Part 2 of our Summary of Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer from CancerCare
In Part 1 I we reviewed the basic tips for caregivers. Part 2 is about long distance caregiving and taking care of yourself as a caregiver.
Don’t stress if your loved one is thousands of miles away. You can still be an integral part of their caregiving team.
Long Distance Caregiving:
- Focus on what you can do. For example, schedule appointments, pay bills online, set up a personal website for them.
- Make the most of your visits and try to schedule some visits during the week, so you can meet the appropriate doctors, etc. Plan some visits when your loved one has appointments scheduled.
- Meet your loved ones neighbors when you visit, so they can check in on them and be your eyes and ears, when you’re gone.
- Ask your loved ones local friends to help with tasks you can’t do from far way.
One of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself as well.
Taking Care of Yourself
- Take time to exercise and keep yourself healthy.
- Remember healthy eating habits. Pack healthy snacks for long hospital visits.
- REST! Practice deep breathing, mediation, and gentle stretching to decrease stress.
- Don’t neglect your own check ups, screenings, and medications.
Getting Emotional Support
- Allow yourself to take a break once in a while. Listen to music, or go on a quiet walk.
- Be aware of your limits. You’re allowed to say no if you are over extended.
- Journal your thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other friends or family members for help. Keeping open lines of communication is best.
- Visit with a mental health professional if you’re having bad feelings or worrying.
- Seek out a support group for caregivers.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be realistic about how you can and cannot provide caregiving duties.
Lastly, here are some important final thoughts from the article on cargiving for your loved one.
- Provide a way for other family members and friends to help. Set up a website at www.mylifeline.org to post visiting hours, meal delivery schedules, transportation needs, etc…(this isn’t mentioned in the article, but I thought I’d add it in!)
- Check out respite care programs. If you need to run errands and can’t be with your loved one, you could schedule a respite caregiver.
- Know your rights. Talk with your employer about what your options are for a leave of absence.
- Call CancerCare ®
Visit CancerCare’s Care Giver Support Page for more information.