Caring For The Caregiver: Make Sure You're Okay Too

Caring for someone with cancer can be a monumental task. Many times, caregivers devote all of their time and energy to caring for their patient and forget about taking care of themselves. This can be very detrimental to the caregiver’s health, both physically and mentally. Check out our list of things to keep in mind as a caregiver!

Things for caregivers to consider...

  • Join a support group There are groups for just caregivers, for caregivers and the patient together, for caregivers after losing their loved one, and more.
  • Keep your friends close To the best extent possible, try to stay in touch with current supportive friends. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to win their battle with cancer, and without the support of friends and family, losing a loved one can be incredibly devastating and isolating. It is much easier to grieve and make it through such an experience when you have friends and family to help you through the experience.
  • Set reasonable personal goals! Maybe you can’t stick to your normal exercise routine, but try to do at least half an hour a few days a week, for example. Also try to set aside a few minutes each day to relax, where you can lay down or go for a walk. Don’t forget about your own mental and physical health as you help to care for someone else!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and accepting it when others offer! Many times people have a tough time asking for help when they get overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to lean on others when you need to!
  • Remember, it’s okay to be stressed. It’s not okay to feel overwhelmed this is when you need to take a step back and focus on caring for the caregiver! Ask for others to help you cover some of your tasks so you can rest up physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • If you have to take leave from your employment, be sure to know your rights. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires that businesses with 50 or more employees provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition, while also continuing their medical benefits as if the employee had not taken a leave. For more information about the act, visit the Department of Labor website:  https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

For more information about a caregiver’s role, and resources to help caregivers take care of themselves as they care for a patient, check out the links below.

http://campus.relayforlife.org/campus-blog/2016/9/11/campus-faqs-caregiver
https://www.cancer.gov/resources-for/caregivers
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/caregiver-support
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivorship/caregivers/

Blog by Alex Pfadenhauer & Colleen Eccles of the North Region Campus Leadership Team