When a Loved One Has Cancer
Five strategies to help caregivers cope
When caring for someone with cancer, you need to be at your best. But long, busy days can leave you exhausted and emotionally drained. Follow these guidelines to help cope with stress and repair energy.
1. Learn what to expect. Fear of the unknown along with day-to-day anxieties may overwhelm you. Seek advice from your loved one's caregivers, or visit Georgia Regents University Cancer Center’s online resources (www.gru.edu/cancer/community).
2. Help when and where it's needed. You may not have to do as much as you think. Ask your loved one what you can do, and don’t be afraid to delegate to others who want to help.
3. Let your loved one talk. Sometimes just listening is good enough. Remember, too, it's normal for the person you're caring for to have occasional down moments. But if your loved one is consistently depressed, help find professional counseling.
4. Take care of yourself. Make time for healthy meals, regular exercise and social activities.
5. Take time for others you love. Your loved one's cancer treatment can last months—while others you love continue to have birthdays, score winning goals and get promoted. Share in their joy. In showing love for others, you get love in return, which will bolster your spirits and stave off feelings of resentment.
Caring for Someone With Cancer?
Be alert for signs you're nearing burnout. Call our Cancer Information Line at 888-365-0747 for local resources that can help.