Take Care, Caregivers

Remember that one of your responsibilities as a caregiver is to take care of yourself.

If you’re the partner of a cancer patient, you know that “in sickness and in health” takes on a whole new meaning following a cancer diagnosis. Helping your partner through 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 and physically draining. Caregiver burn-out can occur even when caring for a dearest loved one. For this reason, keep the following things in mind.

  • Remember to take care of and be kind to yourself. The job you are performing is difficult and can be taxing. Let yourself have personal quality time to do what you like.
  • Be aware of how you are feeling emotionally. Depression is common for individuals in your position—seek professional help immediately if you are experiencing signs of depression.
  • Accept assistance from others when offered, and make specific suggestions as to what they can do.
  • 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. New technologies and ideas provide options that help promote a healthy level of independence.
  • Listen to yourself. Your gut instincts most often lead you in the right direction.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. Then allow yourself to move forward and dream of new possibilities and experiences.
  • Seek support from other caregivers, and gain strength and comfort from the understanding of those in similar situations. You are not alone.