Your Journey As A Caregiver

If you are supporting a family member or a friend through their cancer treatment, you are a caregiver. The main caregivers (primary caregivers) are often a spouse or partner, a parent, or an adult child.

As a caregiver, you may help with daily activities such as going to the doctor or making meals for your loved one. It could also mean coordinating services and care, or providing emotional and spiritual support.

Every caregiver reacts to their situation differently. Some caregivers find personal satisfaction and a sense of purpose by caring for their loved one. Others may feel unprepared or unable to manage the responsibilities and emotions that go along with caring for someone. Whatever your own personal situation is, you will be expected to don many hats over the course of the cancer journey, and this may get quite overwhelming.

Being prepared for the road ahead will help you cope better. Here are some things to be mindful of as you embark on your journey of caring for your loved one

Making treatment decisions: When your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you may hear about different treatment options and therapies from the people around you – your doctors, family, friends and colleagues. It is very common to feel overwhelmed and unsure which clinical path to take. This confusion can also lead to stress, anxiety and second-guessing every decision you make about your loved one’s treatment. This section provides you with the information you need to know while you explore your options and find the right treatment for you. Read more

Changes in your relationship with your loved one: You might notice that your role and relationship with your loved one changes slightly as you take on the role of the caregiver. Whether you’re younger or older, you may find the way you support them is different now. It may be in a way in which you haven’t had much experience, or in a way that feels more intense than before. Even if the situation is new to you, most caregivers say they learn more along with the cancer experience.

Asking for help if you need it: Whatever your role is now, it’s understandable to feel confused, stressed and overwhelmed. Take account of all the things you have to do, analyse your bandwidth and ask for help for the things you cannot do. Most caregivers, in hindsight, feel they should have asked for help sooner. Assess what is essential for you to do yourself, compared to tasks you can share. Be willing to let go of things that others can help you do.

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