Caring for

In the fight against cancer, caregivers need support, too.

Being a caregiver for a loved one with cancer can be mentally daunting, emotionally draining, and physically exhausting. Often, caregivers are so focused on others that they forget their own needs.

It’s a nonstop job to take care of the patient’s day-to-day needs. Along with that, caregivers have to keep up with the rest of life’s demands. The needs of other family members, a job, bills, and everyday household tasks loom large, and it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. The result? Caregivers put their own well-being last on priority list.

 

If you’re a caregiver—or know somebody who is—think about or share these tips:

 

 

Get support and extra help from others. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for an errand, a ride to a doctor appointment, or a few hours of watching your kids.

Try to get some exercise (even if it’s just a quick walk), and get enough sleep.

Set realistic limits on what you can do. Pace yourself.

Eat Healthy Foods

Aim for five servings of fruits and veggies a day for vitamins, minerals, and hydration.

Foods with 5g or more of fiber will help stabilize blood sugar. They’ll also help keep you fuller longer—important when you don’t know when you’ll have time to eat again.

Stress can affect digestion. Foods with probiotics, like yogurt or kefir, may help keep your gut healthy.

  time

Make time for things you enjoy, like reading, yoga, or watching a movie.

talk

Spend time with supportive people. Talk through your feelings. When someone offers to help, take them up on it.

support

Seek guidance from a therapist or counselor, or join a caregiver support group. If depression or anxiety becomes unmanageable, talk to your doctor.

Find respite services—getting out of the house, even for just an hour or two, can do wonders. Your health care team can help you locate these services.

Keep open communication with the patient, family members, and the patient’s medical team.

Pat yourself on the back for all that you do. You’re a hero.