Tips for Caregivers

Suggestions for being an effective caregiver

Caring for a person with cancer may seem complex and like too much to cope with at first. Depending on the person’s needs, you may provide different types of support, such as:

  • Emotional support
  • Help with medical care
  • Assist with financial and insurance issues
  • Serve as the communicator between the patient and the health care team

You may find the following tips can help you become a successful caregiver:

Remember that caregiving is a team effort. A caregiver is a member of an important team of family members, friends, volunteers, and the health care team. Each member of the team offers different skills and strengths to provide effective care.

If you are the main caregiver, help each team member express concerns, opinions, and emotions. Also, make sure that the person with cancer has a central role in all discussions and decisions, if possible. It is very important for the person with cancer to feel like an active member in their care.

CancerCare provides a special website for caregivers called My Cancer Circle.  This website can help caregivers organize the family and friends who want to help. Find other online communities for support.

Create a list of tasks. Caregiving, like any responsibility, involves tasks of varying importance. Start by making a list of all of your caregiving tasks. Then, use it to decide how to divide the tasks between friends, family, professionals, and other volunteers.

Be proactive. Being proactive means taking charge and planning as much as possible to prevent last-minute emergencies. This can also help provide a sense of control and order. Create schedules that list which relative, friend, or other volunteer is available when and for what tasks. Make sure that all of the caregivers involved have some time to be away without feeling guilty or concerned. Long-distance caregiving takes even more planning. Find out more about how to be an effective long-distance caregiver.


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