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. Both the cancer treatments and their side effects can be difficult for the patients themselves and their loved ones, and it’s possible to feel overwhelmed at times.
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. Figure out which tasks you will do on your own, and which you might need help with.
There are a variety of things you can do to set yourself up for success, such as:
- Build your support system. Talk to 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.
- Look into respite care services in your area. Respite care services, like those provided by professional home care agencies such as Best Senior Home Care, provide you with a fully trained, compassionate caregiver who can spend time with and care for your loved one while you run errands or take some personal time away. He or she can help with feeding, bathing, transportation to and from treatments, or other daily routines as necessary.
- If you feel worried or overwhelmed, talk to a mental health professional or find a support group in your area. Caregiving can sometimes result in feelings of isolation or loneliness. Speaking with a counselor or oncology social worker can help you cope with your 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 50 or more employees and have worked there for at least one year, you are probably allowed 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.
Becoming a caregiver to a loved one who has cancer is a wonderful and selfless act, but it is important to remember to take care of yourself in the process. Best Senior Home Care’s compassionate and fully trained caregiving staff understand the unique challenges that cancer caregivers face. We can work with you to develop strategies for better managing whatever emotional or practical challenges you may go through. Contact us at 718-224-0905 to learn more about our in-home care services.