When someone you love has cancer, it’s natural to want to drop everything and help that person, but taking on the role of a caregiver is not without challenges. Cancer treatments and the resulting side effects can be especially difficult for both the patients themselves and their loved ones, and sometimes caregivers may feel overwhelmed.
As a caregiver, knowing and accepting your own limits is crucial, and reaching your limits does not mean that you have failed. Keep in mind too that enlisting the help of a support system is part of taking care of your loved one and yourself. Decide which tasks you will do on your own, and which you will need help with.
These caregiving tips can help ensure success for both yourself and your loved one:
- Build your support system. Share your concerns with friends, family members, members of your faith community, neighbors, coworkers, etc. and find out who you can go to when you need assistance with your loved one’s care. Often people are happy to help; they just need to be asked.
- Research available respite care services in your area. Respite care services, like those provided by Hillendale Home Care, can provide a professional caregiver who can spend time with and care for the senior, allowing some much needed personal time away. He or she can provide assistance with meals, bathing, transportation to and from treatments, and other daily tasks as necessary.
- When feelings of worry arise, talk to a mental health professional or join a support group. Caregivers often feel isolated or lonely. Talking things over with a professional counselor or social worker can help ease worries. Also, joining a caregiver support group can help you connect with others who are experiencing similar situations and provide a safe place to express your feelings and receive support.
- Know your rights. If you work for a company with at least 50 employees, and have worked there for at least one year, look into the option of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide care for your loved one. Ask your company’s human resources department for help.
Providing care for a loved one who has cancer is an incredibly selfless act, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself in the process. Hillendale Home Care’s professionally trained caregiving staff understands the unique challenges that cancer caregivers face. We can work with you one-on-one to come up with strategies for coping with whatever emotional or practical challenges you may be facing. For further resources on cancer care, click here.