In 2015, President Barack Obama proclaimed November National Family Caregivers Month to recognize the hard work and dedication of all the selfless caregivers around the country. At the Cancer Support Community, we understand that caregivers are an essential part of the cancer care team from the start. Caregivers can be spouses, partners, children, relatives or friends who help, care and support those living with cancer.
Through our Cancer Experience Registry, we’ve learned that the majority of caregivers have to help their loved ones coordinate medical care and make treatment decisions. This can be overwhelming not just for the patient but for the caregiver. But know that you are not alone on this journey.
You can find a caregivers support group close to where you live through our local affiliates or join online forums like our Cancer Message Boards. It can be very helpful to talk with others in a similar situation who can understand what you’re going through. Caregivers can also participate in our Cancer Experience Registry, an online community which asks people affected by cancer to share their story. This will assist us in pinpointing specific areas of need for caregivers and developing programs tailored to these needs.
As we head into the busy holiday season, you may feel that after spending so much time caring for your loved one, there’s no time left for yourself. However, self-care is vital because you need to ensure your own mental, emotional and physical health before you can care for anyone else. Try reaching out to family and friends to ask for help picking up presents or holiday cards. Taking these small tasks off your plate will afford you a moment to rest or time to read the last chapter of that novel you set aside.
This is your month Caregivers! Take a little time to pat yourself on the back and relax. Remember to prioritize your health and well-being so you can put your best foot forward for your loved ones. We have many resources for caregivers available online and you can request free physical copies be sent to you here. Continue to follow along on our blog page for the rest of the year as we share more tips and stories to help you get through the holiday season.