Caregivers are individuals who provide care to chronically or disabled family members or friends. The role of caregivers is expected to increase as the population ages; however, the number of individuals available for caregiving will diminish.  Helping someone go through a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery requires understanding, encouragement, patience and energy. Caregivers become part advocate, nurse, organizer and financial analyst in addition to maintaining their other responsibilities. Caring for someone with a life-threatening disease can be emotionally & physically draining and often times caregivers neglect to take care of themselves. Caregiver burn-out can occur even when caring for a dearest loved one. For this reason, you are encouraged to:

  • Take control of your life. You must remember to continue to live your life and not allow it to completely revolve around your loved one’s illness.
  • Remember to take care of and be kind to yourself. The job you are performing is difficult and can be taxing. Take time to yourself and do something that you enjoy. 
  • Be aware of how you are feeling emotionally. Depression is common for individuals in your position, and you should seek professional help immediately if you exhibit any symptoms of depression.
  • Accept assistance from others when offered and make specific suggestions as to what they can do. Do not do it all alone if there are offers to help.
  • Get educated. The more you know about your loved one’s condition, the more empowered you will feel.
  • Support your loved one’s independence. Caring for somebody does not necessarily entail doing everything for them, and they will feel better if they have some independence.
  • Allow yourself to grieve.
  • Seek support from other caregivers and obtain strength and comfort in the understanding of others in similar situations. You are not alone.

Below is a link to the Cancer.Net website which offers information and tips to those individuals providing emotional and physical care to those living with cancer.