When you’re caring for a loved one who is undergoing cancer treatment, it’s easy to put them first while losing sight of your own needs. While that feeling is understandable, taking care of yourself benefits both you and the patient.
What Is a Caregiver?
Many cancer patients receive treatment on an outpatient basis, meaning they still spend significant portions of time at home. “Caregiver” is generally used to refer to an unpaid friend or family member who tends to a patient’s day-to-day needs.
Caregiving can include anything from feeding, dressing and bathing a patient to providing transportation, handling finances and attending cancer treatment appointments. For many people, these duties are over and above the needs of themselves and other family members they may be responsible for.
Tips for Self-Care
Caring for a cancer patient can be deeply fulfilling, but it may also be physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Here are some helpful ways to maintain your energy and spirits.
*Be sure to schedule time for personal activities you enjoy. This could include lunch with a friend, reading a good book or taking a walk.
*Don’t be afraid to seek support. There are a number of peer groups for caregivers, as well as counselors who specialize in this issue. If you’re religious or spiritual, this can be another avenue for support.
*Ask other friends and family members for help when the load gets to be too much. It’s neither feasible nor advisable to handle everything on your own.
*Keep up your strength and morale by eating a healthy diet. Plan regular meals with balanced nutrition.
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