How to Be a Successful Caregiver to Someone with Cancer

Follow these tips to be a successful caregiver to a loved one living with cancer. 

Cancer is difficult for everyone involved, testing individuals fighting the disease as well as those helping them manage life with cancer. 

If you are a caregiver to someone with cancer, keep in mind that taking good care of yourself should be a top priority. When you are properly rested both mentally and physically, you are likely to have more energy and strength to provide the best support possible. 

6 Tips to Help You Take Care of You

To stay as healthy as possible, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Be informed. Research your loved one’s diagnosis, so you know what you are facing. Healthcare providers can provide families with as much information as possible. The National Cancer Institute recommends that if you have a question, ask the experts. They will help you make the most educated choices and ease anxieties related to the unknown. 
  2. Don’t sacrifice your own wellness. Comfort foods may offer temporary relief for stress. And fast food may be the most convenient option when you are trying to save time. Choose meals filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to help you feel your best.  
  3. Make time to relax. You can’t realistically take care of someone 24/7. Schedule time to see friends and connect with others. Find time for relaxation, and use stress-management tips, such as deep breathing, to maintain your calm. 
  4. Exercise regularly. Get your body moving by doing something you enjoy even for a few minutes at a time. Walk around the block, throw the ball with your pet, or dance to your favorite song to boost energy levels and manage stress.
  5. Find your own support system. The Cancer Support Community underscores the importance of building a network of support to help you properly care for yourself and your loved one. Ask for help with tasks such as cooking or driving. And, if you need to talk through your own emotional challenges, call a friend, counselor, or spiritual advisor. 
  6. Get enough rest. Sleep is critical to helping you stay healthy and positive. If you are having trouble getting the rest you need, consider respite care, which is a short-term care solution offered by local churches, civic groups, or healthcare facilities. According to the American Cancer Society, Medicare or Medicaid may cover respite care. 

For information about support in your community, visit austincancercenters.com/for-patients/community-resources/