Being a Cancer Caregiver
When a person you love gets a cancer diagnosis, your world is turned upside down. You may feel shell-shocked, unsure of what to do, or even angry and frightened. It can be challenging to be a caregiver at this time.
Caring for someone with cancer is so much more than just helping someone through occasional bouts of nausea or pain. It is often about helping a friend or family member maintain their quality of life in spite of cancer.
Caregivers Need Care Too
Being a caregiver to a loved one might entail physical help and emotional help. It could mean arranging transportation to the doctor, helping your loved one cope with anxiety or depression, or helping that person meet their daily responsibilities. It can involve long days and even longer nights.
Caregivers face challenges that are both similar and different from the person with cancer. Both feel stress, anxiety, and fear. But, it is important to remember that as a caregiver, you are there to provide support- emotional and practical, to the cancer patient.
Many caregivers, whether they are close friends or family members, devote all of their time to caregiving. A loved one’s cancer can be all-consuming. Tending to someone else’s needs can be exhausting and invoke feelings of depression and resentment. One of the greatest challenges of being a caregiver is knowing when you need help as well.
The following information might help you understand what to expect during your time as a caregiver, how to provide meaningful help, and ways to ensure you tend to your own health.
What Are Some Important Things Caregivers Do For Friends or Family With Cancer?
Caregiving is hard work. It can involve heavy lifting, household chores, and a lot of emotions. Caregivers should know what they are getting into when they enter the caregiver role. You will be asked to provide physical support and emotional support. You might even have to act like a social worker, a medical professional, a friend, and an insurance agent, depending on the day.
Caregivers often feel like they are a rollercoaster. To help manage your expectations and understand what might lie ahead, here are some things you can expect to do when you become a caregiver to someone with cancer.
Help The Person With Cancer Manage Symptoms
This can include helping them try various ways to take care of side effects like nausea, pain, intestinal distress, or exhaustion that can result from treatment. You may find yourself encouraging them to eat or drink certain things, take medications, or try holistic remedies to ease their symptoms. You may also have to enlist the help of their doctor if symptoms and side effects become debilitating.
Help the Person With Cancer Manage Emotions
Providing emotional support is a critical part of being a caregiver. When a loved one or friend is fighting cancer, you can expect them to feel a whirlwind of emotions. Anger, anxiety, fear, depression, hopelessness, and stress are very common feelings of cancer patients. Cancer treatment can fuel these negative emotions because of the physical side effects they produce.
Caregivers also help by offering emotional support. This can mean listening patiently, encouraging honest conversation, or recommending support groups. It is important to let your friend vent all of the thoughts and feelings they have about their health, concerns about their family member, or anxiety about what lies ahead. Reassure them their feelings are normal.
Help Your Loved One With Cancer Maintain Quality of Life
Often, cancer treatments interfere with the person’s ability to carry out their normal daily activities. You may have to help the person you love arrange transportation for themselves or their children. You might have to help or find someone to help around the house with cleaning or childcare. You might even have to cook or create a meal train to allow the family and cancer patient to feel somewhat normal.
Caregivers Must Remember to Tend to Themselves
Being a caregiver to a person with cancer is stressful. You can only be useful to your friend or loved one with cancer if you are ok yourself.
It is important that you take time for yourself. Take some time each day to do something you enjoy. Take breaks from your caregiving duties to do something to clear your head and give you a chance to decompress. It can be hard to see someone you love suffering. You are probably also feeling sad, angry, and more.
Find your own support group if you can and get help with caregiving. Enlist the help of other friends and family members, and people in the community who can lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed.
Sending Someone a Cancer Gift Basket From Rock the Treatment is a Great Way to Show You Care
Rock the Treatment has cancer gift boxes that contain items that provide a welcome relief from the emotional and physical side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
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.