Support for Caregivers
If you are helping your family member or friend through cancer treatment, you are a caregiver. Being a caregiver can be very stressful, but you can find ways to care for yourself while caring for others. As a caregiver you may be helping with daily activities such as going to the doctor or making meals. It could also mean coordinating services and care. Or it may be giving emotional and spiritual support. Giving care and support during this time can be a challenge. Many caregivers put their own needs and feelings aside to focus on the person with cancer. This can be hard to maintain for a long time, and it’s not good for your health. The stress can have both physical and psychological effects. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. It’s important for everyone that you give care to you.
Support groups can provide great comfort to family caregivers but finding the right one for you depends on many factors. Here are some things to think about when looking for a group.
What makes a support group successful?
- A safe haven for sharing true feelings
- A place to make new friends
- Information about resources and coping mechanisms
- Advice on what lies ahead
- Help in dealing with family members
Why are support groups so important?
- A caring atmosphere with trust between group members
- A clear structure and purpose
- Agreement on group rules, including confidentiality
- A good facilitator
Where to find a group
- The social work department of hospitals
- Adult day care centers
- Voluntary organizations that deal with your care recipient’s condition, i.e., TBI, Alzheimer’s disease, MS
- Area Agencies on Aging
- Your faith community
Questions to Ask
- Who sponsors/runs the group?
- Who is the facilitator?
- What is its organizing principle?
- What is the makeup of the group
Source: Caregiver Action Network
Caregiver Action Network (CAN) provides education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.
Call, text or chat with your local 211 to speak with a community resource specialist in your area.
Tips for dealing with being a caregiver and asking for help.