Celebrating the Caregiver
Article date: November 13, 2013
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, a team of nurses, doctors, and emotional support experts is typically there to help them through the cancer journey. However, there is often one member of the team who supplies critical care without earning a dime. It’s the caregiver: that family member, friend, or relative who takes care of the daily needs of the person with cancer, simply because their loved one needs help.
By tackling tasks from driving, to handling the household, to organizing medical appointments and information, caregivers help make progress possible in a patient’s day-to-day cancer fight. However, because caregivers are voluntary helpers, they may have little or no training for the many roles they must take on.
That can cause a lot of stress, so it’s important for caregivers to continue taking care of their own needs, even while they’re taking care of their loved one. Asking for help – whether from other friends and family, a support group, or from a trained professional – is key.
If you or someone you love wants to learn more about caregiving, these articles from the American Cancer Society on being a caregiver and coping as a caregiver are a good place to start. If you want more in-depth information, the Society’s online bookstore offers titles that can help, including Cancer in Our Family, a book that specifically explores how to help children cope with a parent’s illness and gives caregivers ideas for how to provide comfort and support for kids at every age. If a personal online community is what you need, the American Cancer Society Cancer Survivors Network can help caregivers connect to others who have “been there.” You can also find additional resources by calling the Society at 1-800-227-2345, anytime day or night.
Armed with tools like these, a caregiver can feel much more prepared for the job at hand and give loved ones the best care they can when it’s needed most.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
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