When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, the lives of family and friends are also turned upside down when they step into the important role of caregiver. Although deeply rewarding, this role can be incredibly stressful and challenging. Providing constant care, keeping up to date with medical knowledge and the emotional stress of a loved one who is not well is not an easy burden to manage. It is important that caregivers practice self-care so that they can stay healthy and able to look after their family member.
These simple tips can help you be the best carer possible…
ORGANISATION –A little organisation can go a long way, both in an emergency and to keep every day smooth and stress-free. Keep important information about appointments, medication, contact numbers and patient information in an easy to access centralised location. Keeping a small overnight bag for both you and your loved one packed and ready helps to ensure nothing is forgotten in the case of unexpected hospital trips.
COMMUNICATION – Unless you have experienced it yourself, it is hard to imagine how it feels to be diagnosed with cancer. You are not a mind reader so ask open, direct questions and ensure communication channels stay open even during the most challenging and confronting times. Focus on one day at a time with a flexible, positive and patient attitude.
You may not be a doctor but you are the most qualified person to provide your friend or family member with the love and laughter they need.
SELF CARE – Your emotional wellbeing is important! Don’t lose your own identity in the experience of caring for someone with cancer. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise and don’t forget to socialise with friends. Making time for yourself will ensure you are in the best condition possible to provide good care for your loved one.
SUPPORT – Seeking help shows strength, not weakness. Ask for assistance and do accept offers from friends and family to share caring responsibilities, it helps to have a team supporting you too. Speaking with other caregivers can provide useful advice or the opportunity to exchange stories. Hong Kong Cancer Fund Support Centres support caregivers and can provide you with the resources and contacts you need.
Tel: (852) 3656 0800