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Caregiver Tips (Part 1)

Being a caregiver is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had to do. It is physically and emotionally draining. However, when I was taking care of Crystal, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

How would I know if other people would know what to do for her when she was sick? There were things she needed that I knew about, but how would others know. And, when Crystal reacted to the chemo the way she did, would others allow her to rest? I didn’t know and so I wanted to be the one to take care of her. I’m sorry it happened, but since it did, I wanted to be the one to be there for her.

What I learned from being a caregiver

Being a caregiver taught me a few things. Many of those things I had to learn the hard way. I want to share some of them so others may find the job a bit easier.

Use what you like and share with whoever may need these tips. Here they are:

They are who they were

Just because the person you are helping has cancer, they are still the person they were before. Cancer will have an effect on them of course, but don’t baby them, pity them, or stop talking to them. They need your support more than ever. Be there and be the same person to them you were before. They will need your stability and to know they can continue to count on you.

Make it a point to go to appointments

A cancer diagnosis is devastating and overwhelming. If you are available, take your loved one to their appointment and take notes. The doctor has many things to say and it will be extremely hard to remember everything. That would be true for anyone, but there are so many components to take in when faced with cancer.

Two sets of ears will be better than one. Keep a cancer log where you can keep track of appointments, treatments, dates, times, and write down questions for the next visit. This is the best way to make sure all concerns are addressed and understood. Additionally, you will have a timeline and all the information you need, in one place, if you should need it in the future.

Laughter is the best medicine

You may have heard that laughter is the best medicine. Well, it’s true. Brighten the day by sharing a joke, watching a funny movie, or talking about the silly antics someone at work did. It will be appreciated and it will break up the monotony.

Let them know they are strong and are doing great

Everyone reacts differently to cancer. No matter who the person is and no matter what type of cancer they have, going through it is difficult. Let them know how strong they are, even if they don’t feel strong. Everyone needs a pat on the back sometimes, give it to them and let them know you are in their corner.

Ask first

When someone has cancer there are a lot of questions you may have. You may even want to offer advice. Before you do either of these things, ask permission. They may not be ready to talk about their feelings yet and they may or may not be ready to receive advice. Take it slow and only go as far as they let you. They deserve their privacy and will appreciate the respect you show by giving it to them. It’s what you would want and it’s what they need.

Being a caregiver can be difficult

Being a caregiver can be challenging, but as a caregiver, you are doing a wonderful thing for another person. It will take patience, time, understanding, and love. This time won’t last forever and you will be glad you were there to give comfort. Just remember to take time for yourself as well. You both may need the break.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Check back for part 2 of this series!

Wishing you health & happiness

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