Tips for Caregivers

To promote physical, emotional and spiritual health while moving into survivorship, a number of caregiver support organizations offer recommendations for caregivers. Here is a synopsis.

> Find your support system. Talking with others, particularly other caregivers, as well as supportive professionals, will offer a safe outlet to discuss feelings. > Gather information. Knowledge is power. Being armed with information may put caregivers at ease as they understand more about what to expect.

> Become comfortable with uncertainty. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no knowing how things will unfold. Learn to let go of the need to control and go with the flow.

> Find the new normal. Maintaining a good balance between the needs of the patient and the needs of the family can be challenging. Allow yourself to look at new roles and routines for everyone in the family.

> See the glass as half full. It takes effort to look at days filled with pain and uncertainty as ones also filled with possibility. Try to find the positives in what you do.

> Feel the feelings. There may be many losses in the cancer experience that will affect your life into survivorship. Grieve the loss of what you value or the day-to-day life before cancer. And find someone to talk to about this normal response.

> Keep up with your own health. Take your medications and don’t skip medical appointments. Get rest and exercise. Take time out for yourself. Eat healthily and make time for fun. Don’t be afraid to laugh.

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