment’s Cancer Gift Boxes
If someone you love has cancer, send them a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.