Thank you, Cancer Caregivers
Comprehensive Cancer Centers celebrates and recognizes those who have been devoted to taking care of a family member or friend with cancer. The care needed for someone with cancer is not one size fits all, and every situation is completely different than another. With that in mind, there are some commonalities in providing care that are applicable to those providing care. Similarities are primary found in the fact that people giving care deserve to be cared for as well, both by others as well as by themselves.
November is National Family Caregivers Month, and it offers a great opportunity for caregivers, or those who know them, to discover ways they can care for themselves. This includes more formal activities, such as attending conferences and workshops to learn more skills, and through more informal paths that can help to ensure their mental and physical well-being.
Watching a parent age, or seeing someone change drastically due to illness, can be difficult for anyone. Those situations can often lead to a lack of time or attention necessary to monitor your own wellbeing. If you are not sleeping well, exercising, or feel yourself becoming reclusive or depressed, speak to a professional counselor. These feelings can affect anyone at any time and there’s no shame in feeling overwhelmed by the feelings. The key is to find ways to take and maintain control.
A great way to find some control is through resources shared by the Administration for Community Living, the administrator of National Family Caregivers Month. The organization’s vital information helps caregivers cope during this challenging time. Their website provides tips for caregivers to help them take care of their own health, learn how to accept offers of help, develop skills to speak effectively with physician, and take advantage of technology to make their days a little easier.
Some other ways for cancer caregivers to improve their efforts, for both care of their loved one, as well as themselves, can be found in the following tips:
Why Caregiving Cancer is Challenging
To get stared, it’s helpful for caregivers to recognize their own struggles, not at the expense of the person they’re taking care of, but to justify their own feelings to find ways to address them. Know what you’re doing is difficult and there will be days that are much harder than others. This is normal and ok.
One of out of every four caregivers report diminished family relationships due to caregiving. This extends beyond marital relationships, and can include relationships with children, relatives and close friends. The work can take a toll and communication is key. Say what is on your mind. Some feathers may be ruffled, at times, but caregivers are respected and appreciated far more than they realize. When they speak up, even if what’s said is hard to hear, it is listened to and appreciated.
The Struggle is Real and Multifaceted
Most cancer caregivers also work outside the home in either part or full-time roles, in addition to their caregiving responsibilities, which can feel like another full-time job. It’s ok to feel tired and exhausted. Providing caregiving, while in not the most chipper of moods is normal. Allow yourself some grace to be tired, exhausted and frustrated.
The Role of Children
Caring for someone with cancer is not just for adults. More than a million American young people, aged eight to 18, are caring for an adult relative on a daily basis. With school, friends and everything else growing up in life, adding cancer care is a tough task. If you are a young person doing work, feel good about it, but also let yourself know that what you’re doing is tough and can be frustrating. Lean on friends and family to keep yourself in good spirits.
Nearly 70% of caregivers have reported they don’t see their own doctor regularly because of their cancer care responsibilities. Make sure to keep your own health in good shape by setting up appointments for yourself. You can do this by making them a few weeks or months in advance to give yourself time to account for everything you need to schedule.
Give it a Rest
It may seem tough to get done, but one of the best things a cancer caregiver can do for themselves is take a nap. Taking care of someone all the time is tough, but when the person under your care rests, do the same. Make sure to get rest whenever you can. If someone is driving you somewhere, close your eyes and relax. Find every moment you can to catch up and make the most of it.
Caring for someone with cancer is one of the greatest responsibilities anyone will ever face, but it’s important to remain positive and optimistic. Cancer care, as provided by the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, helps people even in the toughest situations survive and thrive. Trust that there is a path to better days ahead for the person under your care.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with cancer including access to clinical research. The team at Comprehensive is always open to helping caregivers during appointments. Just ask. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.