Caregivers are individuals who
provide care to chronically ill or
disabled family members or friends.
It is estimated that more than one
quarter of the adult population, or
more than fifty million people, have
been caregivers. Men now make up 44%
of the caregiving population; and
family caregivers provide, for
"free", an estimated $257 billion
per year in services. The role of
caregivers is expected to increase
as the population ages; however, the
number of individuals available for
caregiving will diminish.
Serve as advocates for their patient
- Understand the patient's needs to
- Become familiar with
insurance and financial matters
Helping someone go through a
cancer diagnosis, treatment, and
recovery requires understanding,
encouragement, patience and energy.
Caregivers become part advocate,
nurse, organizer and financial
analyst in addition to maintaining
their other responsibilities. Caring
for someone with a life-threatening
disease can be emotionally and
physically draining. Caregiver
burn-out can occur even when caring
for a dearest loved one. For this
reason, you are encouraged to:
- Take control of your life. You
must remember to continue to live
your life and not allow it to
completely revolve around your loved
- Remember to
take care of and be kind to
yourself. The job you are performing
is difficult and can be taxing. It
is important for you to have
personal quality time, to do what
you like, for you.
- Be aware
of how you are feeling emotionally.
Depression is common for individuals
in your position. Seek professional
help immediately if you are
experiencing signs of depression.
- Accept assistance from others
when offered and make specific
suggestions as to what they can do.
- Get educated. The more you
know about your loved one's
condition, the more empowered you
- Support your
loved one's independence. Caring for
somebody does not necessarily entail
doing everything for them. New
technologies and ideas provide
options that help promote a healthy
level of independence.
Listen to your heart. Your gut
instincts most often lead you in the
to grieve. Then allow yourself to
move forward and dream of new
possibilities and experiences.
- Seek support from other
caregivers and obtain strength and
comfort in the understanding of
others in similar situations. You
are not alone.