Cancer has been called a family disease because it affects not only the cancer patient but the entire family. Spouses, parents, adult children and other relatives find themselves suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver.
While being the caregiver of someone you love can be a very rewarding experience and is a role many family members willingly accept, it can also be emotionally draining and physically exhausting.
Local Cancer Support Resources
Taking care of another person on top of your own responsibilities can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed. It is important to develop a strong support network early. There are many excellent organizations, publications and support groups, both online and in your local community, available to cancer caregivers.
Good places to find local resources include the family resource center of your local hospital, your county or city’s senior services department, churches and local branches of national cancer organizations.
Online Cancer Support Resources
The following online resources may also be helpful:
• National Cancer Institute offers an online cancer information service and live chat.
• American Cancer Society offers helpful articles for caregivers and links to cancer support networks.
• Cancer Care provides a list of online and telephone support groups for cancer caregivers and sponsors educational online and telephone workshops and podcasts on cancer-related topics. Monthly Q&As with cancer experts offer answers to common caregiver questions.
• Family Caregiver Alliance is devoted to supporting caregiver family members and friends. The site offers education, practical tips and resources to help caregivers manage every stage of care.
• Caregiver Action Network (formerly National Family Caregivers Association) provides information, education and support for family caregivers and offers online support forums and peer networks.
• AARP Caregiving Resource Center provides a comprehensive collection of online tools for caregivers, including connections to experts and other caregivers through online forums.