What defines a caregiver?
If you are helping a family member or friend through cancer treatment, you are a caregiver. Caregivers work hard to enable their loved ones to live as independently as possible whilst maintaining the highest quality of life. This may involve helping with daily activities, coordinating services and care, or simply giving emotional support. On the day of the Cancer Reaserch Fun Run or Walk event – Kodi’s Pawathon will promote caregiving to increase awareness and share information.
However, the role of caring for a cancer patient can come with its own set of challenges and may require time and understanding to adjust to the necessities of this role. Being an effective caregiver requires learning strategies for planning and problem-solving as well as taking care of yourself. In this short article, we’ve provided some important tips for caring for a loved one with cancer.
Learn as much about your loved one’s medical condition including their cancer type, treatment options and potential side effects. Research or ask their doctor for educational materials and supportive resources. This understanding may help you feel more confident in what to expect during treatment, the side effects that could result, and how to assist with treatment decisions.
Maintain a record of your loved one’s medical history, test results and medications. Write down appointments and physician contact information for easy access. Plan your days by assigning priorities and realistic goals for what you want to achieve. Create a list of daily responsibilities, prioritising the most important tasks first.
Find a Cancer Team You Trust
Seek doctors that have experience in your loved one’s form of cancer and who can work as a team to provide individualised care. Choose doctors that you and your loved one are confident and comfortable with in managing their treatments.
Many caregivers make the mistake of carrying the weight of the whole situation alone. Take an objective look at what you can and cannot do so that you can turn over or share tasks with other people. Caregivers that take on too much by themselves are at risk of caregiver burnout which may result in illness, increased anxiety, depression, resentment, fatigue, and stress. By accepting help from others, you allow yourself more time to take care of yourself and stay healthier. On the day of the Cancer Reaserch Fun Run or Walk event – Kodi’s Pawathon will have caregivers for anyone to ask questions about their experience.
Take Care of Yourself
Oftentimes, caregivers put their loved one’s needs first and push aside their own. This can be physically and emotionally draining for many caregivers in which they can experience detrimental effects to their physical and mental health. It is extremely important that caregivers take time to recharge themselves in mind, body, and spirit to not only become better caregivers but also to give themselves strength to carry on.
Join a Support Group
Support groups are a great way to gain insights into your experiences, gather ideas on how to cope, and a reminder to yourself that you’re not alone. A support group can be held in person, online or by phone and allows you to hear other people’s stories, feelings, and to trade advice to try and help those who are dealing with similar issues. It provides an emotional support network that allows you to talk to others about what you’re going through which is especially helpful when you feel overwhelmed. On the day of the Cancer Reaserch Fun Run or Walk event – Kodi’s Pawathon will promote various support groups and share information related to this.
In spite of all the hardships that comes with being a caregiver, taking care of someone you love can be very rewarding. Caregiving can strengthen the bond between you and your loved one by bringing you much closer. It can also teach you valuable traits through the journey such as forgiveness, compassion, strength, and courage.