How can you be the best caregiver possible?
No one expects a loved one to get sick and need looking after. And when illness strikes, it typically comes out of left field without warning. While the patient focuses their attention and energy on getting better, a caregiver is left to do everything else.
For me, taking care of Alan became my full-time job. We went from “life was perfect and no worries” to “DEFCON 1” in a matter of minutes. I had no experience in being a caregiver. I literally woke up one morning and hit the ground running…. researching, managing, juggling, advocating, questioning, re-questioning, and even bawling out a few people along the way (like Dr. Schmuck, a well-known neurosurgeon & the Chief of Oncology at a major hospital center- yikes!).
I wish Robcares.com had existed when we were battling Alan’s cancer. Created by caregiver and advocate extraordinaire Rob Harris, this site is filled with great blog posts and loads of super useful information specifically to help guide caregivers.
I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Rob’s book “We’re In This Together: A Caregiver’s Story” – it’s a 200+ page real-life love story (Rob’s story) that offers insights into the life of a husband who stood by his wife as she battled 2 different cancers with TONS of useful tips & advice along the way. I read the book in one sitting… it’s that good! I wish the book had been written back in 2010- it would have helped me a lot.
Also check out CaregivingCafe. I especially like this sites’ TOP 20 section, which contains 20+ fabulous websites in various categories that provide a wealth of practical and pertinent information on caregiving, resources for caregivers, as well as tools, motivation and diversions to educate and to encourage the family caregiver. AMAZING!!! They also have a cool FORUM where you can connect with other caregivers on specific topics.
Another fantastic place to connect with others facing similar circumstances is Treatment Diaries. Although this site supports both caregivers as well as those facing illness, it has a very strong and active caregiving community and network.
So caregivers, please be kind to yourselves… and remember, there is support out there for you too!
Read more about the wide variety of available cancer support services.