Getting that cancer diagnosis for your aging loved one is tough for all involved. As his caregiver, you feel you must take on all burdens and not let them see any emotions. It may seem too much to bear.
As a caregiver, it’s important to take care of yourself as much as your loved one. There are some little things you can do to take care of yourself, as well as some larger ones. While you don’t have to do all of them, look at what’s likely to support your loved one through cancer.
Ask for Help
Asking for help can be hard, especially if you’ve been turned down before or if people haven’t followed through. But now more than ever, having a team to help you with your loved one’s cancer journey is important. If you have family members nearby to help with tasks, that can provide some relief.
Hiring a skilled nursing care provider can help you with some home after-surgery care. A skilled nursing care provider can help with surgery wounds, medication, and PT or OT exercises at home. Sometimes an elderly loved one does much better listening to a skilled nursing care provider than a family member.
Join a Support Group
It can help to have a safe place where you can vocalize your fears and frustrations. A support group is a great place to meet others who are either on the same journey as you or have been on it before. Whether they provide sage advice or just a listening ear, a support group can help you hold yourself together through the roughest parts.
Look to your local clinics and hospitals, as well as church/synagogues or other community resources. And if one isn’t the right fit for you, give yourself the grace to try another group. Group dynamics can vary greatly in support groups, so don’t be afraid to try a new group if one doesn’t work out.
Take Some “Me-Time”
It may seem hard to get away and spend some time on just yourself while you’re watching your loved one go through such a hard struggle. But spending time caring for yourself will give you a better version of yourself to care for your loved one. Most likely, even your loved one battling cancer would want you to spend some time taking care of yourself. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, from a simple weekly hour-long bubble bath to a weekend getaway at your favorite cabin, just make sure to occasionally take those moments for yourself.
Everyone’s cancer journey is different and every caregiver’s journey is different as well. Lots of grace and lots of patience will help you through it.