National Family Caregiver’s Month helps recognize the more than 60 million Americans who serve as caregivers to family, friends and neighbors going through cancer. Comprehensive Cancer Centers is honored to celebrate this month and recognize all the caregivers who love and support our patients.
Those with cancer rely heavily on the support of caregivers for researching treatment options, serving as patient advocates during appointments and treatments, as well as being there to just listen. While those in the caregiver role make their loved one battling cancer the priority, it is important for them to take care of themselves as well. Caregiving can have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver. The selfless act and effort can often make maintaining physical and mental health difficult and may put a strain on work and social life.
Caregiver Action Network is the organization that chooses the theme for National Family Caregivers Month annually and spearheads the celebration. Each year, Caregiver Action Network makes materials available for general use, including the theme, a media kit, posters, sample proclamations, etc.
Caregiver Action Network (the National Family Caregivers Association) began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994. President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregivers Month Presidential Proclamation in 1997 and every president since has followed suit by issuing an annual proclamation recognizing and honoring family caregivers each November.
The organization helps caregivers by providing specific guidance and resources for caregivers, based on the following priorities:
- Raising awareness of family caregiver issues
- Celebrating the efforts of family caregivers
- Educating family caregivers about self-identification
- Increasing support for family caregivers
The team at Comprehensive Cancer, following these priorities, offers the following recommendations to help make caregiving more manageable:
- Get Educated – Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s cancer diagnosis, including treatment methods available, side effects of cancer treatments, the physician treating your loved one, and clinical research options, if necessary. There are great resources online including the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society.
- Every Day is Different – One day you could be assisting your loved one during a visit with the medical oncologist, the next you could be learning about radiation oncology. You may find yourself running errands or helping to make sure a loved one is eating enough calories to stay healthy. You will have many roles and responsibilities during the journey, so give yourself credit for helping and make allowances that perfection is not expected from you. Adapt and do the best you can.
- Get Help – You don’t have to do everything by yourself so don’t hesitate to ask family members or friends to help you out. Care and treatment takes a full team, like the staff, nurses and physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, expecting you to do it all, and by yourself, is neither realistic nor expected.
- Self Care – In addition to finding help from others, be sure to take care of yourself by eating well, getting good rest and taking mental health breaks. As much as you may be driven to sacrifice, by putting your own needs aside entirely you’re not going to be able to do the best job possible for your friend or family member with cancer.
- Stay Optimistic – Cancer is one of the greatest challenges anyone will ever face, but it’s also important to remain positive and optimistic with the understanding that great care is available and people beat all kinds of cancers all the time. A happy and optimistic mind and soul make for a happy and healthy body – both the patient and yours.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and world-class clinical research and immunotherapy. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content in 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.