Top Tips for Cancer Caregivers
Cancer can be overwhelming. It affects not only the person diagnosed but also those providing them with physical and emotional support. Whether you’re a spouse, partner, family member or close friend, giving care to a loved one with cancer requires patience, flexibility, and courage.
When it comes to a cancer, knowledge truly is power for caregivers. There’s no better way to understand your loved one’s diagnosis, treatment, and progress than by taking an active role during their regularly scheduled clinic visits. It’s also beneficial to take advantage of local caregiver support groups and credible websites for resources and support. Being armed with knowledge can help you better accommodate your loved one’s needs, and put you at ease knowing what to expect.
The day-to-day life of a caregiver is often quite stressful. Trying to keep track of appointments, medicines, etc. can be difficult, so it’s a good idea to use a journal, notebook, or a calendar to help keep things organized. You could also set up a list of things that close family and friends can sign up to do weekly to pitch in. And if you find you’re spending a great deal of time on the phone updating friends and family members on your loved one’s progress, it may be helpful to designate a close family member or friend to help keep everyone informed.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that comes with being a caregiver, but it’s important that you remember to take care of yourself. Whether you spend your free time getting exercise, meditating or listening to music, mini breaks are an easy way to replenish energy and lower your stress levels. Be sure to remember to get plenty of rest and proper nutrition, and tend to any ailments of your own that arise – this includes scheduling regular checkups and screenings. And although staying positive is beneficial for your loved one, it’s important that you allow yourself to feel emotions about your loved one’s situation – confide in a friend or counselor to provide insight and support.