Find resources to help you take care of yourself and manage your loved one’s care as well.
When you’re caring for a loved one who has cancer, it’s easy to set your own needs aside. No matter how stressed out you may be about a family member’s illness, he or she is the one who has to fight the disease.
You can’t put your own life on hold, however, to care for someone else. You’ll still have your mental health to consider. You may also need to think about your children, your work or your household to-do list, as well as manage your loved one’s medical appointments and care.
We have put together some tips and resources we hope will help caregivers of cancer patients cope with this stressful time in their lives.
- Accept help. People want to help out. The National Family Caregivers Association suggests ways that you can pinpoint what tasks you need help with so you can take people up on their offers.
- Watch yourself for signs of depression. If you notice you are feeling depressed, talk to your doctor.
- Educate yourself. You’ll need to understand your loved one’s diagnosis and how to navigate insurance and medical communities so you can make sure nothing gets overlooked.
- Brush up your communication skills. Communication is crucial, not just between you and the medical community, but also between you and the patient. The American Cancer Society suggests ways to communicate effectively with all parties.
- Remember yourself. Find ways to treat yourself, make time for your friends and schedule time to exercise and rest, the National Cancer Institute says.
- Get organized. The American Cancer Society offers tips for managing medicines and medical records here.
One of the most effective ways caregivers can help themselves is by talking to others who know what they are experiencing. Our caregiver support group is a wonderful resource. We meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month at the Cancer Center Conference Room, 20950 NE 27th Ct., Aventura. Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center also offers many other signature American Cancer Society programs. Call 305-682-2151 for more information.