Cancer Caregiver Tips
Caring for someone with cancer is a stressful job. While doctors handle the cancer treatment, caregivers often manage their patients’ everyday needs — transportation, food, recreation, medications and visits with friends. All the while caregivers must deal with feelings of helplessness and frustration as they watch their loved ones fight battles in which they cannot help. Many people feel guilty if they focus any attention on themselves.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, studies have consistently reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their non-caregiving peers. Cancer Caregiver Tips
But caregivers can learn to manage their stress. For example, talking with a trusted friend or counselor can help caregivers reduce stress, feel less helpless and understand how to respond to their loved ones. Cancer Caregiver Tips
Many of the same methods that help caregivers can apply to anyone facing a stressful situation. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offers the following tips:
- Find a treatment center that will help. CTCA’s mind-body medicine team work closely with both patients and caregivers to listen and provide support. CTCA also helps ease stress by coordinating appointments, providing transportation and scheduling travel arrangements and hotel accommodations.
- Ask for and accept help. If another family member is willing to help out, let them ease your burden. Depending on the source of your stress, you should also seek out additional community resources. For example, cancer caregivers can find support groups for both themselves and patients.
- Know your limits. Determine what you can and can’t handle, based on your responsibilities to your family and professional life. If adding another obligation is too much, either say, “No” or find someone with whom to split duties.
- Take care of yourself. Sufficient sleep will help you manage challenges more easily. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Start exercising — regular activity can help reduce irritability, fatigue and overall stress levels.
- Make time for yourself. Relaxing or doing something that you enjoy — even for a few minutes — can go a long way towards lifting your mood. Caregivers should set aside at least five minutes a day to meditate or simply be still and relax.
Provided by: CRC Cancer Caregiver Tips
About the Author
As Senior.com Director of Sales and Marketing, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well. Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor. Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and she was a primary caregiver. Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 104-year-old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor. She is happily married to her husband of 24 years and they have 3 children.View All Articles