25 Tips for Caregivers
Caring for a loved one with a serious disease can be both a deeply rewarding and stressful experience. Use the tips and information below to help you through the process.
- Give yourself and your loved one time to adjust to the diagnosis.
- A positive attitude is beneficial for you and your loved one.
- Giving care to a loved one with cancer requires patience, flexibility, courage and a good sense of humor.
- Good communication is essential to learning how to best work with your loved one.
- Plan special times together away from the routine of treatment, such as a special evening out for dinner, a movie or play, etc.
- Talk about the future. Hope is very important.
- Being a caregiver can reveal hidden strengths, and enrich your family life.
- As a caregiver, you can choose to take the primary caregiver role or, depending on the level of support from family and friends, divide it between two or more persons.
- Being a caregiver can affect you emotionally, physically and financially. For guidance, speak with your cancer center social worker.
- To better understand your loved one's diagnosis, treatment and progress, be an active participant during clinic visits.
- Stay organized (e.g., use a journal or notebook during your loved one's appointments).
- Encourage your loved one to engage as much as possible in normal daily activities.
- Give yourself permission to feel emotions about your loved one's situation, and confide in a friend or counselor to provide insight and support.
- Set up a list of activities that your family or friends can sign up to do weekly or monthly.
- To help reduce your stress, make time for regular exercise, meditation or some other form of relaxation.
- If care is long-term, arrange for extended periods of relief (e.g., take a vacation).
- Attempt to maintain as much of your routine as possible, but recognize that you may need to alter some of your daily activities if you are the primary caregiver.
- Take advantage of caregiver support groups and credible websites for resources and support.
- Taking care of YOU is important too. Get adequate rest and nutrition, and take time for personal care.
- Select funny movies to watch together. Good humor is healthy for the body and soul.
- Allow yourself private time to do nothing, or something important to you.
- Spiritual support through prayer or the guidance of a spiritual leader can be good medicine.
- Designate a family member or friend who can help field phone calls regarding your loved one's progress.
- If you have children in the home, assign them age appropriate tasks to accommodate the necessary changes in the household routines.
- Rely on the Moores Cancer Center's professional team for information and support.
Print this page, or download a three-fold pamphlet: 25 Tips for Caregivers