What It Takes to Be a Caregiver

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What does it feel like to be a caregiver?

Despite the sadness and shock of having a loved one with cancer, many people find personal satisfaction in caring for that person. You may see it as a meaningful role that allows you to show your love and respect for the person. It may also feel good to be helpful and know that you are needed by a loved one.

You may find that caregiving enriches your life. You might feel a deep sense of satisfaction, confidence, and accomplishment in caring for someone. You may also learn about inner strengths and abilities that you didn’t even know you had, and find a greater sense of purpose for your own life.

The caregiving role can open up doors to new friends and relationships, too. Through a support group, you can get to know people who have faced the same kinds of problems. Caregiving can also draw families together and help people feel closer to the person who needs care.

Caregiving can also be frustrating and painful. People caring for very sick patients may notice their own feelings of severe sadness and emotional distress. They can develop physical symptoms, like tiredness and trouble sleeping. This is more likely to be a problem for caregivers who aren’t able to get the support they need, and who don’t take care of themselves – especially those who try to press forward alone, even as their own quality of life suffers.

Caring for someone going through cancer treatment is a demanding role, but being good at it can give you a sense of meaning and pride. These good feelings can give you the strength and endurance to continue in the role for as long as you are needed.


Last Medical Review: 02/14/2012
Last Revised: 03/23/2012