Caregiver Tools Can Ease a Stressful Time
Caregivers are the unsung heroes of the cancer care team, absorbing the many ripples cancer causes and helping their loved one deal with diagnosis, treatment, and life beyond cancer. While we celebrate caregivers all year long, there’s a special focus on them each November, recognized as National Family Caregivers Month.
This month for caregivers is not just an opportunity to honor them and the tireless work they put in to care for their loved one. It’s also a chance to raise awareness of caregiving issues and increase support.
Make no mistake – caregiving is a difficult task. When we spoke with cancer survivors for a study in 2017, one person said she’d been diagnosed with cancer and had also been a family caregiver to a spouse with cancer. Being a caregiver was just as hard and at times harder than being a survivor, she said.
The needs of caregivers can be diverse depending on what stage of life they’re in, the complexity of the diagnosis and treatment for their loved one, and the support network they can access. A caregiver who is also working full time and caring for children has different needs than a senior with limited strength or energy. Regardless of these finer details, all caregivers need emotional support and access to tools and resources to help them manage their wellness in tandem with their loved one’s.
Here are a few of the valuable resources we’ve uncovered that are available to help caregivers through their journey:
Imerman Angels. This peer mentoring program matches caregivers with mentor caregivers who can provide emotional support in a way many others cannot – they’ve been there and know what it’s like to be a caregiver. The nonprofit gathers information from the caregiver to find a mentor “angel” that has had similar circumstances, so those in the program can find more common ground. Learn more here.
American Cancer Society’s Caregiver Resource Guide. This guide, available online and as a PDF document, shares information on how to care for oneself while also caregiving, how to be understanding of your loved one’s experience, tips for coping and caring, and details on how to find resources. Access the guide here.
Caregiver Action Network’s Family Caregiver Toolbox. This easy to navigate online tool provides caregivers topic areas to explore, including clinical trials, juggling work and caregiving, caring by specific condition, and more. Additional resources are included on the website. Explore more here.
If you’re looking for more help, or a local resource to provide assistance, contact one of our ThriveNV navigators using the form here. Our goal is to help you successfully navigate the world of caregiving while prioritizing your health and wellness too.