The Caregiver-The Forgotten Hero
If you are involved in caring for a loved one with cancer,
you are a “caregiver”. Many times the caregiver provides both physical and
emotional support. You may assist with activities of daily living: such as,
cooking, cleaning, transportation to medical appointments, running errands and
organizing insurance and medical documents. Caregiving also encompasses providing
emotional support and comfort during the cancer journey. Often times a person
who is diagnosed with cancer feels overwhelmed and confused. The caregiver may
be there to help with treatment side effects or be an extra set of ears at the
physician appointments. As we know, cancer affects the whole family. There may
be many “ups and downs” and you have taken on the role of the supportive
The role of the caregiver is vitally important, but may not
always be easy or comfortable. For most caregivers life’s responsibilities continue.
The caregiver may have full-time employment, young children, aging parents and
a house of their own to manage. It is not uncommon for the caregiver to feel
anxious, overwhelmed, sad, angry, worrisome, guilty and at times resentful. It
is important as a caregiver, to take care of yourself both physically and
emotionally. This means eating well, staying active, rest often, get adequate
sleep and keep up-to-date with your own health screenings and appointments.
There are also strategies to cope with your feelings: such as, setting limits,
asking for help, keeping a journal, joining a support group for caregivers,
connecting with your spiritual side and reaching out to others for support.
The 4th Angel Caregiver Mentoring Program offers
that emotional support. Trained caregivers, who have cared for a loved-one with
cancer, are matched with current caregivers for telephone or email support. At
times it may important to share your feelings with an objective listener,
someone who has “been there”. This person understands what you are going
through because he or she has traveled that same road. The 4th Angel
Caregiver Mentors are empathetic, positive, supportive and able to give of
their time and life experience to help put a new caregiver to ease.
"Having the opportunity to speak with someone who has
been through a similar experience, who can answer my
questions, no matter how big or small, and is willing to listen
and empathize with my fears and concerns is invaluable."