In Canada, more than eight million people are providing care for a loved one. Cancer is the second-most common condition that requires help from caregivers, after aging. Caregivers play a key role in society, because without them, cancer patients would have more trouble receiving treatment and looking after themselves. By being a caregiver, you’re playing a huge role in your loved one’s recovery and quality of life.
Caregivers perform essential tasks like driving cancer patients to their appointments, keeping track of medical advice from doctors, and reminding them to take their medications. They also help with daily tasks that people receiving cancer treatment may not be able to handle on their own, like cleaning the house, cooking meals, or helping with personal care.
Support Services for Cancer Caregivers
Being a caregiver to a person with cancer can be stressful, frustrating, or scary, but you don’t have to deal with these feelings on your own. Other caregivers are feeling the same way, and there are many support services to help you cope.
The Canadian Cancer Society can help you get support and find someone to talk to. Its Peer Support Service can help you find volunteers that can encourage you and give you advice for coping in your caregiving role. The society also has an online community where people with cancer and their caregivers can talk to one another and share their experiences.
The society can also help you find cancer-related services in your area. These services include counselling, support groups, and rehabilitation. There are more than 4,000 cancer-related services across Canada, so there are likely many services near you.
Sacrifices by Cancer Caregivers
Most caregivers say providing care is rewarding, and many also say their relationships with their loved ones have improved due to the caregiving role. However, that doesn’t mean caregivers don’t make sacrifices to care for their loved ones.
When you’re raising kids, managing a household, and holding down a job, it can seem like there’s not enough time in the week to also be a caregiver. Cancer caregivers may need to spend less time with their kids, do less housework at their own homes, or cut back on their work responsibilities to make time for caregiving. They may not have time for themselves anymore, which can be very stressful.
Help with Caregiving Responsibilities
As a caregiver, you may feel like you have to manage all of your loved one’s needs on your own. There’s no shame in admitting you’re overwhelmed and need to spend less time caregiving. You can hire a home care service to help you care for your loved one.
For example, caregivers from a home care service can drive your loved one to their cancer treatments. This means you don’t need to miss work to handle appointments. Caregivers can also help with tasks around the home, like cooking and cleaning, to give you a bit of a break.
If you’re struggling to balance your caregiver responsibilities with your other work and household tasks, there’s help available.