What Would You Tell a Caregiver?

Having cancer is one thing; being the caregiver is another. Both roles can be extremely difficult and there is no set in stone formula for either person. As a person with cancer, I try really hard not to be too needy and to only ask for help when I really need it. I try not to complain and make it very clear that when I do; I am usually just speaking out loud; not expecting my caregiver to come up with a magical remedy.

That being said, I think the very best caregivers are the ones that do not hover; they continue to live their lives’ and continue to treat you just like they did prior to your diagnosis, with one exception; they are aware of your condition and accept that you may now have limitations, and may not always be able to do everything, like you used to.

In a perfect world, they would know when you really needed help, and when to stand back. Often, it is the smallest, little things that make the biggest difference; like laundry, you did not have to wash, or dinner that you did not have to make. A hot cup of tea and a foot rub is also always appreciated, but sometimes all we really need to get us through the day is a great, big hug.

One of the most important things that a caregiver needs to know, is that it is often really difficult for us, to ask for help, it is difficult for us to accept the fact that our lives’ have drastically changed and we can no longer do the same things, in the same manner, that we used to; and we, as cancer victims hate that, and hate that we become a burden; and we, as the patient must understand that our cancer affects them, too.

I mean let’s face it; how would we feel being the caregiver? Having to watch our loved ones suffer and battle their disease; I often think that their role may even be more difficult than ours. So maybe we should ask ourselves; “What would we do as a caregiver?”

Things a Caregiver May Consider Doing

  1. Offer to run errands; such as picking up prescriptions or groceries.
  2. Offer to take a person to a doctor’s appointment; sometimes the wait is long and this creates a perfect visiting opportunity; quality time is precious.
  3. Offer to walk their dog.
  4. Do a once a month house clean; top to bottom.
  5. Make a pot of soup and freeze in small batches for easy, quick meals.
  6. Offer to help set up recurring bills on automatic payment schedules.
  7. Offer to make phone calls.
  8. Lend an ear; sometimes just listening is just what the doctor ordered.

And remember to take care of yourself, too. A caregivers’ job is not an easy one; it can be exhausting, frustrating and difficult. We know this, and do not expect you to run yourself into the ground; take care of yourself first and know that you are loved and appreciated for your kindness and your care.

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  1. My mother was recently diagnosed with leukemia, however this is her third cancer diagnosis, she is having incredibly difficult time coping this time, my parents are elderly and I fear for them both. My mother has been experiencing swelling in her legs and feet making in very difficult for her to walk, and she also has difficulty getting in and out of chairs, making trips to the bathroom more difficult for herself and my dad. I was wondering if you having any suggestions, as I am at the end of my rope, She has sought some counseling from the local clergy, but I am wondering if she should perhaps seek psychiartic help, perhaps at a treatment facility.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your mother; I fear for my mother as well. She has had a wound on her leg for seven years and can barely walk yet she insists on driving herself to her appointments daily.
    I would love it if my mother would consider some sort of help, but it is not easy to convince her to allow some one to help her. I live 900 miles away and can only help every few months when I am in town.
    It is heartbreaking; I think that if your parents were able to and would accept a living assisted environment that would be the best solution.
    Best of luck to you....


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