Caregivers Need Support Too
At CanCare, we recognize that cancer is a friend and family disease that affects everyone who loves the person living with a cancer diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That means that there are countless others who will be caregivers for someone with cancer.
As the loved one of someone living with cancer, your life looks different now. You, as a loved one – a husband, wife, partner, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter or friend – now have your own cancer journey, that of supporting someone with cancer. At CanCare we offer help for caregivers of cancer patients by providing emotional support to the cancer patient’s family and friends as well as the cancer patient. Husbands, wives, partners, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren are also often affected when someone in the family hears those dreaded words, “You have cancer.”
Find Cancer Caregiver Support
In addition to matching cancer patients with a survivor by your side, CanCare offers a caregiver support program that matches you with someone who has also cared for a loved one with cancer. We also offer a special virtual support group for caregivers of cancer patients.
Cancer support for family members is especially important because often caregiver spouses are reluctant to share their feelings with the survivor spouse for fear of causing an upset or burdening their loved one. When connected with a CanCare volunteer caregiver who has walked the path of caring for a family member, caregivers can openly discuss their experience of the cancer journey and share their feelings. Getting support for yourself as a caregiver is often a gift to the cancer survivor because cancer survivors often worry about the impact that their cancer is having on their family's emotional, mental health, and even physical health.
Emotional Support with CanCare
Our CanCare caregiver community is comprised of over 150 caregivers who have cared for their husband, wife, partner, mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, granddaughter, grandson, aunt, uncle, friend and other extended family. If you love someone with cancer, you are in good company in our caregiver community!
You may not know how to support a family member who is diagnosed with cancer or who has to undergo cancer treatments. That’s understandable. You’ve probably not done this before. It’s new territory. Learning how to be a caregiver can be confusing. You shouldn’t have to figure out caregiving on your own. CanCare can provide a caregiver by your side as you navigate your cancer caregiver journey. Our cancer support community here at CanCare has been specially trained to provide support to caregivers. Our diverse community enables us to connect you with a caregiver whose relationship to their survivor is similar, if not the same, as yours. We also consider the cancer type and stage of the survivor and age when matching clients with volunteers.
At this time in history there is so much Hope for those with cancer. Offer your loved one with cancer the reassurance of a hug. Refer to your loved one with cancer as a survivor — not a patient — not a victim. At CanCare we say that anyone who is still standing after they hear, “You’ve got cancer,” is a survivor. A cancer diagnosis is a crisis, but do not assume your loved one will die of cancer. After treatment, more than 55% of cancer survivors live out their normal lifetime cancer-free.
Your loved one with cancer needs to talk about what has happened. Your family member will give you clues about how he/she wants to be treated. Your loved one needs a place to express honest feelings without judgment. It is helpful to stay in touch. Find ways to show you really care.
Remember cancer affects the whole family. The whole family needs attention. Show kindness and respect to one another. Each person responds to the diagnosis in their own way.
Love & Support
Love and support your loved one. Cancer survivors do not need pity. Pity does not help morale. Encouragement gives confidence to face the realities of cancer. Remember your survivor loved one is likely to feel lonely and afraid. Write a note. Give a book or a video for a laugh. Make a favorite dish. Show love by celebrating life.
Pray for your loved one with cancer. Channels for healing are opened by your prayers. Remember God wants all of us to be healthy, whole, happy people. God’s presence brings peace.
Express Honest Feelings
Tears are okay. Though there can be a temptation to “protect” your loved one by hiding your feelings, realize that your family member may also need to cry with you. When you share feelings, even though they may be hard, it prevents the loneliness of dealing with difficult feelings on your own.
Use the Word "Cancer"
It is only a word for the disease, not a sentence. It makes the survivor feel bad if you always avoid the word and refer to cancer as “your problem”.
Avoid making all decisions on behalf of your loved one. Allow the survivor be a part of decision-making. Sometimes he/she may need the normalcy of day-to-day decisions.
Offer Specific Help
Do not say, “Call me any time,” if you don’t mean it. Think about what you can offer, and say what you are willing to do: “I can drive you anywhere, or do any errand for you on Tuesdays,” or “I’ll make the dinner the next two Monday nights.”
Be Sensitive to Visitors
Your loved one may be tired from treatment. Try to encourage friends to come for short, upbeat visits or make positive phone calls. Your loved one needs success stories, diversion, Hope, friendship and you may need respite from care. Encouraging friends, coworkers, other family member contact shows love and consideration. Ask friends to call before they visit. It is likely that your family member may have good days and bad days so you need to be flexible with visitors.