Caring for the Caregiver
A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event and brings many challenges for the patient and their loved ones. These changes range from the physical to the emotional as well as the practical challenges of day-to-day living.
Tips for the Caregiver
Tips for the Caregiver
Taking care of others shouldn’t mean you don’t take care of yourself. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your needs are met:
Ask for help
Sometimes the hardest thing to do during cancer treatment is to reach out and ask for help. You need support to remain strong and supportive in your caregiving role. When someone asks if there is anything they can do to help, they mean it. You are not only helping yourself by enlisting the help of others, you are also providing that person who offers help with a meaningful way to contribute to the care of the cancer patient. They may not be able to be there in the middle of the night, but by running to the pharmacy or another errand, it takes one thing off your plate so you can better care for your loved one.
Remember to be vigilant in your own health care needs. Eat a healthy diet, stay physically active, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of water. Yoga and meditation apps can be a great help to both the patient and the caregiver. Free health-screening events can be useful at this time. CentraState’s Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center provides a number of programs and screenings designed to support the wellness of the caregiver as they support the patient with cancer.
Join a support group
Support groups give you the knowledge that you are not the only one going through this challenging time. Members share their real-life experiences and offer practical solutions to the problems you may encounter. You can also make lifelong friendships in support groups that are meaningful and profound. CentraState’s cancer navigators can connect you with cancer support groups to help you through the stages of the cancer journey.
Connect with your community
There is a wealth of caregiver resources right in the community. Transportation, meal delivery or housekeeping services can be available for you to access to make your caregiving easier. For families with children, you may have the addition of caring for them as well as the patient with cancer. Parents, friends, neighbors and houses of worship are often helpful resources when juggling your caregiving responsibilities. CentraState’s cancer navigators can help you find resources available to meet your specific needs.
Set smaller goals
Caregiving can be exhausting and overwhelming. By breaking up a large job into smaller tasks, you set yourself up for a sense of accomplishment and validate your achievement.
Accept your own limitations
Nobody is perfect; it’s okay to feel guilty if you cannot do everything, all the time. Understand you are doing the best you can and making the right decision based on the information you have at that moment.
Stay connected socially
You will need the support of family and friends to sustain you in managing the tasks and problems that arise while coping with cancer. Take the time to stay connected to those who offer you the emotional connection you need.