Wife, husband, child, friend, sibling…Caregiver?
At Cancer CAREpoint, we offer services to all those impacted by cancer, the person with the diagnosis, family members, and the patient’s entire care team. In addition to the medical staff, this includes friends, children, and spouses— and these relationships inevitably change with the addition of the caregiving role. In my experience, it is critical to recognize this personal connection first, and remember that being a caregiver to a loved one does not replace the relationship status (though sometimes it sure feels that way).
Easier said than done, of course. When someone you care about is diagnosed with cancer, in addition to the physical side effects, your loved one may feel vulnerable, angry, and sad. You may feel that way, too, along with feeling exhausted and overwhelmed—shouldering more and more responsibilities to help your loved one focus on their medical treatment. But when you feel like you can’t turn to your loved one or your “rock” to help you deal with these feelings and frustrations, what can you do?
For many, Caregiver Support Groups are a safe place to be vulnerable, angry, sad…and comforted. It can be empowering to be in a space with others who are sharing your experience, and often group members recommend tips and tricks that have worked for them. The national American Cancer Society offers suggestions for navigating tough subjects like communication through their online resource. At Cancer CAREpoint, we are hosting a special conversation just for caregivers—“When You Care” on November 19th—I invite you to join us.
I am thrilled there is a month honoring the Family Caregiver. To all of you who are caring for a loved one with cancer, let the month of November, National Family Caregiver Month, serve as a reminder that you are seen. The Family Caregiver Alliance has even developed a caregiver bill of rights to serve as an ongoing reminder to take care of yourself—let this special month prompt you to do so. Research has shown that the health of a caregiver directly impacts the health of a patient. Lastly, we at Cancer CAREpoint feel that no one should have to face cancer alone— including you. We are here.
Dawn Hogh, Executive Director