Providing care is one of the noblest services anyone can perform. This is especially true if you are the sole caregiver to someone with cancer.
As a caregiver, you are among the most important people on your loved one’s healthcare team. In the course of a day as the sole caregiver, you may manage all the meals, medications, housework, doctor appointments, and other everyday tasks. While being a caregiver is incredibly rewarding, it can also be exhausting, and this can have a negative effect on your physical and mental health.
Wanting to provide care yourself is understandable because caregiving is a way of showing how much you love someone. It is also fulfilling, and providing care creates an opportunity to learn more about yourself, the person you care for, and the meaning of life as a whole. While all these are good reasons to provide care for a loved one yourself, it may be more important to accept help from other caregivers.
Caregivers are those who provide constant and vital care to people with an illness, such as cancer. They can be professional nurses or nursing assistants, or trusted friends and family members. While you might think that caregiving is medical or personal care that very old or very ill individuals need, caregiving can be as simple as helping someone to the bathroom when he does not feel well, cooking a meal, or driving him to and from treatment.
The Benefits of Accepting Help
Don’t feel like you need to manage everything yourself. Take advantage of resources that may be available in your community, perhaps through a church, hospital, or other group. Let go of things that others can do for you, such as help with cooking, cleaning, and driving to appointments. Take time off to have a night out with friends. Accept an offer from a neighbor to cook a meal for you. It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can continue to provide the best care for your friend or family member.
The Benefits of Accepting Help from a Cancer Caregiver
Accepting help from another cancer caregiver has many benefits, both for you and for the person for which you provide care. Relying on someone else to provide care at home frees you up to run errands outside of the house without worry. Having an extra pair of hands to clean the house, cook meals, and help with personal care can be a godsend at times.
Accepting help from a professional caregiver can also give your loved one a greater sense of privacy and control over her own bodily care. Your family member may find it easier – or less embarrassing – to share personal information about her health to a trained professional or to another caregiver.
One of the most important reasons to accept help as a caregiver is to increase the amount of quality time you can share with your loved one at every stage of life, from diagnosis on. You can play cards, watch a favorite movie, or look through old photographs together instead of spending time worrying whether it is time for your loved one to take a pill.
Providing care for a family member is a wonderful way to demonstrate your love but accepting help as a caregiver improves the quality of life for you and for every member of your family.