Any cancer diagnosis is an incredibly difficult time for the patient and her family and friends. If your loved one has been diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer, there's a real likelihood that they may need in-home care in the future. Cancer caregivers bear a unique burden in that they wear many hats. They serve as nurse, caregiver, housekeeper, cook, confidante and friend. It can be a strenuous role that comes with a laundry list of responsibilities.
With that said, here are a few ways to prepare to play the role of caregiver for your loved one.
The very best thing a caregiver can do to prepare for the key role they're about to play in their loved one’s life is to know everything they possibly can about the stage of the condition. Aspects that are most important to know ahead of time are:
Cancer caregivers should be aware of the resources that exist to offer relief. Take advantage of support groups in your area, and make it a point to make time for yourself. As the National Cancer Institute states, "You need to learn ways to take care of yourself. Because if you're not taking care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help."
Stress and burnout are among the biggest concerns when it comes to caregivers of cancer patients. Some things you can do to prevent them from affecting you are:
As a cancer caregiver, you'll be presented with a lot of problems, from health-related issues and financial hurdles, to household and personal issues. In order to make it through this, you'll need to learn to develop a "can do" attitude as a way to manage these inevitable problems.
Keeping a positive attitude will help you focus on solutions to the problems as opposed to dwelling on the negative. Negativity is poisonous, and it can creep in unnoticed. Before you know it, it'll ruin everything you've worked hard to establish.
As a primary caregiver for a loved one who is battling cancer, your job will continually evolve to meet the needs of the patient in question. Knowing what to expect ahead of the time will help you prepare for the responsibility that comes with the role.