6 Tips for Cancer Caregivers

Caring for our loved ones during National Caregivers Month

Cancer not only affects the patient, but also the entire family, especially caregivers.  So, if you are caring for someone, remember that it is ok to take care of yourself, too. However, when do you find time for yourself knowing you have caregiver duties such as managing medication, making appointments, communicating with your loved one’s healthcare team, running errands and more.

Caregivers should not feel guilty or selfish when taking time to care for themselves. By doing so, caregivers will have the energy needed to take care of loved ones.

Tips for cancer caregivers

  • Plan to do things you enjoy. These are 3 types of activities that you need for yourself:
    1. Interaction with others such as having lunch with a friend
    2. Completing or fulfilling tasks resulting in sense of success such as exercising or finishing a project
    3. Finding relaxation or joy by watching a funny movie or taking a walk.
  • Try and keep up with current events and/or life – set aside time during the day when you do not talk about illness.
  • Join a support group for caregivers or see a counselor. MD Anderson has many resources for caregivers such as support groups.  If you try one that doesn’t feel like a good fit, try another one.
  • Ask your boss for some time off from work. If you can’t or don’t want to stop working, you may be able to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Find out if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program can help you deal with issues such as money concerns, stress and more.
  • Let others help. Ask family and friends for help with jobs they think they can do and when.

This November, thank a caregiver in your life for everything they selflessly do!