You can’t always be there. But we can.
Being a family caregiver can be a very challenging role to take. When you are caring for an elderly adult who is suffering from cancer, however, it is even more difficult. As soon as you find out that your aging parent has this condition, you know that the efforts that you have to put forth for them will need to increase and that you will need to give a tremendous amount of energy and effort to help them through this challenging time. While you know how valuable the care and support that you give your parent will be as they fight this disease in the way that is right for them, it can leave you feeling alone.
You may feel as though you are the only person who could understand what you are going through as a caregiver, or that by committing yourself to this role you are putting yourself in a position where no one can support and help you. This, however, is not the case, and helping yourself to understand and embrace that is essential to getting the support you need, protecting your own mental and emotional health, and ensuring that you are not only the best possible caregiver you can be, but also that you do not forget to take care of yourself while caring for your parent.
Some ways to help you feel less alone in this journey include:
• Rely on your partner. Allow them to be a source of support, encouragement, love, and escape to keep you feeling anchored and reassured throughout this experience.
• Don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s easy to feel as though no one wants to hear about what you are going through or that if you talk about the struggles that you are facing you will just be “whining” or complaining. This, however, is not the case. People want to be there for you and give you the support ad comfort that you need, but may not know how to approach it. Be willing to talk and open up so that others may be there for you.
• Seek out a support group. Support groups are a fantastic source of encouragement and a safe place for you to express your emotions, talk about what you are going through, and get advice from others who are going through the same thing, or have gone through it.
• Seek out a community. Simply acknowledging that there are others who are dealing with the same journey as you takes away the feeling that you are alone, and gives you a sense of strength. Seek out the community of your parent’s form of cancer in your area and get involved so that you can get support and offer it as well
Whether your aging parent is living with cancer or struggling with some other health problem or needs, if you do not feel that your caregiver efforts are giving them all that they need, now may be the ideal time for you to consider elder care for them. An elder care provider can fill these care gaps in the way that is right for them so that your parent is able to manage their personal needs, challenges, and limitations while pursuing a lifestyle that is active, engaged, fulfilling, and independent throughout their later years.
When it comes to helping an elder who is going through a journey with cancer, this care provider can be invaluable. Their companionship and emotional support can help your parent deal with the mental and emotional issues surrounding cancer and help them to maintain a lifestyle that is meaningful and enjoyable during this chapter. They can also provide personalized reminders to ensure that your parent remains compliant with their medications, treatments, and other guidelines from their doctor so that they can maintain the best health possible.