By John Schall, Chief Executive Officer, Caregiver Action Network
Last year, I watched helplessly on the sidelines as one of my close friends, Lisa, cared for her mother who was losing a gruesome battle with a rare cancer. Lisa would drop everything at a moment’s notice to rush to the hospital for one medical crisis after another. And I realized her experience of living from one to crisis to the next was the norm for cancer.
Lisa was working, parenting, and caregiving – all at the same time – and she was stressed! She was an overachieving, educated professional who went online to learn everything she could about the deadly cancer her mother was battling. What she did not find was any information to help herself as her mother’s caregiver. That’s why Caregiver Action Network partnered with other leading national organizations to create Help for Cancer Caregivers – a new website that will enable caregivers to manage their own emotional and wellness needs while caring for a loved one with cancer.
The new website, HelpForCancerCaregivers.org, is free and easy to use. The website provides a host of resources to help caregivers deal with their everyday challenges like Caregiver Stress and Caregiver Overload. It also gives you access to tools such as: Taking Care of You, Getting Help, Coping with Caregiving, Making Things Happen, and other topics.
As more and more cancer treatment shifts from the hospital to the home, family caregivers are providing the lion’s share of care. They are managing medications and operating medical equipment in the home; they are providing transportation to doctors’ visits and the hospital; and they are watching out for side effects while overseeing meals, finances, and everything else.
Caring for persons with cancer is an extremely distressing time for families. It often requires great personal sacrifice. You have to turn your attention away from normal daily life to focus on supporting the person with cancer during treatment and into recovery – all while holding the home together. And it can a take a huge toll on your own personal health as well.
But the good news is there are resources out there that can help. After using Help for Cancer Caregivers, one caregiver called it: “The best resource I have had since starting this process 10 months ago.” Another said it helped make her “aware of the level of stress in my life and defined issues and areas of caregiving that I was struggling with.” In fact, Help for Cancer Caregivers can give you customized information tailored to your personal caregiving needs.
So if you are a caregiver of a loved one with cancer, or know someone who is, go to HelpForCancerCaregivers.org to get the important information you need for your journey as a family caregiver.